Kaskade – Atmosphere
Following the release of many albums and singles under different projects over the past 18 years and his rise to fame with the revival of American house music, Ryan Raddon, better known as Kaskade, brings us his tenth solo full-length album, with a mixture of different sounds that sees him continuing his path along the big-room house route that shot him to the top—headlining some of the biggest electronic music festivals—while simultaneously sticking to his roots in deep house. But that is where the problem lies: It seems that Raddon’s incapability of deciding which path to continue on resulted in his latest album lacking any sort of cohesion. It’s as if he is struggling to push his own boundaries and experimenting with new sounds, while also pulling himself back by catering to the commercial sound that he owes his commercial success for.
This struggle in ‘Atmosphere’ can be witnessed from the very beginning, with ‘Last Chance’ being a run-off-the-mill big-room house tune, featuring heavy drops and a generic synth line, while ‘Why Ask Why’ features a deeper bassline and an atmospheric melody, over which the airy voice of Becky Jean Williams rings serene—all building a track that is a perfect blend of Raddon’s different sounds: his solo project as Kaskade, and his side-project with Williams, as Late Night Alumni.
Following those tracks comes ‘MIA to LAS’, a purely deep house tune with groovy beats that the listeners can’t help but bob their heads to, accompanied by a soft, atmospheric bassline.
Another deep house track that stands out in the album is ‘Take Your Mind Off’, which features an ethereal xylophone melody over a thick bassline.
‘Missing You’, on the other hand, shows Raddon’s more experimental side, where he uses dynamic sounds and echoing beats to convey the atmospheric feeling of the album.
If Raddon were to completely drop from the recent path he has taken that has confined him to the fundamentally limited formula of big-room house, ‘Atmosphere’ would have been a much more creative album and enabled the producer to be more experimental. But unfortunately, the inclusion of tracks such as ‘Last Chance’ and other generic big-room compositions limit the reach of this album and prevent it from reaching its true potential.
+ Abdullah Alhomoud