His name is Joel Zimmerman, but you might know him better as Deadmau5, a Coachella-playing, "Gossip Girl"-appearing DJ and the latest entrant in the Next Moby sweepstakes. The Canadian-born Deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse") is more of an ascetic than even Moby.
Prone to disguises (he invariably appears in public covered in an oversize, inexpressibly sinister mouse head), ostentatiously secretive, he's the electronic artist as party-eschewing programming nerd, more Mark Zuckerberg than Daft Punk.
"4x4=12," his would-be breakthrough third CD release, features little in the way of potentially mainstream-endearing flash: Except for the funky, bass-driven house track "Animal Rights," a collaboration with Wolfgang Gartner, "4x4=12" doesn't boast many famous faces, "Play"-like archival samples or vocal guests (the electro rave-up "Sofi Needs a Ladder," with vocals from Sofia Toufa, is one of a few exceptions).
It's sturdy and serious, devoted to progressive house-leaning club bangers both serviceable ("A City in Florida"; the atypically slow, gentle "Raise Your Weapon") and great (such as the propulsive, oddly beautiful "Some Chords"), but something about it feels off. "4x4" is a breakthrough album that doesn't feel like a breakthrough album. Not accessible or crowd-pleasing enough to court non-electronic music fans, not adventurous enough to satisfy die-hards, it pleases, but it rarely dazzles.
Recommended Tracks: "Some Chords," "Animal Rights"