deadmau5 Produces Electronic Opera in Latest Effort

Electronic dance music, while gaining in popularity, is not without its critics that claim it’s an invalid musical genre. deadmau5’s latest album, while(1<2), however, demonstrates the complexity that can go into electronic music.

The double album contains 25 songs and combined is over two hours of pulsating, progressive house music beats that deadmau5 is famous for worldwide, but while(1<2) veers slightly off the known path, producing a more emotional sound. Prior to while(1<2)’s production, deadmau5 (whose real name is Joel Thomas Zimmerman) released an EP titled 7 which featured songs named after the Latin translations for each seven deadly sin: “Acedia,” “Avaritia,” “Gula,” “Invidia,” “Ira,” “Luxuria,” and “Superbia”. All but “Luxuria” are included in while(1<2), and have a melancholy, introspective tone not often heard in most electronic music songs. deadmau5 carries that tone through the extensive piano solos found on those tracks and others on the record, such as the catchy and eclectic “Errors in my Bread”.

There’s a dark undercurrent in the album as well, and while(1<2) could easily pass as a horror film score. The middle of “Terrors in My Head” breaks into creepy whispers before a solemn piano solo, and “Phantoms Can’t Hang” includes faint, ghostly howls.

You won’t find any major “bass drops” and dubstep songs that Zimmerman has openly despised here. The closest dance or club tracks on the record would be “Ice Age”, “My Pet Coelacanth”, and “Seeya”. Both “Ice Age” and “Seeya” feature some female vocals that are a nice alternative to the extensive beats and instrumentals.

Despite Zimmerman’s public feud with Arcade Fire and his debate between rock vs. electronic music, he remixed industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails’ “Survivalism”, reinvigorating the sound with solid beats, and even played some acoustic guitar on “Monday”. It’s clear that he is not afraid to experiment, as any true artist should. This record as a whole feels like an electronic opera, with the long tracks blending seamlessly into each other and the production nuances throughout.

The album lists three songs with titles containing the word “coelacanth”: a rare order of fish that is critically endangered. Perhaps this is deadmau5’s subtle warning that electronic music could become extinct, just another fad, and nothing more than that SNL skit. However, he pulls his own weight with while(1<2), demonstrating the potential of electronic music while also giving the creative middle finger to its critics.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: How a Rock Die-Hard Became Attuned to EDM - Rock On Philly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.