MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

Flux Pavilion “Freeway” – EP Review

Circus Records (2013)

Hailed as the UK’s answer to Skrillex, dubstep producer Joshua Steele, aka Flux Pavilion, has been sampled on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne, worked with the likes of Childish Gambino, Major Lazer and Example and been featured on the soundtracks to everything from Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby to the viral Kony 2012 campaign, all without the aid of a proper studio album.

Nine months on from the release of Blow The Roof, the Circus Records founder continues to stick with the EP format with Freeway. But despite limiting himself to just five tracks, the 24-year-old still manages to display more invention than most of his brostep peers do with a full-length LP.

“Mountains & Molehills” is an inspired hook-up with former Mercury Prize nominated duo Turin Brakes which combines their emotive folksy vocals with pounding synths, squalling guitar solos and even a touch of reggae. The chilled out title track sees Flux Pavilion take the mic himself on a more relaxed blend of video game bleeps and slow-motion beats, while opening Steve Aoki collaboration “Steve French” is a rare venture into electro-house packed with squiggly synths, robotic vocal loops and crunching basslines.

Freeway still contains the kind of hard-hitting dubstep anthems for which Flux Pavilion has become known. Co-produced with the in-demand Dillon Francis, the distorted hype man chants, aggressive synths and piercing sirens of “I’m The One” is being described as the world’s first “moombasston” anthem. Elsewhare, the more melodic “Gold Love” weaves the impassioned tones of Rosie Oddie over a wave of typically heavy dubstep drops.

But Freeway is far more thrilling when Flux Pavilion attempts to push the boundaries of the bass scene. If only he could get round to doing the same over the course of an entire record.

3.5 / 5 stars     

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About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music


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