Deadmau5, aka Joel Zimmerman, is possibly the most recognizable figure in EDM, having graced the cover of Rolling Stone with the iconic mouse head that we all know and love. He also happens to be the scene’s most outspoken critic and the genre’s self-proclaimed ambassador. After wowing crowds worldwide with his incredible live setup all year, the Mau5 has decided to “unplug for a wee bit” and take some time to himself. Before he goes on hiatus Joel released his sixth full length album, >album title goes here<. That isn’t a typo, just Joel’s unusual humor.
If you’re looking for big, radio-friendly hits, this is probably the wrong album for you. Oh sure, there is his colossal collaboration with Chris James, The Veldt, which has been heard by just about every man, woman, and child this summer, but aside from that this is Joel doing his own thing. Never one to pander to crowd, Deadmau5 always strives to keep out of comfort zones and push boundaries. The album cruises instead of thumps–Several songs on the album exceed the 8-minute mark, and the majority of the album is full of slow-building tracks with extended intros.
First off is Superliminal, a tease of a track with a nice bassline and haunting synth work at the mid-point, a great song to start the album off. Next is Channel 42 with fellow producer Wolfgang Gartner, a fun bit of electro and probably the only hard dance tune of the bunch. There Might Be Coffee is a prime example of Deadmau5’s skill–it’s a beautiful track from start to finish; I get goosebumps every time the melody kicks in. In a similar vein is Fn Pig–it takes time to get going, but it’s a funky joyride well worth the wait.
Closer uses the Close Encounters Of The Third Kind theme to create a bouncy trip through time and space, reminiscent of Deadmau5’s earlier work. Singer Imogen Heap adds a fragile human touch to the quiet ballad Telemiscommunications and should please fans of her own hit Hide & Seek. As a treat to fans, Deadmau5 has also included a live version of his seminal track Strobe, a 12-minute tour-de-force conjuring up memories of his live performances this summer.
On the other hand, collabs with My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way on Professional Griefers and hip-hop group Cypress Hill on Failbait) seem out of place on the album and could have been cut in favor of other recent productions like Bleed or HR 8938 Cephei.
>album title goes here< is restrained but beautiful, diverse yet consistent, simple to the untrained ear but sophisticated to those who take the time to actually listen. If you’re looking for a “dance” album to blast in your car, you should probably look elsewhere. Deadmau5 remains an unorthodox superstar who does things his way, and if you don’t like it, well, that’s just fine with him. Pick up the album on Beatport here.