Is this a strong comeback or blemish on a legacy?Read More
When the artist themselves disown their own record before it's release, you can't really have high expectations. This is what deadmau5 has done with his latest record W:/2016ALBUM/, which largely lives up to what he says about it.
Prior to its release, deadmau5 himself called the record "rushed" and "slapped together" on Twitter, downright claiming he released it just to pay the bills. That does feel like the case for a lot of this record. The first half of it is absolute monotonous droning; it's loops that show little change or progression that go on for far too long (the shortest track within the first third of the record is five minutes long). '4ware' is the starter of the album, and it's bouncy synths aren't enough to justify the same loop going on for eight and a half minutes. The run of '2448' through 'Deus Ex Machina' is the biggest waste of 18 minutes imaginable. There is absolutely no reason for these songs to be over five minutes of length - even if they were three minutes long they'd still be as boring as they are now.
The second half of the record isn't amazing but at least it's more interesting. 'Imaginary Friends' is the first song on the record with promise, the synth melody builds up in the intro in a very pleasing way - the rest of the song unfortunately returns to the same boring synth loops that really ruin the record. 'Let Go' features actual vocals on it: a very refreshing sound on this very mechanic record. The song features the same problem as 'Imaginary,' though, and becomes way too repetitive. The extended edit actually makes this worse, despite developing some of the more interesting parts of the song futher.
While still not great, the only song that really shows what this album could have been is the first single 'Snowcone.' It has the same formula as earlier songs, but it has loops that progress and change up give the song different levels of interest throughout it's play time. It's the same sound for five minutes, but on top of that sound comes different elements that will capture your ear. That's the way house music should be. Eight minutes of the same loop is just awful.
deadmau5 has had a rough year, battling depression before announcing his break from music, but this was not the way of getting back into it. W:/2016ALBUM/ is exactly as he described: a subpar collection of songs that were just slapped together. It's nothing you would expect from him - there's no excitement and it's impossible to vibe to many of its tracks for too long. He's already begun work on his next record, so let's hope he finds his inspiration to make something better.
Favorite Track: Let Go
Least Favorite Tracks: 2448, Cat Thruster, Deus Ex Machina, Glish
Rating: 38 / 100
Dubstep often times goes two ways. It's big and upfront, or its subdued and moody. Noisia went for the upfront route with their new album Outer Edges, but to mixed results. This album has its moments of drum and bass jamming but often times sounds like a mish-mash of sounds clustered together very incoherently.
The pacing of this album is pretty odd to begin with. Opener 'The Approach' is a chill (albeit, somewhat boring) introduction to an album before 'Anomaly' kicks in with a speedy beat. 'Collider' starts with a more ominous sound and introduces a darker sound that carries through stays unique to the one track. "Weird" describes the next few tracks - 'Vigilantes' brings in the rave-dubstep vibes, but features some off-putting vocal samples that don't play well to the overall vibe of the track. The next track 'Tentacles' is weird in a different way - it's really unsettling. The "tentacles, tentacles, tentacles..." vocal build up makes you squirm before the underwhelming drop kicks in.
While the first half of the album will make you feel a variety of ways, the second half has many tracks that are just plain boring, and, at times, stupid. Songs like 'Surfaceless' and 'Exavolt' sound like a cluster of random noises that build up to nothing and have nothing climactic to carry them somewhere. Other tracks including 'Motion Blur' just don't go anywhere and fail to create an interesting experience. The album concludes on an absolutely dead note, the song 'Sinkhole' being one of the worst things I've heard in awhile and 'Get Deaded' just being plain stupid.
To its credit, this album has some solid drops in it. 'Voodoo' starts off sludgy but kicks into something actually worth getting into later on. 'Mantra' has some massive vibes going on with it, the first track on the album that is truly enjoyable and has a big dance demeanor - 'Into Dust' reprises this later on with a fantastic drop accompanying it. 'The Entangled' almost reproduces this but doesn't climax quite as well as it could have. Much of the song is a great build up to something that never comes. 'Stonewalled' is another track with a fat drop but the rest of the track feels like they just threw a bunch of sounds together into one progressive mess.
Dubstep isn't good if it's messy. Throwing in noises and sounds where they shouldn't be can kill the whole vibe of the song. Noisia struggled with that in this record. A lot of things feel unnecessary and often times don't climax as they could for something big. Perhaps its part of their drum and bass nature, but this album felt empty and anticlimactic for the most part. Maybe their next release will be more of a jam.
Favorite Tracks: Mantra, The Entangled
Least Favorite Tracks: Sinkhole, Get Deaded, Straight Hook, Tentacles
Rating: 59 / 100