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.