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Deadmau5 – 4×4=12

May 31, 2011

I’ve started and restarted this review on so many occasions now that I’m sick to the teeth of trying to basically insinuate that I think it is good. I’ve done this in a number of bizarre fashions, from random notepad updates whilst sober/drunk, smaller notes of both text and audio form on a phone app and scribblings on bits of paper. Sadly when bringing all of this together you get something like a few garbled words cut and pasted by a 5 year old who hasn’t quite grasped the idea of grammar, punctuation or in fact writing full stop, So instead I will do things a little differently and review this album on the basis of how it makes me feel. But first, some background: Listening now, as I do often, to songs or albums that hold personal meaning for me I go over 2010 and look at it in one of two ways. Either nothing of great emotional worth happened for me to associate music with any particular memories – or there was not enough great music for me to want to listen to enough to associate with things going on in my life. Conversely there may well be things I would rather forget from the year and the music I listened to has reflected that as I have forgotten most of that as well – but c’est la vie. Now this may sound particularly critical of a year that has produced two of my top albums of the last 5 or so years (namely Vampire Weekends Contraand Everything Everything’s debut). And yet as I flick through my 2009 list of favourite songs and recall every delicious detail of my life that coincided with those songs I feel that perhaps I am not being critical enough of 2010. 2009 produced a lot of albums that grabbed me both musically and emotionally and 2010…well 2010 left me wanting.

It’s not even that the songs necessarily have to coincide with large events within my life. That would be far too egocentric…instead though I do find some songs that at the very least speak to me in their turn of phrase or their climax or chord progression. It is along these lines then that Deadmau5 provided me…albeit sadly too late to include in our top 15 albums of the year…a contender for one of my top albums of the year. From the opening chords of the aptly titled “Some Chords”, I am immediately transported to Deadmau5’s own little world. This guy programs everything from scratch, something few in the dance industry do today and for some reason this really appeals to me from a technical standpoint and from an appreciation of realising how difficult it is to do anything from scratch. But enough of that, let’s stick with the program. Like a lot of electronic music, vocals can often end up standing back from the main hooks and melodies. In these cases then I tend to really focus on the beat, the chord progressions, the climax and breaks and the drop of the bass. As such the introductory song really just energises me, making me feel that I am standing on the edge of a literal precipice and that anything is possible (well the result will still be falling off said precipice but the thought is still exhilarating!). It’s certainly a good one for the start of a run! Moving swiftly on to “Sofi Needs A Ladder” we come across a song that I generally want to skip as the intro snare sounds make my head want to asplode. The female singer/rapper does no favours either for easing the gradual headache that forms from this song, but I wouldn’t expect Deadmau5 to produce an album where every song is a winner. OK, I freely admit at this point that this review appears quite scattered and possibly even a little schizophrenic in its changes but this is now the 7th time I have solidly come back to this review to finish it…bearing in mind I will have to come back at least once more to sort out amusing links and song uploads. So I am now scrapping the whole writing about how the songs make me feel…ish…and also I now just want to highlight the two other great songs on here. The rest I’ll let you decide on. If we were to go in any sort of scale I would say that “Some Chords” probably comes 2nd…in 3rd place we have the second single from the album “Animal Rights” (which I believe has a guest appearance from Wolfgang Gartner who is also very much worth checking out if you like this sort of thing). As far as Deadmau5 tunes go this is probably the most “single” esque since “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” and yet this definitely feels closer to his debut album material than the stuff that was produced on the filler LP For Want Of A Better Name. It’s a bit of rip roaring jaunt through hugely filtered synth and classic house beats and for all its clichés I still love it. And wait…we now come to two songs whom by their own right should probably come 2nd and 1st respectively. However since I’ve already written this the way I have and I aint going back on myself now, I guess that “Animal Rights” gets knocked down to 4th and this song “Right This Second” takes its rightful place in 3rd. Every time I listen to this song, be it driving or on headphones or on my PC at home the beat and synth syncopated rhythm messes quite literally with my head. To make the beat sound like it is in 3rds when it is in 4ths just hurts and about half way through the song when I notice it the most, I almost get lost trying to count the beat while ignoring the main melody or backing keys till about 5:21 where it honestly feels like the backing melody has started to slow down or miss out keys just to fuck with my head. I can’t get enough of this track simply as a result of this. That said it also has what I think is quite a pleasant classical arpeggio throughout…but that seems pretty irrelevant at this stage. And after my brains have melted out of my ears I am brought back to reality and its delightful contrast in “Raise Your Weapon”. Sung by the beautifully Scandinavian voiced Greta Svabo Bech from Liverpool’s Picture Book this little tune clocks in at 8:21 and at no point whatsoever do I bore of it. Having something of a hint of “I Remember” to it, possibly just because of the lovely female vocals and spacey backing track, it is fully deserved of being the last single from the album. I particularly like this song for the drop. I wont say what happens as it spoils it, but it is very, very nice. Well…it turns out I am a bit of a singles fan as Wikipedia has just informed me that all my favourite songs off the album bar one, are singles. Either way, 2010 blew for me, 2011 is already producing some fine, fine music and fine, fine memories so lets just roll with that. How does it feel now?

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