EP REVIEW: Diplo – Express Yourself

diplo express yourself
Written for the 405’s EPs of 2012

It’s been a typically hectic year for producer polymath star Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo (not Duplo, those are the massive Lego bricks designed so toddlers can’t shove them up their nostrils). He didn’t go any further towards patching things up with former superstar collaborator MIA, but he did produce Usher’s best single for yonks (‘Climax’), appeared on a single along with recent label-signing Riff Raff, and started work on a second Major Lazer LP – which apparently boasts appearances by Ezra Koenig, Bruno Mars, and, er, Shaggy. On top of all that he probably DJed every cool party from Philly to Paris (pronounced the latter “Par-ee”). Phew. Oh yeah, but he managed to release a new EP, too.

Express Yourself let the old Diplodocus stretch every sinewy muscle in his body of electronica genres: the title track features programmed drums barely keeping up with the frenetic vocals of Nicky Da B, ‘Barely Standing’, ‘Butters Theme’ and ‘No Problem’ were chock full of bassy klaxons and pitched-up, -down, and -all around dubstep vocals, and Elephant Man turned up for the dancehall-gone-Detroit ‘Move Around’ (he managed not to say anything homophobic either, which was good). The highlight, though, was probably the track which closed the album. ‘Set It Off’ combined the best bits of all these sounds into a pleasing stew of EDM, a slowly building song as atmospheric as the aforementioned ‘Climax’ before bursting some of the most dancefloor-friendly music the producer’s been party to.

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