Release Date: Sep 10, 2013
Record label: Ultra
Genre(s): House, Club/Dance, EDM
The big pre-release bullet point dealt out for Kaskade's 2013 effort Atmosphere was that the house/EDM producer was "experimenting with classical music" and that this one was certifiably "eclectic. " By EDM standards, this up, down, up again, etc. album makes the latter point true, but the "classical" part is an oversell, as the plush "No One Knows Who We Are" is filled with strings, but it's more Montovani or Mancini than Mozart, and all the other organic or academic moments of the album are equally soundtrack-like.
The word atmosphere evokes a snapshot of beautiful multicolored clouds of gases suspended by gravity. Envision an accompanying soundtrack to complement that vivid portrait, and the ideal musical representation includes gentle, more delicate sounds. The timbre is describable as celestial, mellow, and bright. Kaskade’s 2013 album, Atmosphere, matches those aforementioned depictions.
Over the last decade, Kaskade (aka Ryan Raddon) has gone from being a San Francisco deep house producer with a knack for pop melodies to one of the world's biggest EDM superstars. On Atmosphere, Raddon tries to reconcile his stadium status with his underground roots, but the results are confusing. It's rare to hate one half of an album so much while genuinely enjoying the other.
Kaskade (a.k.a. Ryan Raddon, DJ-producer) is a 42-year-old dance-music veteran in an EDM moment rampant with raging teenage converts, and a practicing Mormon in a traditionally drug-fueled scene. No wonder the music on his eighth album would try to incorporate opposites, fusing big gulps of arena-ready whoosh (dude headlined the Staples Center) with more refined textures that reflect his roots in San Francisco's deep house scene.
Since his most recent double-album “Fire & Ice,” Kaskade has become shorthand for the arrival of stadium-sized EDM shows in America. After a decade honing his pointedly emotional, populist sound, he was the first dance act to headline Staples Center, and topped bills at most of the major EDM fests in America. That’s been great for his career -- but what does becoming a genre figurehead mean for your actual music? On “Atmosphere,” it means getting more musical -- some of these tracks barely flirt with dance beats at all.