Review Summary: The Experimental Connection
(real name Joel Zimmerman
) became perhaps one of the most influental (and controversial) house acts of the modern age, he took quite a different approach to his music—settling in to something more reminiscent of Aphex Twin or The Prodigy than the upbeat electro-house of "Ghosts 'n' Stuff", or even the industrial-influenced while(1<2)
. The Toronto native's debut Get Scraped
is a fine example of how to make an experimental "genre roulette" type of album work and an interesting look into the beginnings of the infamous mouse.
Opener "The Oshawa Connection" starts off a bit modestly, opening with a sample of a phone-in talk show before suddenly busting into thunderous breakbeats and powerful synths. Zimmerman's courage in pulling the style off ultimately aids the track even further and it ultimately results in one of the stand-out tracks. The experimentation also leads to some bizarre stylistic switches throughout the album—the depressing ballad "Careless" feels jarring coming after the energetic "Intelstat", and it's quite odd hearing "Edit Your Friends" (perhaps the most 'normal' song on the album) coming after the glitchy IDM of "Support"—but Zimmerman manages to make it flow rather nice. Simply put, one of the greatest assets of Get Scraped
is the flow of Zimmerman's music, which allows things to get weird, but not too weird.
Despite Get Scraped
being a primarily instrumental album, there are a few moments where Zimmerman's vocals show up, most notably in the aforementioned "Careless". He's actually a surprisingly competent vocalist, and despite the autotune it ultimately helps the vocals instead of hurting them, as they're used much more tastefully than in other electronic albums. "Careless" also shows that he's also a pretty decent songwriter; he's no Kurt Cobain, but the talent is definitely there and he just needs to tap into his potential:
You knew this day would come
And it did, and you really should have waited
Go cry yourself to sleep
And you should, because I'm so faded
Is Get Scraped
perfect? No. Get rid of the filler (such as "I Forget"), add some general improvement in minor things such as melodies, and tone down the tendency for glitchiness and you've got something better. But at the end of the day, Get Scraped
is a stellar debut and a nice showcase of multiple genres that proves Zimmerman is more than capable of going outside of his comfort zone and doing almost anything—and now that he's been slowly moving back into the experimental nature of this album for a while now, we could definitely have perfection from the mau5 one day.