If you’ve followed Diplo’s career on paper, an ambient album would be the last thing you’d expect from the world-renowned DJ who essentially started a twerking epidemic in 2012/13 with his single “Express Your Self.” Since his career began, Diplo has been the epitome of turning up, from his wild Mad Decent Block Parties, the infamous canceled Mad Decent Boat Party, to his enormous stage presence at festivals with Major Lazer, Jack U, and Silk City. Not to mention his after parties, and his after after-parties that keep him playing music from sun up to sundown.
All it takes is a quick look at his Instagram to see how wild his life is. Constantly on the road from touring. Sometimes going from country to country on the same night. He without a doubt lives the life of a rock star but when you look at his extreme wild side one would think there has to be a quiet side the world doesn’t see. When you strip down everything that makes Diplo, Diplo, it makes complete sense that the “Welcome to the Party ” producer would end up making an album like “MMXX”. From his journey through India to find himself in his early twenties, to his practices of meditation, health, raising chickens, growing his vegetables, and experiments with psychedelic’s, Diplo has a side most wouldn’t expect. Mix in the absurdness of 2020 and an ambient album by Diplo seems almost inevitable. With this new release, Diplo shows the naysayers he is far more than just an avid partier who spins house records and the occasional country trap. He’s an artist in tune with love and nature and constantly in search of something greater than himself.
When Diplo announced the release of MMXX over Instagram I was immediately intrigued, especially when he announced his collaboration with the Calm app. I had just started my own journey into meditation and was curious to see how a Diplo album focused on ambient landscapes, designed to calm the body instead of stirring up energy would pan out.
MMXX absolutely delivered and showed us something never before seen from Diplo. The album itself is like one long beautiful session of meditation consisting of mesmerizing arpeggios and hypnotic chord progressions that leave the listener floating in a cosmic ocean of emotional bliss.
Aside from the brilliant production, MMXX is an eye-opening representation of not only Diplo’s transformation during these unprecedented times but the world’s as well. Covid-19 stopped our lives dead in our tracks and there’s no telling if or when we will ever go back to normal. But as bad as it may seem it is important not to lose hope. In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. 2020 has ripped us out of our comfort zones and left us no choice other than to adapt. Whether it’s learning a new skill, having a realization, or a new lifestyle change we will all leave 2020 stronger than we were before. COVID is not the end of the world as we know it but a transformation that will push us forward. MMXX is the result of everything Diplo had to go through. When the parties stop, the streets are empty, and the world is on hold all we have left are the people around us and the love we can offer. For Diplo, this is all he had left in him and I can’t think of another project that represents the state of the world better than MMXX. In the words of Diplo himself “this year isn’t dark, it’s not about the negative it’s about hope.”