Deadmau5, ‘The Veldt’ EP – Album Review
A rumble of jungle drums and a constellation of distant, spacey guitar notes open ‘The Veldt,’ Deadmau5’s newest EP. Featuring the original self-titled track, two remixes, and a killer cut from hip hop legends Cypress Hill, the Canadian mega DJ’s newest record is the bounciest of popcorn electronic dance music.
The first track hits hard: Chris James provides clean, Auto-Tuned vocals, forming another instrument in the composition -- a strobe-lights, jack-and-gingers, up-all-nighter best suited to the rager it aspires to soundtrack -- but, unlike so much club music, it is stimulating enough to put on at that rager at your office. And by rager, we mean data entry.
The song's title comes from a short story of the same name by the recently deceased and forever amazing sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury, set in the veldt (the scrubby plains of South Africa). James' lyrics are playful and ominous, drawing from the master's fable: “Happy life with machines,” “outside the lions room,” and “in love with the way we are” are all references to the story's plot, in which two future children create virtual worlds to play in. It includes their eating animal remains. Awesome.
The creation of the song is also a sweet story: After completing a tour, Joel Zimmerman (that's Deadmau5's real name) went back home to Toronto to dive into songbuilding. The progressive house DJ livestreamed his whole production process -- which was then entirely instrument. A listener got at him via Twitter. The vocalist sent over some verses referencing the story, and, lo and behold, Zimmerman dug it enough to make that collaboration the featured track. As heartwarming as Bradbury's tale, but with less flesh eating.
The mad tokeable Califonia boys Cyprus Hill come in to crush on ‘Failbait,’ providing more or less what you expect from the ‘Hits from the Bong’ vets -- marijuana mentions (“Smoking out the room / Sorry homey, it’s f---ing habit” and a chest beating chorus: “So high, so high, so high / sh--tin’ on you b----es like a bird when he's flying by.” Zimmerman's production is a throwback West Coast kinda thing, big bass with enough going on instrumentally for Cypress to play off of.
Two remixes of ‘The Veldt’ close out the EP. ‘The Freeform Five Remix’ is dense on that dubstep tip, jagged in comparison to the smoothness of the original. The ‘Tommy Trash Remix’ is a clap-trapped club joint, thumping harder than the first, but losing something in the process.
Encompassing a flesh-eating virtual safari and insane-in-the-membrane fire, ‘The Veldt’ is not your average electronic EP. Nicely done, Deadmau5.