By Sarah Godfrey
DJ-producer Rusko, the reigning king of dubstep, is in demand these days - his work will appear on M.I.A.'s upcoming album, and he recently agreed to pitch in behind the boards on a new Britney Spears album. It makes perfect sense that two artists who couldn't be more different would want their projects to bear Rusko's imprint: His tracks incorporate experimental electronic throb and unserious, pop-leaning fun.
Rusko serves up both traits on his debut LP, "O.M.G.!," released on Mad Decent, the label of Hollertronix architect Diplo. A strange collection of guests (rapper Gucci Mane, Dirty Projectors singer Amber Coffman) and sonic influences should appeal to the headphone listener, but the U.K. DJ remains firmly rooted in speaker-rattle throughout, never completely turning his back on dubstep fans.
Album opener "Woo Boost" is a standard bass-quake, but after that introduction, Rusko bounds around the musical map. On "Hold On," Rusko takes Coffman out of the indie universe of Dave Longstreth and transforms her into a slick club diva. Both "Scareware" featuring Redlight and "Got Da Groove" featuring Gucci Mane play around with hip-hop elements; "Rubadub Shakedown" featuring Rob Azlan siphons reggae sounds; and "My Mouth" is all jangly, abrasive techno.
Rusko's first full-length outing is diverse, to say the least, sometimes dizzyingly so, but for all it's genre-flitting and tinkering, the primary goal of "O.M.G!" is still to get everyone on the floor and dancing.
Rusko performs at the Starscape Festival in Baltimore on June 5.
Recommended tracks: "Woo Boost," "Got Da Groove," "Hold On"