by Brostep EMERITUS
November 26th, 2013 | 10 replies

Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Work ya back

Diplo’s new six-track EP Revolution has met with some disdain over the few months it’s been out. Pitchfork’s Larry Fitzmaurice, after a typically long-winded overview of Wes Pentz’s career, calls the release “garish” and “watered down.” Exclaim.ca’s Ashley Hampson wastes no time and pulls no punches: “You can’t help but be struck by how unimpressive the offering is.” The EP’s 2.4 average on Sputnikmusic sums up the album’s reception quite nicely: be it because of shoddy collaborations (and, believe me, I’m not one of RiFF RAFF’s biggest proponents) or a lack of limit-pushing, this isn’t the Diplo people want to hear.

It’s honestly a bit surprising that this review will go against the grain by saying that Revolution is a timely and necessary release. Of course, we’re a long way removed from 2004, when Diplo was releasing on the forward-thinking Ninja Tune label and pushing a more mellowed-out brand of instrumental hip-hop. In this reviewer’s humble opinion, the whole scene Diplo takes part in has become far more “garish” and “watered down” than Diplo himself, and Revolution is ample proof of that. Not to get too off-topic by bashing the whole commercially viable EDM market, but given the stagnation that’s become increasingly apparent over the course of the past few years, the “garishness” of this EP comes as a welcome relief.

And, of course, an artist can’t be good simply by being better than his contemporaries, but this brings the review to the crux of the argument: however Diplo might have arguably diluted his sound or “sold out,” Revolution is pretty damn fun. It’s difficult to point to many artists outside of Mad Decent (and possibly Fool’s Gold) who would consider themselves part of the modern EDM culture that are actually creating any form of pure party music anymore. I mean, obviously there’s the whole argument of “but I love jumping up and down to supersaw synths over a 4x4 beat!” but in terms of setting your average crowd off there’s really nothing that works better than dirty, bass-and-midrange-laden hip-hop beats. There are probably countless studies which show exactly why hearing a rapper shout “Bend over! Work ya back! Work-work-work-work-work ya back!” is such a good pump-up, but all the research, both completed and yet to be undertaken, on how Pentz can affect levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain so severely can be summed up pretty easily in terms of this release: Revolution goes hard.

Just take the massive subversion in “Crown” - a melodic, supersaw chorus with Mike Posner crooning about how he “just can’t wait to be king” gets totally flipped on its head with one of the dirtiest midrange wobbles of the year. It’s so unexpected, yet so quintessentially Diplo, that it hits the right note: the track as a whole is a wonderful example of why Diplo is so well-known (and infamous among some circles of pomposity). Much the same can be said about radio hit “Revolution” (incidentally, one of maybe three or four songs on Sirius XM station BPM this year which has actually been better than decent) and its uniquely Diplo take on the recent Epic Mashleg phenomenon. Its wonderfully trashy take on trap and cloud-rap makes it intensely alluring, and the richness of that penetrating midrange falls beautifully over Kai’s genre-standard vocals.

EP opener and centerpiece “Biggie Bounce” is the easiest explanation of why Revolution works so well. A half-time beat and percussive synth that can only be described as “bangin’” chop Travis Porter’s rap into nice chunks while pitch-shifted vocals give way to one of the biggest main sections in Diplo’s career. Really, it’s a bit suspicious that this is “watered down” because I shudder to imagine what a more concentrated version of this sound would be - I’m not really sure how much further an artist, even one as over-the-top as Pentz, can amplify what’s available here. Barring the lukewarm “Rock Steady,” the EP is chock-full of energy and bravado., A great example of the party spirit distilled, Revolution is a wonderful example of what dance music can be.

Recent reviews by this author
Julia Michaels Nervous SystemSylvan Esso What Now
Danny Brown Atrocity ExhibitionCarly Rae Jepsen Emotion: Side B
HEIRSOUND MergeAbra Princess
user ratings (17)
recommended by reviewer
Diplo Florida
Danny Brown XXX

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 26th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Streaming here: http://www.stereogum.com/1512341/stream-diplo-revolution-ep/mp3s/

I'm gonna spend the rest of 2013 reviewing some stuff that I like a lot, so we'll see how that turns out. Enjoy at your own risk

Staff Reviewer
November 27th 2013


nice dude, i enjoyed this

Digging: Violents and Monica Martin - Awake and Pretty Much Sober

November 27th 2013


Haven't liked Diplo in like 7 years or so.

November 27th 2013


Nice work here, man. I was considering covering this at some point.

Really like the point you made in your first paragraph! Only thing I will say is that it's rather unnecessary to bring up the 2.4 average on this site. Once you get used to Sputnik, you really stop caring about the averages around here, and a fair bit of people reading this review probably fall into that category. I'd offer that you say something more like "and the less-than-stellar average on this very site displays...", especially because a 2.4 itself doesn't mean much.

It’s honestly a bit surprising that this review will go against the grain by saying that Revolution is a timely and necessary release.

Surprising for whom? If your opinion is what's surprising, then say so in clearer terms.

Honestly, those are the only things I have even slight grievances with. You make it clear why you enjoy this, and you counter why others might not (which can be equally important with such releases.) Nice work man

November 27th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

thanks a ton for going over this one, i was a little shaky on the intro but really settled in around paragraph 2 or 3

November 27th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

Great review!. I'm dissapointed with Diplo here tough, Express Yourself EP pisses all over this.

November 27th 2013


Excellent review. First time in ages I've read an entire non-staff review.

November 27th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Glad to hear it got that kind of reaction!

June 29th 2014


im twerking

February 25th 2015


Fiat is using Biggie Bounce in an ad campaign and it oddly works.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy