Kaskade may be the grand exemplar of the ho-hum, euphoria-dealing dudes who monopolize electronic dance music.
Like other top DJs—including Avicii, whose debut album I review this week—he makes a fortune (about $16 million a year) by gigging almost constantly, queueing up dance hits for mobs of party people while doing expressive things with his hands. But unlike Avicii, who on True combines his beats willy-nilly (and not unsuccessfully) with other pop forms, on his tenth album Kaskade distills EDM’s ebb-and-flow pleasure-seeking down to its coolest, most frictionless essence—and enters a terminal space familiar to anyone who has stood in the lobby of a W Hotel.
EDM can claim a long lineage that includes house, disco and many other beloved club idioms, and has percolated in something like its current form for years. (Kaskade, a 42-year-old American house acolyte, has helped keep it cooking.) But EDM is all about creating the illusion that you’re living in the future—a utopia perfectly calibrated to keep lifting your spirits. And in fact, when you’re sweating through your bodypaint at a festival, it’s pretty damn effective at yanking you right into the present, which is plenty for any musical form to accomplish.
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