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by Philip Sherburne

February 14, 2012

Source Material: Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

by Philip Sherburne  |  February 14, 2012

Skrillex, it seems, was made for memes. From Hipster Runoff to the self-explanatory Tumblr blog Girls That Look Like Skrillex, the electro-dubstep upstart -- or at least the version imagined by snarks and Cheeto-munching forum monkeys -- leads a vibrant second life in avatar-land.

The latest viral emanation from planet Skrillex happened in December, when the man born Sonny Moore posted a YouTube clip of Aphex Twin's "Flim" to his Facebook page, accompanied by the note, "my favorite song of all time fyi." (Gotta love that "fyi," especially coming from a guy who's never worked an office job in his life.) His evangelism clearly had an effect: since then, the post has accrued 8,325 comments (and counting). A few listeners, though, felt like there was something missing from Aphex Twin's chiming electronic balladry, as indicated in comments like these:

"i was hoping for a drop."

"Still waiting for the drop.......no?"

"I was waiting for a drop that never happnd lol"

"i didnt even here a nice drop-___-....i thought it was suppose to have atleast a good drop?????"

The drop, as any fan of today's super-sized stadium rave could tell you, is the moment in a dance track, right after the breakdown (a tension-building passage, often beatless, characterized by whooshing white noise), when the bass and drums return with supersonic impact, a brick wall of sound that contorts faces and jumbles guts. That roller-coaster path from extreme to extreme defines much mainstream club music right now, and many listeners, it would seem, don't ever want to get off the ride.

Some wag cut and pasted all the drop-related comments into a single thread, making it look like Skrillex fans are nothing more than thrill-seekers with tin ears. Some of them surely are; you find them everywhere. But that's not (entirely) Skrillex's fault.

Whatever your feelings about the result, the guy seems genuinely dedicated to introducing his fans to the music that inspired his own. In interviews, he's bigged up not just obvious touchstones like The Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails, but also Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and even Autechre. Using his 2011 EP, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, as a launching pad, we've fleshed out his list of influences and listed a few more records without which Skrillex might never have gotten his bumper car out of the gate.

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