Outside the Box

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Ollie Jones, recording as Skream, has been on the dubstep scene since it first lurched out of the London clubs and into the Croydon record shop in which he worked as a teen. Still in his early twenties, Jones has exerted a huge influence on the development of the genre, and on Outside the Box he contributes to a breaking down of the very stylistic definitions he helped create. Guest vocalists pop up here and there throughout the program, but their parts are often chopped and screwed and manipulated and sometimes rendered nearly unrecognizable -- that's a sample of disco diva Jocelyn Brown on "I Love the Way," but her voice is pitched down and tethered to a coolly lurching beat that makes her declaration of love sound more like a cry of desperation; on "Where You Should Be," pop and dubstep join hands and Sam Frank's voice is sacrificed to the great god Vocoder, to very fun effect. Elsewhere you'll hear instrumental dubstep of the more typical dark and juddering variety ("Wibbler," "Fields of Emotion"), mixed-up jungle ("Listenin' to the Records on My Wall"), syrupy hip-hop with subterranean bass ("8 Bit Baby," with Murs on the mike), and straight-up lush and gorgeous electro-pop ("Finally," featuring La Roux). And at the very end, everything explodes into a colorful effusion of frenetic old-school jungle breakage ("The Epic Last Song"). It's an exhilarating ride, equally suited for dancing, fast driving, or skateboarding down the middle of a busy city street.

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