Skrillex's OWSLA label has become one of the most reliable homes for inventive sounds all across the electronic music spectrum. Over the last few years they've released shimmering synth pop from Hundred Waters, dizzily futuristic bass music like Aryay, and Sliink's stadium-sized take on Jersey club. It's truly exciting to see them branch out into all these styles, especially since early on in his career Skrillex's interests were (maybe rightfully at the time) pigeonholed into the aggro dubstep lane where he made his name.
But for those who miss those face-melting early days, OWSLA's latest release should do the trick. NGHTMRE, the North Carolina-raised trap producer who's already released a pair of shuddering tracks in the last couple of months with Zeds Dead and Flux Pavillion, teamed up with the rafter-rattling Los Angeles duo LOUDPVCK for a new single called "Click Clack" that just might be the hardest track of 2016.
The sub-bass firebombs and pitch-warped war crys endemic to this sort of future trap stuff almost never translate for home listening—Apple earbuds and most home stereo setups can't really capture the genre's strange physicality. But that's part of why "Click Clack" is so endearing—it's tremulous, leveling stuff no matter what you're listening on. I have to imagine that even if you're doing the ol' iPhone in a Solo cup trick, that the thunderous reverberations that these producers are able to conjure out of just a few crisscrossing synth parts would still shake you—or at least shake the cup off the table.
But it's not just brute force either. There are little stuttering sounds littered throughout the track that make it feel as urgent as a panic attack, and even a few seconds of hardstyle-y kick drum pummeling for good measure. To borrow an old cliché: it's hard as Nails, though in this case I mean the grindcore band, who have become my standard for leaden heaviness over the past few years. Halfway through a disembodied voice requests, in no uncertain terms, that you "put your fucking hands up," and you will—not out of joy, but out of surrender.
"Click Clack" is out now and you can listen right here.