ShockOne
Universus


3.5
great

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
April 29th, 2013 | 41 replies


Release Date: 04/29/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Toxic amounts of brostep - but is it a bad thing?

That summary is not a particularly easy-to-answer question, by the way. While some people in the quote-unquote "serious" electronic community refuse to believe the burgeoning EDM market has any real value, a fair number of people truly enjoy the heavy wobbles and club beats which make up the majority of the tunes within the realm. And, to be perfectly honest, the arguments on both sides of the coin have their merits and flaws. Sure, the "real" type of electronic music - Burial-style garage, deep and dark techno, and the woozy electronica and trip-hop of Flying Lotus et al. has more "critical weight" behind it, but who's to blame a guy if he just wants to headbang and have some fun with some super-wobbly brostep? And, on the flipside, one can only listen to the same wobble used in every song for so long until it all starts to blend together. After all, there's no "perfect" genre of electronic music - nothing which will please everyone with no detractors.

I bring up this oft-referenced topic in order to justify the 3.5 I'm about to bestow upon Universus. Some people might look at the grade and immediately think, "How is this possible? ShockOne is the worst kind of electronic music, and he shouldn't be getting the critical reception this writer is giving him." And, to a point, that's true. Look at "Lazerbeam," for example, which essentially uses the same song structure as Skrillex's "Goin' Hard" remix of Birdy Nam Nam, from the trap-tinged, half-time DnB format right down to the main "post-drop" section which utilizes the same wobbles at the same times. God-awful stuff aside, though (and thankfully ShockOne keeps it to a minimum), Universus is what the heavier variety of electronic music can do at its best. It's clear that ShockOne is drawing from a wide range of influences here as he tries on modern-day Pendulum ("Crucify Me"), new-school Hospital Records ("Home"), and, inevitably, the titans of today's brostep scene ("Chaos Theory", "Relapse"). And it works. Shockingly, almost the entire album is a pleasant and fun listen, even if it doesn't ever go too far below skin-deep. The aforementioned "Home" utilizes a modern take on liquid funk, and much like Fred V and Grafix's best stuff it's an aural treat with soaring synths and a pulse-pounding poppy DnB beat. Meanwhile, "Relapse" is straight brostep done right, with brutal wobbles sounding exactly like they're supposed to and Sam Nafie's powerful vocals over a surprisingly excellent melodic line.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'm sick and tired of people bashing EDM simply because they perceive it as a moneymaking machine, devoid of talent, innovation, and the joy which characterizes much of the experience good music creates. I don't want to have to argue ShockOne's merits any more than I'd have to argue anyone else's simply because he's "trashy s**tstep" and should be impossible for any rational human being to like. If closing track "Light Cycles" is any indication, EDM is still thriving. The prog-ish keyboard solo over the pretty 6/8 beat and twinkly synths shows that there's still room for motion in the genre.

In the end, it's fair to say Universus is not for everyone. No matter how many detractors form legitimate critical opinions about the album which make sense and are entirely fair, there will inevitably be those who bash it for the trashy mid-range wobbles without giving it a fair chance. It's the way of the world, and as a fan of brostep I need to be able to cope with these people. However, as is true with almost everything in the music world, Universus and the impending backlash among forum users and bloggers with "legitimate" taste are learning experiences. Variety is the spice of life, and the variegated palate choices of the world ensure good music will continue to be made in all genres, each for a different group of people who will appreciate that music and hopefully learn to accept other demographics and styles in the same way they should hope to be accepted as well.



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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Originally posted at www.muzikdizcovery.com, streaming on Spotify

wub wub wub pew pew pew pew WOMP "get the fuck up" nnnnneeeeeeowwwww

pizzamachine
April 29th 2013


12571 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"almost the entire album is a pleasant and fun listen, even if it doesn't ever go too far below skin-deep"

Pretty much exactly what I thought, it's a fun album even though it plays it pretty safe. Good review!

scissorlocked
April 29th 2013


3511 Comments


people have the right to brostep

nice review, I listened to the album mix and didn't like it that much
has some moments though

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2013


19916 Comments


i know nothing about this genre, but you're a great writer man good stuff.

Digging: Dornenreich - Freiheit

ProjectFreak
April 29th 2013


1411 Comments


this review is great, i might check this out because sometimes i don't care how trashy my taste in EDM is

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Absent Sounds

J0ckstrapsFTW
April 29th 2013


3652 Comments


Hmmm I'm trying to get back into dubstep except there is so much shit in this genre it's almost impossible. Will give this a try doe

Sheaiskl
April 29th 2013


816 Comments


I've heard Chaos Theory and will have to check this out. Noisia make the best of this sort imo

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

WOO FEATURE

Thanks for the positive feedback everyone.

Acanthus
April 29th 2013


9543 Comments


Don't care about the genre term war, not really a thing I attempt to partake in anymore.

Dubstep is only devoid of things if the artists so desire, nothing more and nothing less; supply and demand works with music as well as conventional goods.

View this as a giant treatise on a subject that ceased to be relevant once it became clear it was all a matter of opinion, and not fact; people are going to continue to make money, consume, supply, and release whatever they feel like.

Digging: The Knife - Deep Cuts

Apollo
April 29th 2013


10336 Comments


what the fuck is going on here

treeqt.
April 29th 2013


9704 Comments


i call toxic a bad thing yes = - /

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013


10271 Comments


I'm excited as hell to check this one out. Would blast it now if I had headphones on me.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013


28639 Comments


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Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2013


31353 Comments


I'm really failing to understand the point of this review. 4 paragraphs with only one actually describing the music (even though the others make occasional reference to stereotypical genre cliches like "has wobble" etc), while the rest are spent trying to convince people (seemingly in desperation*) that this is also "real" music and should be treated as such, despite using the cliches that have turned a lot of people off this kind of music so freely throughout, and by employing a flipside argument in the intro. If you take it seriously then you don't need to back it up, it just is what it is

I think you'll find that most people turn this stuff off because they think it's shit (and this applies to people who generally don't listen to electronic music in the first place). But in saying that, I agree that there is a vast number of people who are more like "arrrrrgggh not real dubstep/drum & bass/[insert genre here]". Hell, half the time I'm like that as well, but I still bear through it to see if it is still good material. Good because it sounds good, not because of its origin or history

*I say "in desperation" because, well, there's 3 fuckin paragraphs on the subject

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Gyromania
April 30th 2013


15941 Comments


i agree with everything deviant's saying, but at the same time i understand why someone would feel compelled to validate their liking of something like this, especially to a community like this. i mean, let's be honest, if he didn't try to make a case for why it's good and just talked about the music, people would probably say it's shit in the genre.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2013


10271 Comments


Deviant, you have a point, but the sad truth is that the average user here doesn't know dubstep/brostep too well. I see this review as Will confronting that type of mindset, and trying to get the average reader to keep an open mind.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2013


31353 Comments


i mean, let's be honest, if he didn't try to make a case for why it's good and just talked about the music, people would probably it's shit in the genre.


It's going to happen regardless though, sometimes people don't like this stuff simply because they don't like it. Opinions maaaaan. No but seriously, I feel like you're setting yourself up for failure if you can't make a point simply based on the content alone


FiveLeavesLeft
April 30th 2013


9838 Comments


There's been an unusually high amount of staff/contrib review criticism today... huh

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2013


10271 Comments


I'd agree with you if I hadn't seen some of the really solid reviews around here lately, like Downer's piece on Timberlake that was essentially a response to another writer. Sure, that's a more tangible connection, but it's all too easy to imagine the average listener here going "oh, boy, here's another brostep release, SKIP," etc.

Gyromania
April 30th 2013


15941 Comments


There's been an unusually high amount of staff/contrib review criticism today... huh

lol this is different though, this is actually constructive

It's going to happen regardless though, sometimes people don't like this stuff simply because they
don't like it. Opinions maaaaan. No but seriously, I feel like you're setting yourself up for failure
if you can't make a point simply based on the content alone


i do agree with you on this overall. as a one-time review defending the genre, i can understand it,
but not if it's a recurring theme. you're right, people will say shit regardless



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