Let’s be honest with ourselves in that EDM or Electronic music is at a crossroads and many artists are drawing their lines in the sand. You have artists either trying to abandon ship and carve out a new song or artists riding the current inflated wave that in presents. One artist in particular that has always preferred the road less traveled is Mr. Joel Zimmerman otherwise known as Deadmau5. He’s your court jester of electronic music starting new feuds and determined to burn down the current electronic music establishment. Eventually, the music is going to have to speak and nothing spoke louder than his most ambitious project to date, while(1<2).
This isn’t your typical electronic album. Your not going to find the “drop” or some crazy horns or sirens. Cake will not be thrown as an experience in conjunction with the listening of this album. In what is dubbed his “first album,” Zimmerman takes you on a two disc, 25 track journey that reminds me of an ambient version of Nine Inch Nails‘ Ghosts I-IV (There are two Trent Reznor related remixes on this album if you catch my drift). Yes, there are some tracks that you have heard before, but there are served better in the cohesive unit of the album. Deadmau5 prides himself on his connection with the fans often playing unfinished versions of songs or giving away rough demos for free. “My Pet Coelacanth” and “Avaritia” have been mainstays in many of Deadmau5 DJ sets, but i still find myself knotting my head to them.
Zimmerman’s ability to build a track from one single chord, build the ascetic just to repeat the process within the same song is refreshing in a landscape where fellow DJ’ follow a predictable song structure. I would regard disc one of this album the more “uptempo” side and disc two “the reflective” side. There’s an overwhelming presence of piano that permeates throughout the 2nd disc. “Bleed” and “Ira” are songs that come to mind where you don’t need lyrics, but the music speaks anyway. There’s a certain solace in the quiet and minimalism of these two songs, but you can feel that there’s a need for something there. “Errors In My Bread” seems like it was straight out of The Fragile for me. There’s a almost caustic electronic part followed by a piano breakdown in the middle. The finale serves the two coming together where the Mau5 is flexing his musical muscle.
“Seeya” featuring Colleen D’Agostino feels a little bit out of place for me. I get that Deadmau5 channeled his inner Daft Punk and made a song with a bass line, but ending the album with “Coelacanth II” would have probably made it come full circle and made it complete. I’m all for my favorite artists to explore the dark pits of their musical abilities, but not at the sacrifice of the project. If you didn’t hear me before, this is not your conventional electronic album. I’m sure many people will dislike it and write it off especially on the first listen as our generation tends to skip music to get to the “good stuff”. Just put your headphones on, give the skip button a break and let this album take you places. Deadmau5 is not afraid to speak his mind when warranted. I’m just glad he’s able to step outside conventional lines and produce music the way he wants to.