By Kristi Kates | Jan. 21, 2017
Deadmau5 – W:/2016ALBUM/ – Mau5trap Recordings
The intriguing thing about the mau5 has always been that he seems to have more skill than he lets on, even considering his already impressive catalog, which leaves fans to wonder when he’s going to really bring out all his audio gold. This collection doesn’t quite make that step forward – the artist himself calls it “rushed” – although it’s still a respectable set, from the dark alley techno of “Deus Ex Machina” to the electro-heavy “2448” to the absorbing “Snowcone,” which in its best moments recollects early Squarepusher. It’s just time for Deadmau5 to push himself a little more.
The xx – I See You – Young Turks
Brighter than the group’s previous album and already being lauded as its best collection of tracks in years, The xx’s latest opens with a new flash of inspiration in the horns of “Dangerous,” which showcases further poise via its cement-solid dance floor bassline. First hit “On Hold” begins with an instantly memorable hook, and the ballads – most notably “Say Something Loving” and “Performance” – offer not just a transformation of mood but further evidence that Jamie xx and crew are expanding their songwriting. **1/2
Enigma – The Fall of a Rebel Angel – Universal
Michael Cretu and Enigma haven’t dropped an album since 2008, and a lot has changed in electronica music since then. Enigma always stood out because of its incorporation of Gregorian chants and other audio exotica, and thankfully it retains those unique features on this set. No other acts really blend pop and such esoteric influences as Enigma has always done, and here it does so beautifully on concept tracks like “Circle” with vocals from Nanuk, the lush “Lost in Nothingness” and the much-anticipated sequel song “Sadeness (Part II),” which completely lives up to the hype.
Tech N9ne – The Storm – Strange Music
Calling his latest set The Storm was an apt choice for the Kansas City indie rapper/sound chopper, since it’s a literal barrage of new tracks, 33 in all. The idea of a three-part album theme showcasing the three sides of his personality – id, ego and superego – is definitely interesting, but you’ll wish N9ne had done a little editing, as many tracks start with a lot of promise yet never quite reach their full potential. That said, highlights like “Erbody But Me” and “The Needles” nicely showcase N9ne’s always impressive rhyming skills.