Looking past the ludicrous and befuddling album title, 4×4=12 is successful both as a dance compilation and as a satisfying piece of music. Under the moniker deadmau5 (pronounced “dead mouse”), Canadian DJ Joel Zimmerman brings to the table a surprising amount of variation along with his patented booming basses and electrifying synths. Blending elements of house, electro and dubstep, 4×4=12 is enough to keep a rave rumbling for almost all of its hour-long runtime.



The song most ready for continuous play in faux-European dance clubs is “A City In Florida.” It’s relatively simple, with a thumping beat and a synthesizer that builds like a tea kettle. The combined result is nothing short of pure provocation to move in rhythm. Likewise, album closer “Everything Before” uses the same technique — a deep beat with accompanying electronic notes. But the cumulative resonance is enough to make the air in your lungs vibrate.

The main focus in 4×4=12 is clearly house music. “Some Chords,” the first track, opens with a grand buildup that foreshadows the rhythms to follow (even though it bears a strong resemblance to deadmau5’s previous hit “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff”). “Animal Rights” employs a deep bass beat, and the introduction of a grooving synth encourages the notion that copious amounts of drugs aren’t necessary to feel its pulse. Additionally, the track “I Said” has just the right rhythm to be a hit on the dance floor while still casual enough to not deter those trying to enjoy the music without dancing. Overall, 4×4=12 succeeds in creating the next generation of house songs — singles that can appeal to club-goers and still be palatable to other listeners.

Also new to the album are contributions on two songs by German singer Miss Sofi (real name Sofia Toufa). In “Sofi Needs a Ladder,” the vocals add a little bit more substance to the previously unreleased live track “Sofi Need a Ladder.” But in “One Trick Pony,” the vocals add relatively nothing, and actually detract from the electric bass line (which the listener can catch glimpses of between Miss Sofi’s verses). These additions don’t ruin 4×4=12, but they by no means improve it.

4×4=12 succumbs intermittently to the temptation of dubstep. “Raise Your Weapon,” the longest song on the album, is promising, but goes through what could be too many changes (including vocals from singer Greta Svabo Bech). Some parts seem to be in drastically different veins — like when lulling verse gives way to traditional dubstep — to the point where the track would have benefited more from splitting into two or more complementary songs.

Although each song inclines to be either a hit or a miss, 4×4=12 has enough to offer to be enjoyable both to hardcore ravers and the occasional participant alike. Ultimately, deadmau5 succeeds in crafting a mix worthy of substantial play in any club or social get-together.

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