Sporting a giant, digitally morphing, electronic sphere mouse head, Canadian EDM artist Deadmau5 has been rocking audiences, MTV award shows and packed venues for the past few years. Joel Zimmerman, as Deadmau5, has helped dance music explode into the pop scene recently, producing several albums, being featured in movies, television programming and video game scores. His style of progressive house mixed with elements of dubstep and electro house has helped shape the landscape of popular Electronic Dance Music.
Already producing some straight-ahead EDM, I was excited to hear that Deadmau5 was trying his hand at hip hop with Cyprus Hill, downtempo with Imogen Heap and rap-rock with My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. I was hoping he would branch out to bring his creative, slick stroke to other styles. Unfortunately for me, those collabo’s all fall short. The hip hop sounds like a generic late ‘90s b-side, the Heap track wholly uninspired and the Way track is just plain annoying. And it is really too bad, because what Deadmau5 does, he does WELL.
The standout track, ‘Closer’, borrows the alien’s musical theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and turns it in to a rousing club banger. ‘Superliminal’ is crunchy, funky hard house dubbed deep in dark club corners and just feels sublimely filthy. ‘The Veldt’ is smooth house, less for clubbing and more for the after-party or lounging by the pool. The other tracks are great too, but those ones are some standouts. In fact, it’s too bad the branch-outs fall so flat, because if Deadmau5 brought the same level of polish and creativity on those tracks, >album title goes here< could be a clubber’s classic. I hope Deadmau5 keeps pushing his style in to new territories, but brings the electric excitement from his “mau5head” to his new tunes.