Deadmau5 – 4×4=12

Well, here we go again. Arguably as anticipated as his last release, the man, the mouse – whatever you may wish to call him – is back, with a brand new album, 4×4=12. Has he matured, is it an inspiring album, or is it more of the same that we’ve grown to expect from the Canadian?

We kick off in only the way he seemingly knows how: hard, but this time, it’s taken to a new level. The man behind the mouse, Joel Zimmerman, probably couldn’t care less what genre he is boxed into, but given the purpose of a review is to inform, it is fair to say that he starts off with what can be called nothing but electro house.

He launches into it with a distinct Deadmau5 edge, and it’s arguably the same sound that has driven crowds mad in recent times. Others who seemingly long for his blood will continue to hate; not that he gives a shit.

Some Chords and Sofi Needs A Ladder is Deadmau5 at his banging festival best, the latter now with vocals from Sofi Toula (where previously there were none) and making it arguably more mainstream. It’s the kind of tune that would send a crowd of his devoted followers into absolute hysterics. City in Florida and Bad Selection follow suit, and while it is all representative of a sound that’s, if nothing else, catchy, one can’t help but similarly feel that it’s all just a touch repetitive.

There is no sign here of a Faxing Berlin, a Jaded, or even a Strobe. While that may be a cause for disappointment for some, others may welcome more of the same and a further move away from the very early Deadmau5 that had so many people so excited.

Some of you may not be surprised with this turn, some may not even care, but here you are reading this review, so at least to some extent, you do. His collaboration with electro house producer Wolfgang Gartner in Animal Rights represents a funkier and dirtier sound, and is even somewhat reminiscent of Daft Punk’s Human After All. His I Said is typical Deadmau5, and not surprisingly, given that it has featured in many of his sets for the past twelve months.

Then, just as you think that the prog bombs that littered the second half of his For Lack of a Better Name release will not make an appearance, and the electro house thing is getting just a touch repetitive: grab on to your socks and pull. As we glide seamlessly into the gentler Raise Your Weapons, possibly the Strobe of the album, one realises that there are a few twists and turns to come.

Firstly…vocals. And peaceful, almost angelic vocals, courtesy of Greta Svabo Bech from electro group Picture Book. For those that don’t mind a bit of vocal mixed in with your EDM, it will capture your attention, and if nothing else, this tune is a ballad. Or is it? For, with no warning, Zimmerman launches into what can only be described as a pretty explosive dubstep beat. Dubstep fans out there may groan in unison (or however it is they groan), but I’d implore you to listen, then judge. Prog-cum-ballad-cum-dubstep. It’s a bit of a journey within itself and pretty impressive.

And there’s more to come, One Trick Pony following suit with more of the dubstep variety, and like it or hate it, if it does nothing else, it will certainly cause a stir. But then again, this is coming from the man that said that all DJs are “fuckin’ c*nts’, so one safely assume he could care less about what people think.

All up, this is a solid album from Zimmerman, even if it isn’t breathtakingly amazing. Diehard Deadmau5 fans will love this, with plenty for them to enjoy, and it is on the back of this that it will almost certainly be another commercial success.

Similarly, while the stomp into dubstep territory might alienate a few fans, it may just as easily bring a few more into the mix. Overall though, while some may claim that the album represents a maturing Mau5, for me, such a claim should not be overstated. It is essentially more of the same, albeit with a few twists and turns just to keep you interested.

4×4 = 12 is out now on EMI.