Posted by Scott Willats
Last week I received Fire & Ice, the brand new double disc from bpm:tv favourite Kaskade. I know I did a quick little post when the CD was leaked, but I thought we owed it to Kaskade to give him a thorough review — after all, when he released Dynasty we were guests of honour at his party in Miami. So I took the CD, uploaded it to my PC, and sat down to give the entire double disc a listen in one sitting. Now, for someone who has severe ADD like I do, it’s hard sometimes to just listen to a full track before wanted to change it to hear another that would be good to mix it with. And to be honest, my immediate thought was: Kaskade is known for a great progressive sound, but sometimes his tracks can linger a little too long. How can I sit through it all? But it was a lot easier than expected — and now I look forward to sharing it with you.
Here’s a simple breakdown of what this album is all about: you get Kaskade’s beats, but you also get a s**t-load of features and collabs. These latter tracks all seem to reflect a strong chemistry with the featured artists, furtheringthe impression that said artists have done some tinkering of their own with the songs. Most of the time this is for the best, so it’s nothing to worry about.
The kicker is the second disc — the Ice version — which features Kaskade’s own remixes of all 10 tracks from the first disc. So if you’re listening to disc one (Fire) and you’re worried that the album isn’t sounding much like Kaskade … relax: there’s a whole other CD devoted to his distinctive touch.
Overall, this album finds Kaskade at his peak. He seems perfectly comfortable with where he is right now as an artist. Known worldwide and finally establishing a sound that he can call his own, Kaskade was clearly in top form during making of this album — and if you like what he’s done before, I have a strong feeling you’re going to like this.
Eyes – ft Mindy Gledhill: This track is that perfect opener — and with all the remixes we’re hearing now, it’s obvious that EDM fans have really embraced the song. It grows into something you knew it was always going to be. This intro lets you know what the album is going to be like, and it lives up to the hype. Mindy’s vocals on it are absolutely priceless as well. A perfect start.
Turn It Down w/Rebecca & Fiona: The perfect template of how you make a hit. The minute this song was released, I knew it was going to be the flagship track. This is the relaxed version to say the least — but it still has a great energy. “I hold my breath when I hear lies.” The lyrics give you more of an idea of what you’re going to hear throughout the album.
Lessons in Love ft. Neon Trees: Tyler Glenn is becoming a great musician, and his vocals on this track reinforce that fact. This is one of those “stand up for your rights” songs in terms of the heavy beat and dramatic chords to go along with Tyler’s emotion in the lyrics. It may be a little too poppy and predictable — but that’s why disc two is there, right?
Lick it w/Skrillex: Well, well, well … look who made the cut. Skrillex has had the most amazing year of any artist I’ve ever seen. If Deadmau5 became famous overnight, Skrillex has become famous during breakfast. The combination of the two artists really works well here — and not in the way you’re probably thinking. Sure, it has a dubstep feel and the wobbles to match, but it really sounds like Kaskade gave Skrillex a perfect template to play with and Skrillex chose to respect the track and keep simple. And with Kaskade, simple works!
Love – ft. Haley: Bam! These two are like Bonnie and Clyde together. The track starts off with a deep cutoff filter decreasing quickly, with dramatic chords bumping in the background until you hear Haley’s voice arise. To be honest, I don’t think she actually has such a great voice. But when it’s on a Kaskade track it just sounds a lot better … no, wait: a ton better. The chords and tempo seem to fit her breathy sound. And one thing she has on this song is incredible emotion. It’s a track that could be alllllllll over dancefloors in the next eight months. Expect to hear it sooooon! “Hey hey you you, one more time will get us through, turn the clock so we don’t see …” Beauty!
Let Me Go – ft. Marcus Bentley: This is my type of track. Imagine a long train ride, just staring out the window lost in thought. This is your background music. Maybe this sounds a little “can I borrow a feeling” to you — but that’s the type of vibe this track is made for. A thinker song. Not that the lyrics necessarily have anything to do with that; Marcus Bentley paints a sick story that is better to be interpreted by the individual listener. The sounds aren’t too heavy, but they aren’t exactly calm either. A ton of build-ups in this song, with one killer payoff around 3:30.
Waste Love w/Quadron: Diversity is the beauty of our world. Quadron has a very indie poet vibe, and she wouldn’t fit into a typical progressive house track … or would she? Well, she did — and with bliss. Kaskade’s production brilliance is in full evidence on this one. He has created a somewhat jazzy house track that can still be bumped at your favourite club without slowing down the down too much.
Ice w/Dada Life and Dan Black: Simply put, my fav track on the album. It has everything you could love. Dan Black is a genius that we here at bpm:tv have been talking about forever, it seems. Dada Life is one of the biggest names in EDM today, and Kaskade seems the perfect mediator to bring them together in creating an anthem. I talked it up when I first heard the leak, and I stick to my story. This is your track!
How Long w/Inpetto & Late Night Alumni: The vocals on this track are second to none. Dark, warm and sexy. However, in my opinion it’s a little too “penthouse-suite-early-40s-Disaronno-on-the-rocks-drinking sounds.” Just my opinion. I’m not quite ready to embrace this type of track; however, for many of you mature, grown and sexy folks, this song might get you pregnant!
Room for Happiness – ft. Skylar Grey: Wow, this music. The combination of Skylar and Kaskade gives it a very soundtracky sound — but with such emotion. I’m not much for interpretive dance, but this song screams for it. And to give the songs its full merit, I would gladly sit through the whole performance and give it my undivided attention. One thing that needs to be said about this album, by the way, is that the lyrics on most songs are incredible. That’s rare to find in an EDM album. “Don’t be fooled by your emptiness.”
This album, in my opinion, is one of the best EDM releases of the past 10 years, showcasing the insane diversity that our artists have achieved. Sure, he could have dropped another strictly progressive house CD and it would have sold just as much and been just as popular — but Kaskade did something I admire in my favourite producers: he challenged himself to be a great musician, and did so to great success. The man is already one of the biggest names in our genre, and still he wants to be better. That’s inspiring to producers, DJs and fans alike. He didn’t need to throw in the Ice disc, but he wanted to. He wanted to play around with more of his ideas, and give us more material to work with in the bargain. For that, I thank him!
It’s the refusal to accept complacency that defines extraordinary people in any field, and Kaskade is the perfect example. Verdict: Buy the album!