by: Deadmau5

With big mask (a mouse head) and big ego (Twitter wars, often bites the festival-owning hands that feed him, and enters the Gumball rally with a Ferrari with the Nyan cat meme garishly painted all over it), Deadmau5 aka Joel Thomas Zimmerman is the man EDM haters love to hate, that is, if Skrillex isn't around. It's worth mentioning for history's sake as the superstar producer's 2014 effort, While(1<2), is not nearly as brash or bitter as the man is made out to be, and unless Euro-feeling, easy-strolling EDM numbers that stretch past the eight-minute mark are signs of ego overflow, Deadmau5 comes off as a humble space wanderer on this album trip. If it is a sign of über-ego, then Giorgio Moroder is an a-hole, as are all Moroder-esque moments that appear throughout While(1<2), like the pingy, spaceship disco highlight "Phantoms Can't Hang," which would be a perfect choice if there's ever a Midnight Express 2 movie and soundtrack. "Avaritia" goes cinematically farther and suggests the moody Blade Runner work of Vangelis before it grows into a heads-down club stomper. Bright sequencers arpeggiate like Tangerine Dream getting wistful on "Pets," but it's a Tan Dram to dance to once the light melody and house beat come gleefully into the picture. "Bleed" is an icy moment, and the "Survivalism" remix comes with some serious spite and grit, but the latter is a Nine Inch Nails number included in its Deadmau5 remix, and don't be surprised that a How to Destroy Angels remix ("Ice Age") is here too, because the producer's attitude toward the artist album is fresh and new and includes collaborations, including the post-original recording kind. Even the choice to make this a double album seems to have everything to do with the tracks being longer than usual, and if fans want a version that really makes mom and dad's record player obsolete, the digital edition comes with two megamixes, making this over four hours of the Mau5. Serene and sound and nothing like the gossip blogs infer, While(1<2) is a very good, very restrained, and very inspired Deadmau5 effort. It is a welcome space-walk surprise, recommended for all aspiring EDM astronauts and Ghost in the Shell cast members. ~ David Jeffries

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