Zedd – Clarity (Album Review)

Posted by on October 2, 2012

German Anton Zaslavski, better known to the music world as Zedd has started off this October flush with album releases with his debut 10 track album “Clarity”. Zedd has been hailed as one the big innovators of complextro and creating his own unique niche within the EDM scene. With this album we see him depart from that a bit and move to what we had seen in the infallible June release “Spectrum” with Matthew Koma. The album features two tracks that we are already familiar with, “Spectrum” and “Shave It”, which we will see its grinding synth line in other tracks on the album including, fittingly “Stache”, “Epos” and vaguely in the opening track “Hourglass”. Artist albums recently have become a place to showcase new and old singles with additional tracks that have a tendency to not be as good as the singles. Zedd breaks that trend and keeps keeps much of his best work for the grand finale with 80% of the album being totally new and only “Shave It” being “old”.

The album is ripe with high profile vocalists from One Reupblic’s Ryan Tedder, known in the Dance Music community for his work on “Calling (Lose My Mind)”, Ellie Goulding (no doubt Skrillex hooked that up), Heather Bright who has worked with Laidback Luke and Savoy. The high proportion of vocalists is a marked and welcome change in Zedd’s sound, as it gives some of the more melodic tracks on the album more texture and a more balanced sound. “Lost At Sea” with Ryan Tedder combines Daft Punk influences with an infectious, uplifting melody and a euphoric topline, carried by Ryan Tedder and aided by a rising piano motif. The next track “Clarity” featuring the Foxes on vocals and Porter Robinson & Matthew Koma aiding in the writing, fits perfectly as the title track, taking the gorgeous melody and layering it over a subtle grinding synth line gives us the hint of we have always known from Zedd. Look for these two to become hits.

The album showcases not only Zedd’s exploration as an artist towards a more melodic sound, but also dabbles with a whole variety of different sounds and styles. “Stache” is a prime example of this with its fast paced melody and then acid infused drop that throws off all expectations, which is what Zedd is going to give you. Yes some of the tracks on the album seem to fit into more of a formulaic progressive style, but it goes deeper than that. Whether it is adding a unique vocal sample or switching up the tempo of the bass line, Zedd has found a way to make these tracks stand out. He will toss curveballs at you like he does as the end of “Epos”, forcing you to stay on your toes the entire time with album.

We could have seen a little more on “Fall Into The Sky” as it seems to that lack that unique Zedd touch, leaving a somewhat generic melody to carry the track. You may have to listen to the album 3,4 or 5 times to really appreciate the work, but the subtle complexities pieced together by Zedd are layered all throughout this 10 piece treasure. Like “Levels,” which received a “thank you” from Zedd in the album’s liner notes, expect this album to make a lasting impression on Dance Music, reviving the much maligned artist album.

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