Album Review: Kaskade’s ‘Atmosphere’
Good news for “freaks” everywhere, Kaskade’s new album Atmosphere officially dropped today, and to no surprise it’s already reached #6 on iTunes’ Top Albums.
Like his former album Fire & Ice, Ryan Raddon, better known as Kaskade, succeeded in creating an eclectic arrangement of tracks that follow no specific genre guidelines. From big room progressive house, to deep house, to minimal instrumental, Kaskade proves that he really can do it all.
“Why Ask Why” features the members of Kaskade’s side-project, Late Night Alumni, who will also be touring with Kaskade this year as he promotes the new album. For those who aren’t familiar with Late Night Alumni, they put on one hell of a live down-tempo electronic show with Becky Jean Williams as lead vocalist. Check it out here.
Kaskade’s Atmosphere mix of “No One Knows Who We Are” incorporates a full string orchestra, similar to the Ice version of “Room for Happiness,” that is ridiculously beautiful.
“Take Your Mind Off” puts a really tight xylophone spin on what could otherwise be considered elevator music. I can imagine myself mindlessly spinning off into my own Kaskade-induced trance if I ever heard this track live. And because who doesn’t like a good (and long) Kaskade-induced trance, the following track “Floating” keeps me right on in it. Also, allow me to give a very warm welcome back to Haley Gibby, who lends her angelic pipes for the vocals on this track. I swear this chick is superhuman. I mean, come on–“I Remember,” “Move For Me,” “Dynasty”–people’s voices just don’t sound like that.
Kaskade takes it back to his It’s You, It’s Me deep house roots with “How It Is.” Somehow the melancholy vibe of this track still manages to make me happy while listening to it. Ironically, I’ll use the first verse to explain this paradox: “I know not why, I know not how, how it is, yet it is. No mysteries solved, equation found, to explain, this feeling inside.”
What I, and I’m assuming most fans, admire most about Kaskade’s music is his beautifully poetic lyrics, and I was really hoping for some new tracks to add to the likes of “I Remember,” “4am,” “Falling in Love with Brazil,” or “Room for Happiness,” but none of these tracks really take it to that level, lyrically. Oddly enough, the tracks I dig the most on this album are those without lyrics at all.
Kaskade lets his minimalistic side run wild on “MIA to LAS,” “LAX to JFK,” and “SFO to ORD” and they couldn’t be more sick. “LAX to JFK” incorporates a funky horn effect similar to the Julio Bashmore classic “Everyone Needs a Theme Tune,” and I could listen to it over and over. As a matter of fact, I have been listening to it over and over. Not to mention, the airport-themed titles of these tracks lead me to believe he created them on the fly (literally), and for that, you’ve gotta give mad props.
It’s been over two years since Kaskade released his Grammy-nominated album Fire & Ice, and after listening to the new album at length (many times), I can officially confess that, sadly, I don’t quite think it measures up. Don’t get me wrong, as a true “freak” and proud, I don’t think there is one song from Kaskade’s discography that I would “next” on my iTunes shuffle (OK, maybe “Eyes,” but only because I truly overdid it), and the same goes with this album; but lyrically and spiritually, it really has yet to capture my full Kaskade-krazy attention.