NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 28: DJ/Producer Skrillex (Sonny Moore) performs the 2012 Voodoo Experience at City Park on October
C Flanigan

Skrillex is back. Now, before we dive into the three-song Leaving EP, let's take stock of the first impressions for a second:

  • Skrillex’s Leaving Says Goodbye To Brostep — Idolator
  • Skrillex Makes Actual Dubstep on Burial-Borrowing Leaving EP — Spin
  • Listen to Skrillex’s Softer Side on His New EP — Vulture
  • Skrillex Surprises Us All — HuffPo
  • Skrillex, Leaving -- New Song Veers Away From Brostep — Spinner

So it's clear something of some sort is occurring here, yes? The intro to Leaving, "The Reason," is jarringly devoid of any of Skrillex's trademark wubs and robot-teeth-gnashing sounds. It''s...silky.

Bear in mind this is what many, or most, artists do—evolve. But Skrillex and his haircut have been so intensely linked with the arrival of dubstep on American shores (thanks, Britain!) and the advent of brostep—an oversimplified, sonically 'roided-out, lowest-common-denominator wub-frenzy—that any lane change is bound to set eyebrows soaring. 

The thing is, the EP still sounds like Skrillex. The same styles underpin the beats. The drops are still there, only populated with more soothing sounds less reminiscent of great dinosaur battles. "Scary Bolly Dub," the middle track, is clearly the midpoint of the evolution. It samples 2010's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"—almost straight-up rehashes the tune at times, then slyly drifts out of the aggro style and into more ambient reggae vibes.

But the title track is the real surprise. It's all atmosphere and careful instrumentation, zero wub. It maintains Skrillex's favorite gear—menace—while sounding mature. It's a promising direction for one of the world's most popular—and wealthy—DJs.