German genius Anton Zaslavski, better known to the masses as Zedd, is one of my personal favorites when it comes to producers in electronically produced music, so needless to say, I’ve been anticipating this release for quite some time. Zedd has said himself, albums are tough projects in the EDM community, as EPs (usually three to five track releases) or even single tracks tend to do better, that LPs (or full length albums) can overwhelm the masses or become stale and insignificant quickly. And I don’t see this staleness as the future for the “Clarity” release. I don’t want to spoil much for you, but here’s a quick run down on the album:
“Hourglass” begins as a calm, down-tempo-ish track that you might turn to on a somber day of reflection when the soothing sounds of LIZ’s voice might strike you perfectly. But don’t get settled in too tight as the tempo unexpectedly picks up and turns into the soulful bassy drop that is signature of Zedd.
“Shave It Up” is a pretty familiar track for any Zedd fan. It is a staple in his live sets, as well as his stage performance in many arenas recently. Zedd even has coined the “shavestep snare” term from this electo banger that is capable of turning any smile upside down at the first drop.
“Spectrum” is one of those tracks that has such a strong presence that it has the power to unite people almost on the same wavelength of what tracks like “Levels” (Avicii) and “Save the World” (SHM) have done for EDM. Sure, say you “hate” hearing Levels and that its a blasphemy of EDM, but no matter what you say, it brings attention to the microcosm that we live in, that doesn’t get much exposure outside of our community. Matthew Koma’s addition to this album will undoubtably be played throughout the winter by big acts all over the world, and will have the broceans of fans waving in harmony together.
“Lost at Sea” features the vocals of One Republic’s Ryan Tedder and a catchy, more pop sounding track that one might expect to hear on a national syndicated radio show. An uplifting melody and piano elements create a “get stuck in your head” sort of track, and will no doubt be a part of the mainstream sometime in the near future.
The title track of the album “Clarity” features the undeniably hypnotizing additions of Foxes’ lyrics. In Foxes’ fashion, this could be one of the largest tracks of the album, as its sure to draw producers from all skill levels and backgrounds to dabble in a remix attempt. This is far and away my personal favorite off the album, as the synth layer is hard but so subtly placed that it almost goes unnoticed, which for me is the defining element of Zedd’s productions, past and present.
“Codec” is a track that interests me so much because of the wide variety of elements not usually incorporated by Zedd in the track, it marks a sort of progression in his productions. The track’s incorporation of string sections, mini vocal stems, and heavily compressed bass aren’t usually ingredients in Zedd’s recipe for success.
“Stache” is the perfect example of why some people consider Zedd’s syle to be “progressive house” instead of electro because of its trancy (and some would say repetitive side). The mere fact that someone might describe this as “robot rave” music has me hooked, but it makes me wonder, is this one of the troll “S” tracks (Zedd likes to name a lot of his tracks “S” words) with the mustache and shaving past?
“Fall Into the Sky” deserves respect before even being played with the likes of Lucky Date and Ellie Goulding lending their craft to the success of this track. Taking a turn in a different direction, this harder techno and wobbly bassed track is different than most of Zedd’s past releases, which may be a result of the electro-driven producer Lucky Date’s hand in this one.
For me the track “Follow You Down” is not a favorite from the album that I might recommend to someone listening to Zedd for the first time. Although featuring beautifully sang lyrics from Bright Lights, the track is missing that element that draws me. It’s almost reminiscent of some older Deadma5 works, yet without that epic loop that we find in most of his track, which is the key to unlocking our melting EDM hearts.
Technically “Epos” means a conjoining of united poems that work together to define a wholeness, which not only defines the track title, but the style as well. It’s a perfect way to sum up and close out the album as a culmination of Zedd’s efforts. He mixes his signature basslines and shave-snares, with progressive and trancy loops that have the genre purists scratching their head to define this masterpiece.
All-in-all, I’d say that Zedd’s “Clarity” album will experience a wild amount of success and be ground-breaking for not only his career, but for the EDM community as a whole. There are numerous powerful tracks that are capable of going mainstream and drawing commercial attention to the electronic world, which would pave a way for the future. In addition, the borders that definitions of genres will be somewhat broken down as its difficult to force some of these works into strict borders. In my opinion, it furthers electronic music in a positive light; it should unite people who have tastebuds for distinct sounds and should catapult EDM further into the public spotlight.