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Truly a distinction
on November 30, 2011
If I could only find another piece of art that paints a perfect picture of the distinction between fire and ice in expressive form than Kaskade does, then I'd say there is one better than his new album. On October 25th, 2011, American Producer/DJ Kaskade released his seventh album in the United States, "Fire & Ice" which debuted #1 on Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums, for obvious reasons. Kaskade's recent success in the music industry, specifically in the House/Electro House genre, can by no means be deemed undeserved.
This album was structured in order to provide a distinction between the musical influences that Kaskade uses to define what this "Fire" of his must be as opposed to what "Ice" must be. He provides 10 tracks in the first part of the album, the Fire side, and another ten on his Ice mix. Both sides of the album have the same track titles with the respective artists featured, however, the 2nd side of the album holds the ICE version of the track, which is simply the self-remixed version of the original track (found on the Fire side/1st side). By doing this, Kaskade looks to give you the high tempo, deeper bass types of songs meant for keeping a dance party going, while having the more trance-like beats with slower tempo, and in essence, more chilled vibes.
Kaskade's album includes two chart-topping singles, "Eyes" and "Turn It Down", which are accompanied by Mandy Glendhill and Rebecca & Fiona (vocal artists) respectively. Both of these songs include impressive vocals able to bring out whatever emotion Kaskade aimed for his listeners to feel, no matter who the listener. Kaskade uses vocals along with sensational melodies created through a well-put-together array of synthesized sounds: from deep synth bass to elektronische-type sounds (with "Lick It"); a variety of electronic instruments. As I had attended Identity Music Festival in Bristow, VA, I can speak first hand for his success in integrating the crowd with these two tunes, with the help of lights to accompany the mostly 120 beats per second songs, almost a desirably overwhelming amplification of music representation. In "Lick It", which features famous dubstep artist Skrillex, he mixed dubstep with electro house to form a three genre hybrid destined to go down in electronic music record books.
In the ICE side of the track, Kaskade uses mostly a tempo of 90 BPM, accompanied with less synthesized sounds in the track to produce a softer song that could almost put you to sleep, happy. By applying less sounds into the track, he is able to amplify each synthesized beat to put stress on the type of sound he aims for you to hear. For example, in "Eyes ICE version", he makes this heart-pounding dance beat into a slowed-down trance song that you'd expect to hear in a lounge. This emphasizes Mandy's vocals, putting stress on her lyrics, giving a similar vibe one would attain from a Rhythm and Bass song where the words are more important, rather than the beat (like in most Electronic music). Most of the songs in the ICE section follow a similar, almost non-consistent sequence just like that found in Wendy Carlos' Switched-on Bach, with different tempos used at different parts of the song, also different elements used at different times (vocals not being played the whole time). The ICE version offers almost completely different versions to the original tracks, making the remixed version almost unrecognizable if it were needed to be compared to the original.
Kaskade completely captures the elements of fire and ice with his musical representation. He does a successful job of making each track unique in its own way, while still keeping the theme of Fire and Ice for each track, completely seen in the way the listeners react to the beat. He has shown the significant advancement in electronic music and computer music (from the good old Bell Lab days) in general, as he applies sounds from all the different genres out there to make a unique style of electro