Skrillex's Debut Album 'Recess' Turns Three Years Old: A Look Back

Jason Nocito

It helped to define the brostep genre, though that genre hardly went on to define the man.

It took Skrillex four years to put out a proper full-length album, and when he did, it hardly served as an introduction. Sonny Moore's productions rose to the top of the Beatport charts in an instant. He'd already won a set of Grammys for his work on Bangarang. Even his proper debut EP, My Name is Skrillex, was already hailed a classic collection of brostep sounds. It helped to define the genre, though that genre hardly went on to define the man.

Recess descended on the world March 18, 2014, three years ago today. Its cover was a blue alien face, it's forehead etched with the Skrillex's cryptic III logo. The intro track, “All is Fair in Love and Brostep” nods to the famous producer's past, and while those signature screeches and vocal chops make their way in and out of the release on tracks “Try it Out” and “Ragga Bomb,” Recess is equally about the creative freedom of Moore's looming future.

The easy pop vibe of “Stranger” turned the tune into a fan favorite, despite its never being released as an official single. He puts the “dub” back in dubstep with peeks of the genre's reggae roots. He plays with hip-hop on “Coast is Clear” with then up-and-coming MC Chance the Rapper. He plays with world sounds on “Ease My Mind.” He let his freak flag fly and paid tribute to his hero Aphex Twin on the playfully weird “Doompy Poomp,” even more subtly so on “Far Away,” and he gives a nod to the UK sound that spawned him on “Fuck That.”

The album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, and while it received mixed reviews from critics, it so far stands the test of time as a vibrant ad diverse body of work from a producer who has gone on to be one of the most versatile music makers in the modern scene. He's embraced the weird and worldly ever sense. He moves deftly between the darkest rap beats and the cleanest pop hooks. Even now, as he rejoins his old band From First to Last, he consistently proves to be much more than the sum of his dubstep parts. Recess was the beginning of Skrillex's second chapter, and in that sense, it truly was a re-introduction that entirely merited the heftier letters “LP.”