By Cole Parker
Cashmere Cat (née Magnus Høiberg) is a Norwegian producer who has specialized in weird sounds in pop music. On his debut album, 9, Høiberg recruits all his big name friends and collaborators (MØ, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd). Only one track is instrumental. Unlike most producer-billed output though, 9 is not a curated showcase of pop stars over the producer’s music. Instead, Cashmere Cat succeeds in turning these Billboard Top 40 mainstays into instruments and extensions of his own wonky soundscapes.
This is not the only he breaks away from the mold with 9. He frequently baits his listener with tense builds, of rapid-fire beats and increasing key shifts, leading the listener to expect a clichéd “drop.” Instead, he forgoes it and builds towards a soft cloud of blissful melody and strange percussive sounds you can rest your head on.
That relaxed atmosphere runs through the whole record, and the few exceptions are abrasive rather than poppy pandering.
9 is not an EDM album because you can’t dance to it. It isn’t a pop album; its song structure, sounds and style are too off kilter for that. It’s also not experimental, as these are the same sounds Cashmere Cat and his imitators have been playing with since his Mirror Maru EP in 2012, just refined through experience and the star quality of his collaborators. What 9 is, is an excellent debut album from a producer who will continue to be at the centre of pop and mainstream electronic’s future.9, Ariana Grande, Cashmere Cat, Interscope Records, mo, Record Review, The Weeknd