Deadmau5

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Despite his oversized, illuminated mouse-head mask and song titles like "The Reward Is Cheese" and "A Song About Squirrels," Canadian producer Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, has avoided any gimmicky novelty act labels thanks to his subtle and understated brand of electronica, which incorporates everything from minimal techno to euphoric house to chilled-out trance, a sound he continues to pursue on third studio album, Random Album Title. Those only familiar with his breakthrough Top 20 collaboration with U.S. DJ Kaskade, "I Remember," a blissful blend of spacious synths, hypnotic beats, and the silky smooth tones of Haley Gibbs, may be slightly disappointed, as apart from the robotic narration on the woozy, Daft Punk-inspired opener "Sometimes Things Get, Whatever," it's the only vocal-led track on the entire album. Instead, the follow-up to 2006's Vexillology concentrates on the kind of instrumental epics favored by the likes of Tïesto, with hands-in-the-air floor-filling anthems like "Arguru," a dirty bass-led tribute to the late music software programmer Juan Antonio Arguelles Rius, the tribal progressive house of "Complications," and the warped techno of "So There I Was," nestling alongside after-party comedowns like the Vangelis-influenced "Faxing Berlin" (featured here in its original and piano acoustic versions), the kaleidoscopic minimalism of "Alone with You," and the gorgeous Chicane-esque dream trance of "Brazil (2nd Edit)," the track cleverly sampled to great effect by both Kylie Minogue and Alexis Jordan. Indeed, it's a shame that Deadmau5 himself didn't utilize the latter song's potential himself, as a few more vocal melodies might have compensated for the album's sparse repetitive production, which isn't interesting enough to justify the over-long 70-minute running time. Random Album Title shows enough promise to suggest that Deadmau5 could produce a classic in the future, but its self-indulgent, knob-twiddling nature makes it feel more like a recording of one of his DJ sets than a coherent studio album.

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