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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 21, 2010
I enjoy electronica music, and have for at least the last 10 years. It's a manufactured type of music constructed largely with the use of computers, synthesizers, drum machines and even some acoustical instruments. Some old-fashioned music lovers feel that nothing but purely acoustical/vocal music using actual instruments/voices is the only true music. Well, so what? I'd say that almost any interesting and amusing sounds put together in a structured manner and played for the enjoyment of an audience might rightfully be considered music, and electronica is just exactly that. Some of the composers are artists and musicians second to none and I strongly suspect that electronica will become an ever-increasing fraction of the total musical output.

So, if I enjoy this type music, where might I go to find interesting sources of information regarding such music? There are many sources and word-of-mouth is probably one of the best. Well, I'm 76 and rarely go to hip concerts dominated by young people and, likewise, I'm not a part of the club scene nor do I know friends who enjoy this stuff. They think I'm a bit eccentric. So be it. Let's face it, people of my age just don't listen to electronic music. If I attempt to discuss it with them I draw nothing but blank stares. My wife (31) likes electronica and we share quite an overlap in listening to electronic dance music, but her tastes tend to lean more toward electro-pop and bubblegum, whereas I'm more interested in the hardcore electronica dance music. My best source of purchasing information has been the Amazon computer. It analyzes my past purchases and wanderings and offers interesting suggestions for what I might enjoy. I've found some excellent recordings in this way. A second source is listening to my XM car radio where I'm partial to the BPM dance channel. That's where I discovered deadmau5 (pronounced deadmouse, and the lower-case d is intentional). I heard a few songs from the "For Lack of a Better Name" CD and I ordered it the next day.

The deadmaus5 CD is an excellent recording and I've enjoyed it very much. Supurb! It's real beat-heavy stuff with a wonderful and highly varied rhythmic background. The sound is crisp and clear and nicely mixed. Voices and vocals are a minor part of the total recording except on a few of the early tracks. In some places, deadmau5 uses voices somewhat like strange musical instruments. Plus, there's all sorts of other strange sounds. You just have to get used to this electronic stuff. In some places the mood is gloomy and funeral like, but even that is fun. It's excellent dance music, that's for sure, and fun to listen to also. I'd say the listening experience in some places is closer to listening to some types of classical music than popular music. Just blot out the heavy beat in your mind, if you can, and listen to the background. It's marvelous! Some people call it Progressive House or Electro House, but I disdain using these micro-genre classifications. It's quite excellent quality electronic music, that's what it is, and it shows a lot of talent and musicianship on the part of those who put it together. Joel Zimmerman is the lead perpetrator. Bravo! I guess deadmau5 has been given and nominated for a bunch of awards, and that's easy to understand. One listen to dedmau5 music is all it takes. I'd say that it vaguely reminds me of some of the early music of Matthew Dear ond Daft Punk, two of my other favorite electronica composers. Sorry, I really don't have any other comparisons. "For Lack of a Better Name" is just an excellent album and stands alone in my book and I now own all of the major deadmau5 CD and DVD recordings. I've become a fan!

The sound quality of this CD is exceptionally high, but to fully appreciate it you'll need to have good playback equipment. I have a 100-watt per channel stereo with 7 speakers including two 12" woofers and an 80-watt powered subwoofer. I like to play the CD at fairly high, but still comfortable, volume. In that way, I feel the dramatic bass and the higher notes come across as light, delicate and playful. My system is minimal. If you ever get the chance, play this CD on a high-end system. It's just awesome!

Gary Peterson

Note: I gave this review a minor revision on 1-11-13 and I'd like to thank all the wonderful deadmau5 fans who have contributed to the extended discussion. It beats anything I've ever turned out, believe me.
5353 comments112 of 122 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 19, 2010
Following the advice from numerous suggestions from class, I deiced to find more about Deadmau5. Deadmau5 is a modern technosonic musician specializing in the art of electrical sound synthesis and audio engineering. Deadmau5 is run by Joel Zimmerman and is based in Toronto Canada. Deadmau5 has won many awards in recent years and has produced eight albums since 2006. Looking at some of the more recent work that has been done, the album "For lack of a better name" was released in 2009 and contains 10 songs.
One of the most iconic distinctions of Deadmau5 is the driving beats and complex rhythms that make up most of their songs. The use of repeated rhythmic patterns was made possible by the advances in sequencers and synthesizers like the Buchla and Moog. The driving rhythm that makes many of the pieces by Deadmau5 so enjoyable is made possible by early those early inventions as well as the work of many people. The rhythm that Deadmau5 uses are made up of one single tempo and stays constant for many of the piece, however the complexity of the rhythms comes from changing time signatures. This can be heard in the first song "FML." The pieces start off with a drum set playing a repeating pattern and a thud of a bass drum is added in. The pattern slightly changes and a continuous falling tone, also known as a Sheppard tone, is heard for a small duration of time. After it ends the bass line starts and this makes up the rhythm of the piece. It appears to be in triple meter but every so often a measure of duple meter is added. This can also be heard again in the song "Hi friend." In this one the constant rhythm is interrupted by a few measures of a different meter. It still remains in duple meter but it changes from common time to one that is cut time. This change is help by the fact that the melody also changes from an increasing beeping sound to a suspended tone accompanied by the cut time feel with offbeat claps.
The melody in many of their songs is not considered to be as an important factor as compared to the rhythm and the underlying bass. This effect makes the piece more suited for dance and clubs were the bass and rhythm are important. In addition the length of many of these pieces combined the rhythm and the bass would make it easy to dance to for a long time. This is not to say all the songs on this album are just straight beats for ten minutes. Often Deadmau5 will add a few measures where the melody is the only thing that is happening. This in the case in the song "Soma." Halfway through the piece there is a slow and contrasting piano and synthesizer melody this is then followed by the same rhythm that appeared before the melody break.
Overall the album has many pieces which has catchy rhythms and beats. They will seem interesting because of the use of different types of sounds and samples used. Even if there is no distinct melody used in all the pieces there are pitched beats which make up a melodic rhythmic pattern which is enjoyable. If you are looking for a good song to dance to or something to listen to at a party then any of the songs on this album would be a good choice.
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on April 19, 2010
Deadmau5, pronounced like "dead mouse," is the pseudonym for Joel Zimmerman, an electronic house producer. The name deadmau5 comes from the name of his web developing business, which he named after a dead mouse he found in his computer one day. The reasoning for the numeric spelling at the end is so that it could function as a username for online interfaces. Zimmerman, a 29 year old Canadian from Toronto, has worked his way up the ladder in the music industry. His album "Random Album Title," debuted electronically in September 2008, and copies were released soon after in November. Deadmau5 is best known for some of its collaborative works with Kaskade, Rob Swire and Steve Duda. "For Lack of a Better Name" was out on September 22, 2009. This album contained some huge hits such as "Moar Ghosts N' Stuff" which was aired during the Winter Olympic Games and on MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew."

As a child, Zimmerman was obsessed with computers and technology, now as an older music producer, he still exemplifies his love of technology through his work. Along with Steve Duda, Zimmerman creates music software which he uses in his own shows. Between 2006 and 2007, he worked for the company behind the Fruity Loops virtual studio programme, also known as "FL Studio." This program is very similar to the programs we use in our class everyday such as Garage Band. In 2008, another group called Dirty Circuit got in legal trouble for using a sample that came with the program FL Studio called "LP_Faxing Berlin C_128 bpm" due to the fact that Deadmau5 had copyright of this material.

Zimmerman approaches music in a whole new way. As a result, he loathes the title "DJ." He considers it an outdated way of referring to the art he produces. He assembles tracks as he goes, using the latest computer technology some of which he has created himself. When performing "it's a technological orgy up there and I try to keep it more my music than anyone else's," he says. Also, the costume Zimmerman takes on during performances is that of an oversized mouse head, with large eyes that blink to the enthralling beat of the music. This, too, is introducing a new theatrical, entertainment concept to the dance music industry that it was lacking before.

Being on the brink of the technological revolution, Zimmerman tried to convince recording studios to embrace the changing times and to incorporate PC's into the production of music. Many turned down his ideas, while a small recording studio in Toronto finally gave in. The revolutionary types of technology that are integrated into the work of Deadmau5 have led to some of the hits off of the album "For Lack of a Better Name."

One of the songs on the album is "Soma." Soma refers both to a muscle relaxant as well as a leafless East Indian vine which has a sour milky juice formerly used to make an intoxicating drink. The song begins with one of Deadmau5's typical repeating drum loops, quick paced. Midway through the song, the beats begin to blur, reverberate and slow down as though the drug is kicking in, seeping into the veins. It continues like this and all of a sudden the beat kicks back up again. Then once again, near the end, the beat explodes into a cloud of static, resulting back into the dreamlike sound sequence. The song lingers, picking up the pace with a pouncing drum beat, and finally fades off.

The song "Strobe" has a very ambient feel. The background sounds are very similar to the ambient cloud spaces we made a few weeks ago in class. This song starts off slow and cloud like and then around 3:30-3:50 picks up the speed, increasing from 80-90 bpm's to as much as 125 bpm's without interrupting the flow of the song whatsoever. These transitions are done so very elegantly that we are almost immune to the drastic changes that are happening right before us as we listen to this song.

"For Lack of a Better Name," is one heck of an album, with many more songs to explore. I chose to listen to and analyze "Soma" and "Strobe." The "16th Hour," "Ghosts N' Stuff" and "Moar Ghosts N' Stuff" are just several other songs on the album that are sure to intrigue you. Give them a listen and you'll see what I mean. The auditory and melodic artistry that goes into these songs are outstanding and something everyone should definitely experience!
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on February 14, 2012
I still can't believe that this CD came out after "Random Album Title" because the quality of the music in this album seems so much lower and simpler. Dont get me wrong, there are some great hits in the album like "Ghosts n stuff" "FML" and "Strobe" but other songs like "Bot" and "word problems" really suck. But the good songs make this CD worth buying!

If you have never had a Deadmau5 CD before I would suggest you get "4x4=12" or "Random album title" before you get this cd because those CDs have more good songs in total than this CD.
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on February 26, 2011
I've been exercising to techno, electro, trance type music for a few years but usually just got nibs off my sons mp3 downloads. Lately I really needed some new exercise music and while I was searching I came across Deadmau5. I am so glad I discovered his music because I can't stop listening to it. I would love to see him live but I guess this will have to do. Love the Ghosts stuff, FML, Strobe and the others. I just love his music.
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on September 23, 2009
Random Album Title was great - but FLoaBN seems to take up where he left off. Deadmau5 has been a rising star in the Progressive House genre of Electro music and this album will only propel him further to the top.

This ablum features 2 great mixes of one of my favorite Deadmau5 songs Ghosts-N-Stuff.

If you are a fan of Electro/House/or Progressive House you must pick up this title.
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on September 12, 2013
I purchased this album and Random Album Title at the same time, and this one is definitely my favorite out of the two. The songs on here are a little more dynamic, I think, and they stand out more than deadmau5's previous release. I listen to electronica / dance / DJ mainly when I'm working out, and the first four tracks of For Lack of a Better Name are pretty awesome when you're exercising. "FML" has a strong, driving beat that's perfect for psyching yourself up to do some work. The album starts losing steam around track 5 ("Bot"), and the next few tracks don't do that much either, so I usually skip them and go straight to "16th Hour" or "Strobe," which was one of the songs that originally got me into deadmau5. It starts off slow but builds up pretty quickly and manages to stay interesting through the whole track, which is nearly 11 minutes long.

I was lucky enough to get the MP3 album with the Amazon bonus track, which is a frantic-sounding Sub Focus remix of "Ghosts N Stuff." I personally love it. I'll run to most of this album, slow down to a walk at the end of "Strobe," then I'll finish off by sprinting like an out-of-control maniac to the Sub Focus remix until I'm out of breath and feeling pretty exhilarated. So yeah, absolutely worth it if you can find a version with the bonus track.
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on December 26, 2012
The only song on this record that isn't amazing is "Word Problems", and even that track is growing on me. Also, "Strobe" is worth all 10 or so minutes.
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on December 24, 2011
To be completely honest, I was hoping for a little more from this album. I started out just hearing hits from Deadmau5 like Faxing Berlin & Arguru, and I was hooked on them. So I recently decided to pick up his most recent album 4x4=12. I wasn't too impressed with that album but people were saying that that album doesn't compare to his first two...So I picked this album up. While it IS better than his latest, it's still not what I was hoping for.

It's a much more laid back album that his latest and there are a couple songs I really like, "Strobe" and "FML" namely. Other than that the beats seem a bit bland. They're not bad, just not great. I'll go back and give Random Album Title a listen and see what I think of that.

Overall, definitely a good album, but not the best. Recommended none the less!

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on August 20, 2013
This album has two tracks that deserve your attention: The 16th Hour and Strobe. If you listen to these tracks and close your eyes and don't have a waking dream its because you are already between the here and the ever after. I had my parole officer's grandmother listen to The 16th Hour three times in a row and it cured her Alzheimers. Short take: some of these tracks have medicinal qualities, the others are insulting. Deadmau5 still gets 4 stars for making something that no one else makes.
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