Zedd's Clarity presents clear message

Electronic dance music debut album satisfies with unified themes and fulfilling beats

Christa Hester Nov 5, 2012

If you’re into the electronic dance music (EDM) scene, then surely you’ve listened to Zedd’s new album, Clarity. If you don’t know what all the fuss is about concerning EDM, then get to an iTunes store and check this album out.

If you’re just starting to dip your toes into this music scene, Anton Zaslavski — better known by his stage name Zedd — is a good place to start. The 23-year-old Russian-German music producer and DJ has a crisp, clean sound that still manages to hit those deep, reverberating bass notes that are oh-so satisfying.

Zedd’s debut album Clarity was released in early October through Interscope Records. Before releasing the album, Zedd released singles through OWSLA, Skrillex’s record label, and went on worldwide tours with Porter Robinson, Lady Gaga, and others.

After releasing great singles like “Shave It” and “Stars Come Out” — as well as making sick remixes for the likes of Fatboy Slim, The Black Eyed Peas, Wolfgang Gartner, and Swedish House Mafia — it’s about time that this rising star released his own album.

Clarity is unique in its coherent message. It’s an actual album, with a flow and a consistent theme that’s hard to find in a world full of EDM singles and LPs. Many EDM artists have a hard time creating albums, since often they don’t need to release albums as long as they’re coming out with singles and booking tour dates.

But if you listen to Clarity in order, from “Hourglass” to “Epos,” it becomes clear that Zedd was aiming to create a specific musical experience in those 45 minutes. By the end of the album, you feel as if you’ve listened to one of his live sets, not 10 different songs.

“Hourglass,” which incorporates the sounds of clocks ticking, imperceptibly flows into the next song, “Shave It Up.” Many of the songs — “Codec,” “Stache,” and “Epos” in particular — have Zedd’s signature bass timbres, making the sound crisp, gnarly, and satisfying.

Two especially grooving house tunes that appear back-to-back on the album are “Fall Into Sky” featuring Ellie Goulding and “Follow You Down” featuring Bright Lights. The vocals and subject matter of the lyrics make the two songs flow together almost seamlessly.

Zedd’s lead singles, “Spectrum” and “Clarity,” do a good job of representing the feel of the album as a whole. “Spectrum,” lauded as Zedd’s best work when it came out over the summer, is a beautiful song with great lyrics and spectacular beats. The version of “Spectrum” in the album is shortened, but the extended version is available on iTunes.

Zedd stands apart from many EDM DJs because of his origins: He’s a classically trained musician who started playing the piano and drums at age four. Take that, Justin Bieber.

Making a good EDM album is hard work, but with Zedd’s classical training, he’s managed to create something worthwhile in Clarity.