The Rise of Bass Music
April 12, 2017
April 12, 2017
In retrospect, Cashmere Cat’s 2012 debut, “Mirror Maru,” single-handedly fleshed out the aesthetic that Norwegian producer Magnus Høiberg would become famous for. Elegant and pristine, his take on hip-hop is easy to like, but it’s less obvious how he managed to propel himself into the ranks of EDM stars. There are no big drops in his tracks—in fact, many of them turn inward just when you think they’re about to explode. Maybe his ream of R&B and rap remixes could explain it, but two years later he finally drops his second EP, this time for LuckyMe.
Høiberg’s sounds feel like they’re in a vacuum chamber, with precious little reverb to give them a natural feel, even with the lifelike timbres he prefers. He stretches his wordless vocal samples to breaking point. The effect is disorienting and queasy—on “Pearls,” the layered high-and-low voices sound like something from a horror movie, in complete contrast to the fanfare of flutes and brass around it.
In spite of these weird touches, Wedding Bells has an air of opulence. The title track is all celebratory instruments and huge bells, while “Rice Rain” pairs its harps and woodwinds with disarmingly big drums and basslines. But most of the attention is sure to centre on the A-side. Like “Mirror Maru” before it, “With Me” starts with the kind of piano you’d expect to open a Kate Bush ballad, until a growling bassline takes over to push the tune along. For a brief moment it bursts into glorious revelry, until dipping back into its insular cubbyhole. Despite his mainstream flirtations, Cashmere Cat is more about delaying pleasure than instant gratification.