60+1=1

Last night Timo and I went to a show at the Wiltern, right here in Koreatown. "Where's The Drop" - the music of Deadmau5, performed live by a 60-person orchestra.


You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger Deadmau5 fan than me, though my fandom doesn't manifest (and so cannot be measured) in any of the usual metrics. I don't own any Deadmau5 merchandise. I can't name every track on every one of his albums. I don't have his app, I don't participate in online forums or Reddit threads devoted to him, and I don't watch his Twitch streams.


But there isn't a soul on this planet who is more moved by his music than I am. To whom it means more, in ways I can't articulate. I wish I could see neural imaging of the spikes that occur in my brain when I listen to, say, "Avaritia." I wish I could screenshot them, print them out, and frame them. Some visual to evince the emotional. See, look. This is what I feel. Now you understand.

At Bonnaroo a few years ago, in the thrall of my high and while watching him unveil the cube to the glorious, glitch-techy slow burn that is "Imaginary Friends," I had one of those dumb-but-sweet thoughts that only MDMA can produce: What if by touching me - just putting his hand on my shoulder - Joel could somehow magically feel what his music does to me? A thank you could never suffice. He'd have to experience my gratitude in some visceral way, to really get it.

And yes I call him Joel sometimes.


The point here is that I have brain-swapping fantasies about a musician in a giant mouse head because that brain is, IMHO, an absolute fucking treasure. I am endlessly amazed and delighted by what comes out of it.


Which is why I was so excited for last night. I was excited for an out-and-about date with my boyfriend. I was excited to see my friends Kenny and Alfie, who we met for drinks and dinner beforehand, and to whom I gave my tickets (Timo and I hilariously, stupidly, and adorably both tried to surprise one another with tickets to the show - he sprang for better seats, so we gave mine to K and A). I was excited to wear ankle strap pumps and a L'ecole Des Femmes skirt - attendees were encourage to dress up for the concert. And oh man was I excited to hear an orchestra play the music that soundtracks a good deal of my life.


Well.


It was pretty. It was undeniably pretty. But it was so mellow - sleepy, even. And in those reimagined, string-heavy arrangements, there was nothing of His Mau5ness that I could recognize. None of what I love. None of the minimal, ruthlessly edited sound he alone has mastered (sorry, Prydz). None of the tightness and control. None of the depth, the heat, the sexiness, or the playfulness. None of what takes my breath away no matter how many times I hit repeat. It was just...pretty orchestra music.


There were sixty incredibly talented musicians onstage last night alongside Deadmau5, who himself sat at the front edge of the stage, occasionally mixing in bits of his original electronic tracks. Those were the parts of the show that electrified me, that held me erect and still in my seat. The rest of it? Passively, passably pretty. There were sixty incredibly talented musicians on that stage with him - sixty musicians too many.


I admire Joel Zimmerman's desire to challenge himself, to grow and experiment. I'm happy for him, that his talent and success have brought him to a place where he can explore new ways to move old fans.


I just hope there's still more to come of the mau5 I've come to love.