deadmau5 – W:/2016ALBUM/
There isn’t a producer out there that sparks more outrage, more criticism, and more trolling than deadmau5. While that may sound negative, Joel’s consistent yammering on Twitch and Twitter and other platforms doesn’t necessarily hurt him. In theory, it gains him more fans than not because his candor and ‘humanity’ breaks through in his tweets (it’s easy for fans to communicate with him). However, the build-up for his highly-anticipated eighth album, W:/2016ALBUM/, could’ve used some restraint. In the weeks leading up to the release, he was trying to lower the bar fans probably had by lambasting the LP, calling it “slapped together” and “a love/hate thing,” as well as emphasizing that he would like to put together an album he actually likes. It’s not to say he doesn’t care about his fans. Contrary to his less-than-subtle response to why he released it anyways—“COS I GOT F**KIN MAD BILLS”—he usually follows up such declarations with appreciation to fans who still love the music, despite his open self-deprecation. In other words, this is obviously not his favorite album. And after a few listens, I would have to agree.
When Joel announced the release of W:/2016ALBUM/ on Pete Tong’s radio show, he mentioned how he was enamored by the purchase of a Prophet 10, which was a synthesizer used to compose sci-fi films in the 80s. It’s clearly present in a few tracks and unfortunately not taken far enough in most. ‘4ware’ (aware?) was one of the promo singles set out to introduce the album. It features a ‘Faxing Berlin’-like progression and a lulling line of 80s synth, just enough to ease us into the rest of the album, if it possessed more of the same experimentation. After the third track, the Prophet 10 pretty much disappears and we’re left with ‘Deus Ex Machina,’ an ode to RPG’s and racing video games, and then ‘Imaginary Friends,’ a standard deadmau5 filler that was released last year.
‘Let Go’ adds a bit more confusion to the mix. It’s the only track with vocals; and while it might have worked in previous albums, it takes you out from whatever the rest of the album is trying to say. It features Grabbitz, a young producer from New York who has seen some fair success with Monstercat, and is rather optimistic. ‘Let Go’ also acts as the official first single. It almost seems like it’s on the album solely to be a first single.
We then return to the complete other side of the spectrum with ‘No Problem.’ This is where he really experiments with the newly found synthesizer. Unlike the other tracks, the 80s synth bursts through in multiple layers and actually takes advantage of the rather expensive machinery. ‘Snowcone,’ a previously released track, and ‘Three Pound Chicken Wing,’ which features an eerily familiar sounding bass composition, do not push boundaries but keep the album going before hitting the big finale in ‘Whelk Then.’
‘2448’ and ‘Whelk Then’ were the ultimate highlights. The former had a medieval, Nintendo, future 80s sound with an unexpected breakdown that complemented the dark nature we know from the masked crusader. The latter was one of the songs Joel actually liked—that and ‘Glish,’ which incidentally is the shortest track at 2 minutes and 10 seconds and probably why he likes it because it doesn’t prolong its welcome. The last song of the album has this mind bending trippiness, almost like it’s tunneling through the recesses of your mind and plugging in a few dimensions. It’s definitely encouraging and almost redeems Joel’s knack for taking us out of our heads.
Listen to W:/2016ALBUM/ below and let us know what you think!
deadmau5 – W:/2016ALBUM/ | Purchase
The mau5 also announced the dates for his upcoming tour!