Delayed Gratification

Eric Prydz is a deadmau5 level electronic/progressive god. I often extol the slow progression of deadmau5 tracks, and call them a “slow burn” that requires patience. If you are into that sort of delayed gratification then this new Eric Prydz piece is for you.

I find myself slowly starting to move to this track as the tempo slowly increases. The tension builds to a stratospheric level and finally releases around 3:40. I honestly can’t recall a track with such a masterful build up since deadmau5 blew my mind with “Right This Second.”

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New deadmau5 and thoughts on the progressive genre

deadmau5 is a progressive genius. I think some of his best work is his slowly building progressive tracks, and I am glad to see him revert to this style with his new release. I was recently reading about the differences between EDM subgenres, and I found a great summary that described progressive as trance minus the anthemic elements. Progressive builds intensity not from drops or aggressive baselines but from layering. The tension and surprise is generated through addition and subtraction of elements from a core theme.

Below is an old deadmau5 favorite of mine that exhibits this layering effect quite nicely.

“Strobe” is also excellent.

While the previous two are great, I think that they veer into other subgenres at times. “Right This Second” becomes quite aggressive and almost trance-like while “Strobe” wanders into ambient territory at times. “October” is one of the best examples of pure progressive.

Speaking of pure progressive, Anjunabeats just released a new track that epitomizes the subgenre. Check it out.

All of these songs require patience and an attentive ear in order to catch the some of the subtleties. Progressive doesn’t always hold people’s attention, and I completely understand that. It isn’t for everyone, and it definitely isn’t meant for loud parties or bad headphones that interfere with one’s ability to detect and savor the musical shifts.

Now for the main attraction. Here is deadmau5’s new single which features a collaborating vocalist, Grabbtiz, that he met on Twitter. As with any good deadmau5 track this is quite the slow burn, but give it a try.

Even more exciting is deadmau5’s upcoming track with Kaskade and Skylar Grey. deadmau5 and Kaskade produced one of the best tracks of all time in “I Remember”. Check out my original post on that track. Their upcoming collaboration is certain to be out of this world, and the painfully short teaser lends strong support to that thought.

deadmau5

Half of the time, deadmau5 seems to have fun with his tracks and at times doesn’t even seem like his is taking his own work seriously. However, the other half of the time his tracks are extremely moody and dark. His musical style is either manic or melancholic. He doesn’t have an in between. Below are some of my favorite deadmau5 tracks from each of his albums starting with the most recent. I won’t talk about his newest album since I recently featured it in a post.

Album: > album title goes here <

If you haven’t read the short story, “The Veldt“, then you should immediately. It a terrifically creepy and imaginative story written by Ray Bradbury. deadmau5’s track and the accompanying music video is a retelling of this story. I really suggest reading the story to fully appreciate the video and song.

Next up it “October”. Just a solid track all around.

Album: 4×4=12 

This is probably my favorite album. Its by far the most creative, and deadmau5 took a lot of risks in this album. It includes two of the only dubstep songs that I can tolerate. Check them out below. They are called “Raise You Weapon” and “One Trick Pony” (the latter starts with the dubstep very early on).

“Some Chords” was also a popular track from this album. I think it is because it sounds pretty similar to “Ghosts n’ Stuff” which, by the time of this album’s release, had achieved huge popularity and brought deadmau5 into pop culture.

“Right This Second” is my favorite from the album. I love its borderline cruel buildup.

Album: For Lack of a Better Name

Ok, lets get it out of the way. “Ghosts n’ Stuff” is probably deadmau5’s most famous song. I don’t hate it, but I’ve heard it enough to last a lifetime.

“Strobe” is the opposite of “Ghosts n’ Stuff”. Its a moody and thought provoking musical epic that is a favorite among true deadmau5 fans. If you like songs that take minutes to build then this isn’t for you. If you want the challenge in patience then give this track a listen. It’ll be a sweat reward.

Album: Random Album Title

I’ve already posted about this track and the emotions that I have associated with it, but I am posting it again because it is one of the best, if not the best, deadmau5 track ever.

 

 

deadmau5: Highlights from while(1<2)

I love deadmau5. First of all he is a cool dude. He loves cats and he gives the fair citizens of Toronto Uber rides in his McLaren. Oh, his music is also brilliant. I plan to write a full blog post on deadmau5 and all his musical contradictions, but for now lets talk about the highlights from his newest album.

Phantoms Can’t Hang

This song starts out in a pretty average way. A bouncy and peppy treble beat takes us through the buildup, but don’t be fooled because this track is going to hit you with some serious bass at 1:15.

3:16 is where the beauty is. The beat disintegrates and gives way to a crystal clear and soaring female vocalist. This wonderful aria is given center stage and deadmau5 expertly layers in the former themes of the track.

Avaritia

With hints of the classic trance tracks “Brazil”, “Strobe”, and “Faxing Berlin”, this track has risen to be one of my favorite deadmau5 tracks of all time. Check out 1:50. deadmau5 infuses this track with a very lonely sounding effect here like nobody else can. It starts out echoing, reverberating, and far in the distance. It grows in volume, clarity, and length until it finally morphs into a new sound altogether. One that gives rise to a high-pitched melody that then harmonizes with some bass. This song is an earful. It may not seem like it at first, but its like a good movie in which you pick up more intricacies with each pass.

My Pet Coelacanth

This is a fun song and a typical deadmau5 song in which he doesn’t seem to be taking himself too seriously. For a little nostalgia, check out the middle stretch for some Ghosts n’ Stuff era synth sounds. This song embodies the bipolar musical style of deadmau5. Even within one song you can find a manic stretch somehow coexisting with a detached and ambient stretch.

 

A Musical Australopithecus

The 4 years that I was in college was a time in which the identity of EDM changed pretty drastically. This track, which came in the middle of that, is like a snapshot of the evolving EDM scene. It embodies many sub-genres all at once and in discrete packets to produce an interesting and memorable track. I think this track is like a musical Lucy. Lucy was the missing link in the evolutionary chain between early hominids and the Homo genus, just as this song is an evolutionary link between two time periods of EDM music.

The track starts off simple enough. A basic beat reminiscent of many EDM songs leads us into a dreamy progressive stretch starting at 0:30. Then at 1:30 it takes a glitchy turn, of which I am not a fan. However, I try and keep in mind the context of this song. Skrillex was super popular, and so was the glitchy sounding dub step in general. Even deadmau5 was getting in on the dubstep game (see below for a dub step track that I actually like), and Porter Robinson was no exception.

Incorporating that glitchy stretch out of nowhere in this song is a bit like musical whiplash, but I will let is fly because what comes next makes up for it. 2:00 is when this song really comes into its own! Quite possibly my favorite few seconds of an EDM song starts at 2:11. I have written about syncopation and how I like gaps, pauses, and silence and this little effect that Porter Robinson included is on the top of my my “favorite snippets” list.

At 3:00 we get an excellent stretch from a vocalist who leads us into a buildup and another glitchy sounding section. Finally, the song culminates at 4:30 with a repeat of the previous themes.

This song has it all. Porter Robinson included some traditional sounding trance/progressive stretches, threw in some glitchy segments, and appealed to many with the inclusion of an awesome sounding female vocalist. This is truly a representative sample from a time when the identity of mainstream EDM was in flux.