I have some friends who throw any ounce of poise they have out of a moving vehicle when they (a.) hear a techno song by Tiesto, (b.) go to a show featuring Tiesto or (c.) talk about Tiestos existence just the fact that hes alive. I always thought they were half-joking (and still do), but having seen deadmau5 live, I began to reconsider the root of their affinity for the apparent dance-trance-techno virtuoso.
It was in Montreal where I saw Canadian DJ Joel deadmau5 Zimmerman, almost accidentally, behind the mixers at a club while wearing an overgrown mouse head. Once I heard and saw his aurally and visually mind-bending show, I understood the magnetism toward his thumpy club music.
4×4=12, deadmau5s third release, tries to harness what he does on the dance floor and package it neatly for our headphones. Thats a tall order, but this album gets you as close as possible.
Deadmau5s skill proves worthy with giant (and I mean pounding) beats and baselines that are sliced down the middle with neat, tidy chord progressions. Tracks like Animal Rights (featuring Wolfgang Gartner) are playful with a sonic edge while the intriguing Raise Your Weapon is an experiment in dub-meshed dance music.
The eye feast of an atmosphere experienced at deadmau5s live laser shows will never show up on your headphones or in your car speakers. But without the experimental platform of a recording studio, deadmau5 probably couldnt treat listeners to such complete and dynamic shows.
4×4=12 is a strong album. With preternatural deftness, it does to your eardrum what espresso does to your heartbeat. When you hear deadmau5 youre with deadmau5 until you turn down the volume. And I dont even really like techno.