Even though I have already been working on my next post for several days now, I felt compelled to put it on hold in light of today’s significance. That’s right, today marks the release of deadmau5‘s sixth studio album, > album title goes here <. As one of the most well-known electronic music producers today, in a way he has become the representation of modern house music for many people. Although it may seem like a lot of pressure, Joel Zimmerman (the man behind the mau5head) has never been one to submit to outside opinions and criticism. With the eruption of countless young EDM producers trying to make a name for themselves, the industry has become somewhat overloaded by unoriginal tracks from DJs who are only looking to party. While partying is certainly one of the best things to do while listening to electronic music, it does not go unnoticed when an artist puts a significant amount of time and effort into their music, sculpting it to meet their exact creative vision. This is the impression that I get from all of deadmau5’s music, and the new album is certainly no exception.
The first time I listened to > album title goes here < in its entirety was this morning at approximately 2 AM. It was easily the best decision I could have made in my somewhat-conscious state (because let’s face it, nothing productive ever happens after two o’clock in the morning). The album was the perfect soundtrack for the quiet serenity of deep night. Not to say it wouldn’t be great at any other time of day, of course. Having listened to all of deadmau5’s previous releases, I would have to say that as a complete package, this newest release could very well be my favorite of them all. His sound remains consistent enough to establish a sense of familiarity, yet at the same time there are many new avenues that he explores musically. This is a release that will appeal to ravers and easy listeners alike.
“Superliminal” is a bold start to the album, and definitely an appropriate one. The first side of deadmau5 that we hear has a gritty edge to it; this track will most likely explode onto the club scene. Even so, there still remains the subtleties of sonic manipulation that have come to define Joel’s style. His music is generally takes its time in developing, embellishing each individual section to its full potential. “Channel 42” brings in another big name in the dance music scene: Wolfgang Gartner. Although Gartner has admitted that “Animal Rights” (his last collaboration with deadmau5) was not either party’s best work, “Channel 42” by contrast is easily one of the best tracks off the album. For fans who are familiar with them, it is clear that both of their styles are represented equally on the song.
Next up is the “The Veldt,” the album’s most popular single, featuring Chris Jones on vocals. Interestingly enough, the song was inspired by the short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. Although deadmau5 had originally planned to release it as an instrumental, Jones surprised him by writing lyrics on his own accord and sent him the recording. This song is also a prime example of deadmau5’s outstanding production quality. There is a certain level of restraint and refinement that creates a remarkably mature sound, which is present throughout the album. “Fn Pig” comes next, and it is perfect track to continue the mellow yet melodious mood of “The Veldt.” It slowly builds up through a series of ethereal chord progressions until it reaches an energy level reminiscent of the album’s earlier tracks.
It’s at this point that we get to “Professional Griefers.” To be perfectly honest, when I first heard this song over a month ago as a single, I was not a fan. It’s obviously a dramatic change from deadmau5’s usual style, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it at the time. Listening to it again, however, it’s become one of my favorite cuts off the record. Gerard Way contributes vocals to the song, giving it a distinct, rebellious sort of tone. I like to think of it as the electronic evolution of punk rock. This was definitely a visionary collaboration on deadmau5’s part. Be sure to also check out the music video for the song.
From there, the album starts to mellow out. Songs such as “There Might Be Coffee” and “October” showcase the softer side of progressive house – classic deadmau5. On “Failbait,” however, he collaborates with Cypress Hill and takes an interesting turn towards hip hop. I always enjoy hearing an artist try out new styles, and deadmau5 definitely held his own. “Telemiscommunications,” the closing track, is a downtempo number featuring Imogen Heap, and it is the perfect way to bring the whole journey to an end.
Joel Zimmerman has created an incredibly unique image for himself (the giant LED-lit mouse head might have been a clue), and it’s inspiring to see him sticking to his roots as the years have gone by. > album title goes here < represents the latest and greatest from the Canadian producer, and I would highly recommend to anyone, from the most avid fan to the oldest of geezers. Deadmau5 was instrumental in bringing electronic music into the public eye, and his newest album only proves that he is here to stay.