London producer Ollie Jones, or Skream, has paved the way to the hype and development of what dubstep is today. As one of the most distinguished producers in the genre at the ripe old age of 24, he’s been producing since he was 15. Skream’s style could most accurately be described as temperamental, and this is clear in his most recent and second album in four years, Outside the Box, which dropped on August 8 and has remained true to its name.
Although Outside the Box is only Jones’ second full-length album, the dubstep prototype has already released a total of 81 tracks since 2003, not to mention having thousands in development at our anticipation. Contrary to his self-titled debut album released in 2006, Skream!, Jones’ sounds have pulled a 180.
What was once the spooky and bass-heavy grime that stapled the underground dubstep genre that Skream helped shape has mellowed out into a more ambient dub-route. It molded more closely with mainstream pop faster than you can say “whomp.” Less build-up and drops, more smooth electro-pop melodies.
As much as his fans want to call out Skream’s contradicting styles, Jones will always have those crowd-pleasing sounds to fall back on, like his entrancing remix of La Roux’s “In for the Kill” from last year, the heap of Skreamizm 12-inch releases, or his most recent remix of Chromeo’s “Night By Night,” a bonus track on their new album Business Casual. Who knows what kind of productions Jones will have under his belt before he even turns 30.
Outside the Box definitely has high highs and low lows. It mixes tracks that see-saw from basslines more true to Skream’s heavier sounds in tracks like “Where You Should Be,” (featuring Sam Frank) with dreamy and soft muted vocals like “Finally,” (featuring La Roux). With the album’s contrast of light, dark, and subdued intensity, Jones may not have been able to reach out to fans with every song, but he pieced together something that can appeal to even the most eclectic tastes in music.