Joel Zimmerman has made a very strong brand with his alter ego Deadmau5. Not only has he become known for his frantic and stylish DJ skills, but also for the persona featuring the hyper-deformed mouse head that he wears in performances. This eclectic look is well balanced by Zimmerman’s sheer talent and his latest Deadmau5 release, 4x4=12, is proof that he is much more than a gimmicky appearance.
The album starts with “Some Chords” a very smart and thumping mix that pulls you into the album with breakneck speed and gives you a feel of where 4x4=12 will take you. “Sofi Needs a Ladder” is next and features the excellent vocals of Sofia Toufa (Sofi) who works with Deadmau5 live quite often. The high energy of this song shows that Deadmau5 can work as well with vocals as he can with mixes and samples.
Things are not quite as stellar over the next couple of songs. There is nothing technically wrong with “City in Florida” or “Bad Selection” but aside from a few shining moments there is nothing exceptional about them as well. The songs follow a lot of the house tropes and play the game a little safe. They do flow well and continue to push the album along but the frantic energy and momentum from the first two tracks slows a bit.
Thankfully it is all uphill from that point with the retro infused but fresh track “Animal Rights” layering beat upon beat to bring you right back there enjoying Deadmau5’s vision. “I Said” continues the trend and features fades, layered beats so thick you can almost touch them and a trance feel that is ethereal at times.