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‘9’ shines with top-notch production

Cashmere Cat’s headphone-worthy debut stuns

Fair use from Interscope Records

Fair use from Interscope Records

Isaac Wert

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After a decade of producing music professionally, Norwegian DJ and record producer Magnus Høiberg, known as Cashmere Cat, released his debut album, titled “9,” April 28.

Up until this point, Høiberg’s career evolved from DJing remixes to producing records for artists such as The Weeknd, Ariana Grande and Tory Lanez. Now, on his debut LP, these same artists are among a host of singers who contribute their vocals to Høiberg’s mesmerizing project.

Cashmere Cat’s style is rooted in electronic music, but pulls inspiration from house and dancehall genres. Høiberg’s signature sound combines real-world sounds with manipulated electronic vocals, making his production instantly identifiable and profoundly unique in the realm of contemporary electronic music.

Beyond distinctive sonics, Høiberg’s music is produced atmospherically, with sounds whirling around listeners’ heads. Noises often vary in distance and soar from the right or left of the audio space. Individuals interested in music production should wear headphones when listening to Høiberg’s music in order to fully experience the depth of its production.

“9” keeps its tracklist tight at 10 songs, all but one of which featuring guest vocals.

“Quit,” featuring Ariana Grande, is one of the strongest tracks on the album. The stunning tropical house ballad is co-written by Sia, known for her songwriting skills including her own hits – “Chandelier” and “Cheap Thrills.” Sia’s influence is present throughout the song, with Grande mimicking Sia’s signature vocal style. With the combination of Grande’s glorious vocals and Høiberg’s smooth production, Cashmere Cat succeeds at constructing a strong, commercial-friendly song without sacrificing his artistry.

“Trust Nobody,” the album’s lead single, lacked promotion and commercial success at the time of its release, yet stands as one of the best songs on the album. Høiberg’s light production pairs well with Gomez’s breathy vocals, and with a solid verse from R&B up-and-comer Tory Lanez, the record proves to be an album highlight.

The penultimate song on the album, “Love Incredible,” featuring former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, remains a third marvelous highlight. The song’s production revolves around heavy drum beats and pitched vocal and ends with an experimental outro, bringing one of the album’s many sonic masterpieces to a close.

“9’s” title track is fairly decent as well, featuring strong melody and vocals throughout. However, the song loses its appeal at its post-chorus drop, an off-putting series of atonal metallic clangs contributed by English record producer SOPHIE.

“9” doesn’t have any particularly low moments – when a track’s melody or vocals don’t shine, its production always carries the weight. A critique of the album could be its fairly meaningless lyrics, however, since production is Høiberg’s specialty and focus, a lack of poetic and meaningful lyrics is understandable.

Ultimately, “9” is an album both casual listeners and production-fanatics can appreciate, featuring a mix of commercially friendly tracks, as well as electronic, vocal-less deep cuts.

For those interested in listening, “9” is currently available on iTunes for purchase and Spotify for streaming.
“9” : 4/5

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‘9’ shines with top-notch production