Automatic Kaskade Warner
American DJ-producer Kaskade has had no qualms about hitching his musical wagon to the meteoric rise of electronic dance music.
Known early in his career for vocal deep house classics such as It’s You It’s Me, showcased on San Francisco’s OM Records, subsequent major label deals with Ultra and Warner have seen Ryan Raddon move towards a more synth-heavy, pop-tinged electronic sound. His ninth album and follow-up to 2013’s Atmosphere is aimed predominantly at the festival, stadium and Las Vegas megaclub set where he’s most relevant today.
While there are a few quality house tunes reminiscent of the producer’s earlier output scattered throughout, they’re overshadowed by main-stage offerings marked by big builds, ferocious drops, sugary vocals and not much between. Opener We Don’t Stop is notable mostly for Raddon’s own uplifting vocal, which takes poll position among building drums, eerie strings and a meandering synth. Mercy is perhaps most demonstrative of the EDM leanings of much of Automatic.
More enjoyable are tracks where Raddon channels his house roots. Day Trippin is an album standout, a sunny and melodic, piano-led house bumper, made all the more appealing through the vocal of British Grammy winner Estelle.
There’s no denying Kaskade’s talent; multiple Grammy nominations speak volumes about what he has accomplished. One wonders, however, how much of Automatic will have relevance 10 years from now. It’s an album very much for the now.