Skee Mask
Compro


3.0
good

Review

by Jack Mancuso CONTRIBUTOR (59 Reviews)
June 4th, 2021 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Flashes of brilliance accompanied by extended periods of malaise.

Skee Mask is an anonymous producer from Munich, Germany. Like his formerly anonymous contemporary, Burial, his music focuses primarily on evoking a creeping sense of urban darkness, while occasionally letting the sunlight in to construct moments of stunning beauty. He describes himself as influenced by landmark labels such as Warp Records, an inspiration he wears proudly on his sleeve throughout the entirety of his second full-length “Compro”. It’s apparent listening to the record that Skee Mask is a competent producer with a bright future (as evidenced by his 2021 release “Pool”), but his growing pains as a writer are on display throughout this album’s tracklist. “Compro” is a promising but ultimately homogeneous release, an overlong exploration of sound that contains flashes of brilliance accompanied by extended periods of malaise.

When Skee Mask is at his best, he can stand with anybody. This album’s highlights prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt, with early standout “Rev6817” almost feeling like a flex of his songwriting muscles. “Rev” glides effortlessly over some of the album’s subtlest bass and a nostalgic tape hiss, and rides the wave of one of the strongest melodies to emerge from the scene in quite some time. Meanwhile, towards the end of the tracklist, the listener is treated to a run of three songs that can be easily be identified as the album’s apex. Fan favorite “Flyby Vfr” has earned its status for a reason; it frickin’ slaps, dude. This cut has particularly impressive percussion, which is a gold star for a song on an album full of breakbeats. With synths reminiscent of the Blade Runner soundtrack and a noticeably faster tempo, “Flyby” injects some much needed energy and brightness into the record. “Muk FM” and “Kozmic Flush” succeed on the same level, but in different manners; “Muk” begins with a foreboding vocal sample before fully descending into Aphex Twin worship, while “Kozmic Flush” functions as the most optimistic moment on the record, and emerges as a triumph because of it. These tracks show Skee Mask utilizing the full spectrum of sound available to him, whereas many of the lesser tracks here exclusively focus on the low end and push much of the interesting sonic detail to the back of the mix.

Examining this phenomenon further, Many of the darker, creepier pieces on “Compro” could have worked wonderfully had they been fleshed out just a bit further. “Session Add” and “Dial 274” come to mind, two haunting tracks that each save their best moments for last, and load them behind five to six minutes of soporific loops that leave a lot to be desired. Elsewhere, some other songs can’t justify their position on the tracklist at all; “Cerroverb” is a truly baffling choice for an opener, an ambient piece that gathers no momentum and leaves no impression on the listener. Of course, this means it clocks in at about five and a half minutes. “Compro”’s 64-minute runtime is entirely unwarranted, and even some of the standout tracks are a bit overextended. “Rev6817” emerges as the album’s strongest song because it knows when to call it quits, with “Kozmic Flush” coming in at a close second because of how it uses its longer runtime to build a compelling structure, rather than numb the listener’s mind with repetition.

“Compro” has its moments, and those moments are enthralling. Despite an absolute slog of a middle section and a failure to put its best foot forward, it’s an album that clearly illustrates how talented Skee Mask really is, and its shortcomings (namely its bloated length) are easily fixable problems that can be improved upon in the future. The four standouts here are stunning compositions that I would recommend to anybody, so if and when Skee Mask releases a truly magnificent project, I won’t be surprised; I’ll be happy that he finally delivered on his potential.



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user ratings (124)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2021


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this was my assignment for the "Review a Random Album" challenge. Thanks to brainmelter (district 6 gang) for recommending this one!

Digging: Sweet Trip - A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals

Demon of the Fall
June 4th 2021


19600 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh no, this isn’t the result I was hoping for when I saw it made the list. Pleased it has a review though and I’m sure it’ll be a good one (need to check).

Digging: Paik - Satin Black

Ryus
June 4th 2021


23811 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

honestly this is probably like my least favorite skee mask release period haha. but still really good

normaloctagon
June 4th 2021


5870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dope this has a thread now



u are wrong yoyo but it’s ok to be wrong sometimes 😘

Digging: MF DOOM - Special Herbs 7,8

normaloctagon
June 4th 2021


5870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

n yeah best skee mask LP agreed ryus

normaloctagon
June 4th 2021


5870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

also man this is a stellar review. wrong but written so well. you make do of the words real good very nicely job gr8 done

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2021


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sry to disappoint y’all but appreciate the kind words! I’m definitely planning on checking more Skee mask in the future

normaloctagon
June 4th 2021


5870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you could never disappoint me brother i am merely triggered ;) but very glad u got skee mask-pilled, enjoy the ride and don’t forget to check the EPs!!

Ryus
June 4th 2021


23811 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

session add --> 50 euro is a great stretch of tracks but i'm just not into his sound as much as i'm into pool or the debut or any of the EPs

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2021


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wanna listen to Pool a couple more times, I def like it at least a little more than this one

Let
June 4th 2021


1900 Comments


I'll admit I mostly just listen to the top tracks on spotify (prob in full a couple times), but yeah they are teeming with talent both compostionally and sonically. Good to see it another review for the challenge

Digging: Sweet Trip - A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals

Avagantamos
June 4th 2021


7712 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yay I like this album a lot, but not sure yet if I prefer this or the new one. been digging into his EPs lately too

Digging: Black Barrel - Elevate

MotokoKusanagi
June 4th 2021


3847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice another skee mask thread! lot of standout tracks on this like MukFM, Soundboy, 50 Euro, Via Sub Mids. i've always thought Session Add is super hypnotic as well

ilian tape is such a neat record label

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2021


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Motoko hypnotic is a great word to describe this album’s vibe, it just didn’t quite put a spell on me like I wanted it to

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2021


8414 Comments


Ayy a Skee Mask review!! Agreed with the review. He's a few EPs that are way more engaging than this thing.

Digging: Paco de Lucia - Concierto De Aranjuez

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2021


37688 Comments


YoYo you are based Evok where should I start?

Digging: ZOC - PvP

Demon of the Fall
June 5th 2021


19600 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I prefer this to everything else he’s done (except his most recent release, which I haven’t heard yet). It’s not flashy, but the understated hypnotic beats are a nice vibe.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2021


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

based on what @johnny

Prancer
June 5th 2021


1280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this guy is unbelievably good. this album creates such a cold and solitary atmosphere while Pool creates a warm and dreamlike one.



also this album is a massive grower.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2021


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i've listened to it 4 times so maybe 5th times the charm?



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