It's no secret that I am a big fan of Deadmau5. The Canadian purveyor of bleepy goodness has been on high rotation in my musical bag of tricks for a long time - in fact, his previous release For Lack of a Better Name is my go-to running soundtrack and "I need some stomping good amp up" music - more than a year after it was originally released.
With that in mind, it's probably fair to say that I had incredibly high standards set when I purchased a copy of his latest release 4x4=12. It was a bit of a fluke actually - I hadn't heard anything about the new release, but happened to spy it on a rack in a record store while wandering past, as luck would have it only the day after release.
Unable to wait I threw this on in the car on the way home, expecting to be utterly blown away in the manner of For Lack of a Better Name. I was initially disappointed, but persisted the next morning with a re-listen to the album (again in the car) on the way to work.
4x4=12 doesn't carry the same initial punch and grab of For Lack of a Better Name - it has a totally different mood and the tracks carry off in a totally new direction and style. This is not actually a bad thing, as it's a very solid release and once I'd given it a couple of listens it started to grow on me a lot. It just took me a little bit of time to accept that it was not a second For Lack of a Better Name.
mau5 is known for taking his listeners on a musical journey, and in that respect this album definitely does it's job while managing to be a little less progressive than the last. Some of the track layout isn't as smooth as it could be, but it's the price you pay for getting a wider variety in the music. It's a lot easier to glean the mau5's influences on this album, picking elements from various electronica legends through the ages. The most notable of this is Cthulhu Sleeps (one of my favourite tracks on the album) which is ten whole minutes of whumm-whumm awesomesauce, a la Timo Maas and Azzido da Bass circa 2000.
My picks on the album are Sofi Needs a Ladder, Cthulhu Sleeps, Raise Your Weapon (the first single) and A City in Florida. While there aren't any tracks I feel that I have to skip, One Trick Pony is easily my least favourite - interesting since it also features Sofi who appears on the earlier Sofi Needs a Ladder.
Overall after a few listens this album has come into it's own right for me and I'm enjoying it on high rotation. I'm yet to test it out for it's run-ability but as it's a mixed album it should fare very well. Another solid performance from the mau5 - not at epic as the last one but still a lot of fun.
And for a little bonus - here's Deadmau5's personal highlights of his Aussie tour in November/December last year. The opening animation sequence is what introduced him onstage, and see if you can spot me in the middle of the crush when he kicks the inflatable roo off the stage. It was absolutely crazy in there.