Grammy-winning artist cites Trent Reznor's Year Zero scavenger hunt as inspiration, expects low earnings

In 2011, Skrillex scored three Grammies securing himself fresh international recognition, if not respect. 

A protege of Canadian DJ deadmau5, Skrillex took an odd path into the electronic music business, starting his career with "screamo" band From First to Last.  After vocal cord issues (a "giant nodule" as he put it), Mr. Moore's days as a leading screamer were at an end.  He then turned to electronic music, inspired by the likes of Aphex Twin and Nine Inch Nails (NIN).  While he would become the face of the love-it-or-hate-it youthful dubstep scene, some of his best work was when he dipped into his less used electrohouse/electroclash and glitch tunes toolkit.

After hit EPs in 2010 (My Name Is Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites) and 2011 (More Monsters and Sprites/Bangarang), plus his 2012 collaboration with Korn, 2013 was a quiet year for the young musician.  Behind the scenes he was mentoring rising EDM star Zedd and collaborating with the likes of Kaskade, Damian Marley, and Alvin Risk.  But the three short EPs he released received pretty bad reviews and largely failed to produce radio friendly hits.

Rather than return to his roots of mainstream success, the electronic musician looked to inspiraton from NIN frontman Trent Reznor, who in 2007 promoted his Year Zero album with an internet scavenger hunt.


Running with that theme he set to work on a secret project putting a wild Easter egg into an amateurish retro smartphone app called Alien Ride

First discovered by Redditors, following seemingly cryptic comments by Skrillex at an Ask Me Anything (AMA), word quickly spread that if you beat the game you win access to a free streaming copy of Recess, an 11-track effort.

Skrillex dropped hints of the app on a Reddit AMA. [Image Source: Skrillex/FB]

The game describes its play writing:

Realize your true potential as an alien as you tilt and fire your way through this compulsive asteroid game, unlocking new features and shooting your way to a high score. Fresh graphics and killer audio will make this your new addiction.

...with the alien stuff likely being a reference to his upcoming month-long U.S. Mothership Tour.

Alien Ride
Alien Ride, screenshots [Image Source: Google Play]

Tracks are available restreamed from various unauthorized sources, plus samples are available via Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iTunes.  But to listen -- for now -- you have to beat the game.

And that's a bit of a problem.  Digging beneath the layer of whimsical, but at times somewhat ugly graphics, you arrive at a fast paced and painfully coded gameplay.  Both the Google Inc. (GOOG) Play Store edition (for Android OS) and the iTunes App Store edition (for iOS) saw their scores marred by many one-star ratings.

Alien Ride screens
Alien Ride, screenshots [Image Source: iTunes]

The most common complaints are numerous crashes (the app appears to be dropping memory hard, as the kids would say)....

"Poor game. I downloaded it for the Skrillex album, but I don't even know how to navigate it. Only was able to play one mission and the second my screen was black, but it was still shooting." -- Nick Fortney (Android)

"Sucks It makes my phone restart" -- Vincente Hernandez (Android) failures to install on older devices...

"Doesnt install Could be my phone, but every time I try to download it when it installs onto my phone it says insufficient storage but I have loads of space in my storage. Downloading other apps work though. Samsung Galaxy S2" -- Reece Brown (Android)

"Refuses to run Installed, ran , waited then message that Alien Ride has stopped. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1." -- Steven Andrews (Android)

The app is free, but monetizes itself mildly from ads, which further angered some users given the clumsy controls.

The unfortunate part is that the musician reportedly has a fairly good album -- or at least better than his releases from last year.  It scored 3/5 stars from DIY Magazine, a source generally wary of his past work.

Skrillex Cinema
The new album is drawing modest reviews, prompting fans to go to great lengths to get it unlocked in the troubled app. [Image Source: AP]

At least Skrillex didn't seem particularly worried about making money from the app.  He told Rolling Stone:

We'll probably make less money doing it this way.  It's more about the fans.... I want people who hear my music to feel like they're on all these drugs, but they're not on any drugs.

There have been some patches to the app, so it's slowly improving, at least in the crashes department.  Persistent fans have rewarded his loyalty, and have put up with the headaches to get their hands on the free album.  Thus as a result the overall review score is high  -- 5 stars for the latest addition (with bug fixes) in iTunes, 4 and 1/2 stars in Google Play.

Sources: Reddit, Skrillex, iTunes, Rolling Stone

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

Latest Blog Posts

Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki