Kaskade, deadmau5 build on historic legacy with Kx5’s powerful debut album
Just over a year after the musical introduction of Kx5, Kaskade and deadmau5 have brought the project full circle. Their debut release was none other than Dancing Astronaut co-2022 Track of the Year, and the momentum for the project following “Escape” with Hayla has done nothing but continue to accelerate in the time since. Released jointly via Arkade and mau5trap, Kx5’s self-titled LP sees four brand new tracks go along with the six singles that were dispersed throughout the previous calendar.
Kx5’s roots date back 15 years to Kaskade and deadmau5’s first collaborative effort in 2008, “I Remember.” With the incredibly subtle teaser of their new joint project at the end of Kaskade’s sold-out show at SoFi Stadium in July of 2021, the foundation for Kx5 had begun to be laid for a more formal union between two of the biggest names in dance music. A trio of previous collaborations—including the aforementioned Haley Gibby pairing, “Move For Me,” and “Beneath With Me” alongside Skylar Grey—have gone on to become seminal parts of each others discography. To properly follow up any of those three tracks on their own—no less all three in totality—served as a tall task even for two of the most revered producers in the game. But the music that followed not only reaffirms them in that rarified air, but further elevates the legacy they’ll leave behind when it’s all said and done.
Kx5 is a beautiful blend of eras both new and old. Elements of both Kaskade and deadmau5’s signature progressive sound blend with house and techno across the album’s entire track list. Kx5 isn’t an album that plays it safe by any stretch of the imagination, and after listening to the full body of work from top to bottom, it’s clear that its risk-reward upside is fulfilled. Tracks like “Escape” come as a present-day version of collaborations past, a perfect entry point for listeners yearning for that nostalgic late-2000s sound. And then there’s other previously released singles like “Avalanche,” “Take Me High,” “Sacrifice” that lean heavily into modern techno, serving as much more grittier cuts than some of the progressive joint efforts put out by the duo in years past. And other digested singles like “Alive” with The Moth & The Flame on top of “When I Talk” with Elderbrook take Kx5’s approach into a more melodic pathway.
As for the four new Kx5 cuts—”Bright Lights” with AR/CO, “pwdr Blu” with Brother., “Eat Sleep” with Richard Walters, and “Unobsidia,” one of Kx5’s two album solo cuts—do justice to the ever-expanding sonic universe of Kaskade and deadmau5’s two-headed alias, rounding out the album’s 10-track tally as welcome conclusions on what can only be described as an already flawless tracklist.
Kx5 will receive its first post-release play just over a week following its arrival, with Kaskade and deadmau5 slated to close out Ultra’s 2023 edition with a live stage slot on March 26, marking the first major appearance for the alias since their record-breaking show at the Los Angles Memorial Coliseum in December, where 50,000 attendees were given more than a glimpse into what was to come. That evening—along with their formal live debut at EDC Las Vegas in May of 2022—serve as their lone formal live shows to date as Kx5 and they’re now primed to take over the festival circuit for a raucous 2023 season on the heels of what’s sure to be brought up as one of the year’s best and most influential albums when the conversation arises come December.
Featured image: Gina Joy