4x4=12 is his third album as an artist-producer, and it’s aimed beyond Electric Daisy Carnival’s forest of fuzzy bras and platform boots. (After Random Album Title and For Lack of a Better Name, it’s easily his most ambitious title.) Punchy progressive house predominates (the Baroque-inspired “Some Chords” and the more linear “I Said”). But “Animal Rights,” a collaboration with DJ-producer Wolfgang Gartner, obviously grabs at Daft Punk’s electro-funk crown, while “One Trick Pony” and “Raise Your Weapon” offer Deadmau5’s approximation of dubstep’s wobble and buzz. “Sofi Needs a Ladder,” with its grating female rap, is like a tweaker version of M.I.A.
Hipsters will hate it, but that’s partly the point. Admitting he was “born and raised an Internet hate machine,” Deadmau5 knows the power of provocation. So out of 5 stars, I give this one a 4.