Deadmau5 - Random Album Title
Thu 16th Oct, 2008 Music Reviews 8652 viewsin
It’s alleged that no actual muppets were harmed during the creation of Deadmau5’s debut artist album. And it’s an effort that blurs the line between an album and a mix compilation. “How can it be both?”, I hear you you ask. Well it just can, OK? It’s the Mau5’s world and he’ll do what he wants. The album’s mixed. Seamlessly. And at least four of the tracks are already in the open, getting cranked out of crates and dropped onto dancefloors everywhere, and sitting at the top of Beatport download charts for weeks on end. But yes, Random Album Title consists exclusively of Deadmau5’s own material, which makes this his debut artist album.
Sure I’m splitting whiska5 here but the sidestepping of definition and genre morphing is part of the Deadmau5 genius. That, and the age old ‘giving the punters what they want’. He walks a fine line between commercial and underground, staying popular with the ‘hands-in-air’ masses and credible with the fanboys at the same time. The man under the muppet head is Joel Zimmerman. He’s only been at it for a few years but already he’s been hoovering up the accolades and stealing the Beatport crown for ‘Most Influential Person’ for the past two years running. I could bang on about his back catalogue and industry cred, exactly who’s chased him for remixes and so on. But the music itself tells the story, so let’s get on with that shall we?
Twelve tracks. Eight new, four familiar already. Five apparently will only ever be released on this album. (the press release doesn’t mention remixes though, so I imagine it will be game-on for that). And Zimmerman’s an utter gear freak, so the quality of the production and mastering is impeccable and elite.
The first few tracks are electo-tech experiments. Sometimes Things Get, Whatever bleeps along relentlessly with robo-android vocals and deceptively simple breakdowns (I’m pretty sure the binary-coded DNA sequence for cloned yeast is hidden in there somewhere). The morph into the familiar Complications is seamless, it could be the same track. Then somehow we have drifted into more progressive territory with Slip and Brazil. Big synthy hooks, sweet loops and off-kilter cross rhythms give heart to the electronica.
Alone With You sets a trajectory back to the electro workshop with a cute loop that’s sure to appear in sets everywhere this summer. The melody is slowly pared back to it’s minimal sequence, and then out of nowhere drops the commercial house intro to I Remember, with the sweet production skills of Kaskade. Surprise. This track is already in the Beatport top 10 downloads list
We’re already well familiar with progressive monsters Not Exactly and Faxing Berlin. They’re the same here as the versions you’ve already downloaded, but Berlin gets an extra lashing of lushness with an evocative acoustic piano intro that has you reaching for the hot chocolate and dreaming your way along rainy auto-bahns. Zimmerman lets his crack classical piano training loose again with the harp-piano-strings intro to Arguru before cutting loose with a satisfying dose of beats. It could have all ended here quite happily, but in a final twist we are back to electroland with So There I Was and dreaming our way through nebulae and distant star clusters.
The genius about this album is that you completely forget that the tracks were not created separately, and then mixed together in the final stages. This is one complete soundtrack, and the blending and transitions are part of the structure of the songs themselves. Notable omissions are Deadmau5’s spanking new electro dancefloor pleaser Hi Friend, and the more symphonic progressive Clockwork. I would have also thought that Move With Me, another recent Kaskade co-production would get a run. But as I said before, it’s the Mau5’s world. Who are we mere mortals to argue.
Check out the tracklisting…
1. Sometimes Things Get, Whatever
4. Some Kind of Blue
6. Alone With You
7. I Remember
8. Faxing Berlin – Piano Acoustica Version
9. Faxing Berlin
10. Not Exactly
12. So There I Was