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Review: Deadmau5 4x4=12

4x4=12 is the third album from Joel Zimmerman in as many years and maintains an ethos of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Despite a rejection by the man himself of any genre pigeon-holing, 4x4=12 inhabits familiar territory within the progressive and electro house scene. The hugely popular minimalist style at the centre of previous albums Random Album Title and For Lack of a Better Name returns here for album number three with a refreshingly clean, simplistic arrangement of heavy beats and carefully selected samples.

In December, Deadmau5 joined the privileged few who have headlined Earls Court in London embarking upon one of the most prestigious live shows of his career. 4x4=12 feels a little too safe and unadventurous to warrant such a huge performance and the success of the show will lie in Zimmerman's ability to bring all of his material and on-stage eccentricity into one career-defining performance.

The album's first two tracks will likely be two of the most crucial, along with former hits Ghosts ‘n' Stuff and I Remember, in delivering the heartbeat of the show, maintaining a deep, rhythmic flow throughout. The bass lines on Some Chords and Sofi Needs a Ladder are as heavy as we've heard from the Canadian producer with the opener reminiscent of early Daft Punk and utilizing that sense of anticipation that made I Remember such a joy to hear on the dancefloor.

Unfortunately it is all down hill from there, not in a fatal nosedive fashion but in a very gradual slope of anti-climax. The fourth track Bad Selection is exactly that as we discover what Deadmau5 sounds like with no spark of creativity or originality. He is redeemed a track later however with the wonderful Daft Punk-inspired Animal Rights (Feat. Wolfgang Gartner.) Playful stabs of electro samples and a funk-induced bass line make it one of the catchiest tracks on the album, a certain dancefloor favourite.

Some great material peppers the remainder of the album, including Raise Your Weapon, which features the brilliantly delivered lyricism of Greta Svabo Bech and Right This Second which has hints of early euphoria for an indulgent dose of nostalgia. Deadmau5 is at his best when he takes time to build to the crescendo and create the track as you listen to it. The creative production process is evident in the make up of the tracks themselves. To top of the album's exploration of styles and genres Deadmau5 couldn't resist trying his hand at dubstep on One Trick Pony, the title suggesting that Zimmerman isn't.

The remaining tracks A City in Florida and I Said are both disappointingly non-descript and fail to live up to the claim that 4x4=12 is an album in which Zimmerman matures, opens up and delivers material as a musician not just a producer. The early couplet of infectious smash hit material are on par with his best and in a way, much like his previous long-players 4x4=12 is an album of ups and downs.

If Zimmerman can continue crafting a behemoth dance single per album for the rest of his career he'll be on to a winner, but we may never discover the true talent in the man behind the mouse.

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