The world’s foremost electronic music artist, Canada’s own deadmau5, has trapped us again.
When the limited-edition, lenticular (the signature mouse head on the cover moves in 3–D) version of his new CD, > album title goes here <, dropped on my desk, my expectations were high. It is, after all, the follow-up to 2010’s 4×4=12, which arguably pushed EDM into the North American mainstream.
I expected a new incarnation of deadmau5’s dance brilliance. I didn’t, however, expect it to put a smile on my face and a pep in my step. But the oft-eerie vibe of its predecessor is replaced on album title with hopeful bounce. “The Veldt,” for instance, is a joyous eight-minute reverie featuring smooth vocals by relative unknown Chris James (he sounds a lot like Sufjan Stevens). And if deadmau5 faithfuls are, at this point, still waiting for the beat-pounding moment to unleash their Glow Sticks, it finally arrives three minutes into the following track, “Fn Pig.”
The remainder of the record is as varied as it is fist-pumping: “Professional Griefers” channels a Manchester rock ’n’ roll den; and “Failbait” features hip-hop legends Cypress Hill on a track that is decidedly rap in genre albeit with a steady electro pulse.
Perhaps this newer, cheerier deadmau5 is a reflection of recent successes. In the past year, he’s sold out the Rogers Centre, performed at the Grammys and landed on the cover of Rolling Stone. Now, something else to be happy about: > album title goes here < debuted at No. 2 on iTunes in Canada.
For music oft-associated with nighttime, album title is surprisingly reminiscent of sunrise…which is when EDM hard-cores will likely be (still) listening, anyway.