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Album Review: Atmosphere
Kaskade releases album today on iTunes from Ultra Music

We’ve been waiting for this day to come for months, perhaps even longer. But, alas, after an entire season of teasers, interviews, and questions left unanswered (or perhaps only partially so), Kaskade’s newest production, Atmosphere, is finally ready for the public to listen to and adore.

Over  the summer Ryan Raddon, aka Kaskade, told inthemix about the album, “I think it has a little bit of everything; it’s very diverse. If I was to squash Fire & Ice into a single rather than a double album, it might have sounded like this.” Listening to Atmosphere, we agree that this couldn’t be closer to the truth. This album is not only a manifestation of his amplitude as a producer, but also his resourcefulness, passion, and ability to turn everything he touches into pure gold. Each track is it's own story within one large, underlying one that shares  the more intimate aspects of Kaskade’s life --from the beginning of his career, up until now. Atmosphere is familiar in that it delineates his signature sound, but it is also foreign as it combines the past with the present. In other words, he elegantly intertwines his deep house roots with his more current, progressive sounds. But he does so in a way that allows for dissimilar sounds to complement one another, rather than clash. Myriad styles are housed under one roof, but for some reason it couldn’t feel more right.

Kaskade showcased “Last Chance,” “Atmosphere,” “Feeling The Night,” and “No One Knows Who We Are” at Ultra Music Festival back in March, so if you listened to his set as many times as we have, these tracks are already recognizable. Yet the album version of “No One Knows Who We Are” is much sadder than what he presented at Ultra. It relies heavily on the piano and Lights’ soothing vocals, and gives listeners sentiments of desolation, which fits quite well with the lyrics. This is the type of track you could cry to, simply because its lyrics are so raw and it contains the most exquisite combination of piano, vocals, violin, and cello. It’s rare to see such a diverse mixture of instrumentals in a dance music album, but Kaskade’s technique and complete understanding of the instruments’ different sounds are on point.

“Last Chance,” “Atmosphere,” and “Feeling The Night” each contain the big room sound for which Kaskade is famous. However, they also are founded upon vocals that literally cradle your ears as you listen to them. “This is my one last chance to breathe” resounds beneath a harmony of synths, encouraging listeners to sing along and embrace the verse. “Feeling The Night” is vaguely reminiscent of “One Heart,” as he once again bears the phrase in this track. Containing a more elated buildup and giving off the impression of feeling infinite, this track is on par with “Atmosphere” in terms of feeling. This is the first time he has ever sang in his own productions, and “Atmosphere” provides the backbone for the remainder of the album. This exemplary track exhibits the various sounds we hear throughout, from fragile piano keys to heavier synths.

“Why Ask Why” and “Floating” are similar to tracks we heard in Fire and Ice in 2011. In Atmosphere, Kaskade brought in fellow members of Late Night Alumni and Haley, respectively, to produce tracks that bring tranquility to listeners. Both still have the electronic dance music feel, but are much smoother and more relaxed than most dance tracks. “Floating” is a lullaby more than anything, perhaps a track to listen to while doing yoga or getting pampered at a spa. Haley’s majestic vocals create placidity and unity with the listener while bringing back fond memories of tracks like “Don’t Stop Dancing” and “Dynasty.”

“MIA to LAS,”SFO To ORD,” and "LAX to JFK,” are three airport tracks, which Kaskade actually produced while flying from each respective city to another. This is where the bulk of his deep house sounds congregate, almost tribal in nature. We can envision the first two being played at an upscale hotel lobby or by the poolside as you sip a fruity cocktail and absorb some nice, tropical rays. “LAX To JFK” is slightly darker and sexier, which we can already hear in a trendy lounge as people sip their drinks and mingle.

The album entails a few other gems such as “Something Something,” “Missing You,”Take Your Mind Off,” “How It Is,” and “Atmosphere (Kaskade’s Redux Mix).” Atmosphere would feel incomplete without these records, as they help enhance the feel that Kaskade wants fans to gather from his album. Currently at #6 on iTunes, it possesses an average rating of 5 stars. Let the stars speak for themselves. Every album that he has ever released is extraordinary, but Atmosphere surpasses any production he has come out with thus far. We’ve never witnessed emotion and attention to detail in such magnitude, nor have we seen an artist successfully blend contrasting sounds into one album with such precision. Atmosphere is unlike any other, and we highly recommend you indulge in the lusciousness that Kaskade has cooked up for us. 

Buy Atmosphere here