We are living in the age of the producer, and Cashmere Cat isn’t wasting a second of it.
On stage at a sold-out Paradise Rock Club on Friday night, the Norwegian DJ-producer seemed to relish the moment in his own subdued way. His wispy blond hair bursting from underneath a black cap, bouncing on his shoulders as he tweaked and pulled knobs on his equipment, he moved the crowd from bubbling anticipation to full-on bass-drop frenzy and back again like an expert driver shifting precisely through the gears.
In effect, the artist, born Magnus Hoiberg, has been one of the driving forces in pop music over the past year, even though he may still not have the name recognition one might expect for someone with such influence. However, his collaborators should ring a bell: Kanye West (“Wolves,” with Sinjin Hawke), Ariana Grande (the instant smash “Adore”), Tinashe (“All Hands on Deck”), and Ty Dolla $ign (“Drop That Kitty”) have all called on Cat for his unique sound, a pulsing gumbo of EDM, trap, glossy futuristic R&B, and bass music.
Those elements converged into a fluid and seamless mix on Friday, offering the requisite fuel for the crowd to turn-up to. Hands, a few of them gloved with blinking rainbow colored lights, went up for bombastic edits of Ludacris and Wiz Khalifa’s “Party Girls” (produced by Cashmere) and Chief Keef’s “Tony Montana,” the latter’s voice slurring over a muscular synth pump.
Yet Cashmere’s own productions showed a more sophisticated palette than someone listening to “Party Girls” might assume. He cued up his instrumental solo cut “With Me” at least three different times, weaving it seamlessly in and out of the mix, each turn emphasizing different textures; tribal drums rumbling, cascading bells, a woozy vocal sample coiled up and then released. He slowed down Miguel’s “Do You. . . ” to isolate its aching refrain into a seductive plea, until the lyrics (“Do you like drugs?”) demanded the audience to sing along in affirmation, at which point they were duly rewarded with the bass kicking in.
Out of the opening acts, Durkin measured up closest to the headliner. The Boston DJ-producer showed his eclectic taste for electronic music with some clever live edits, including a beefy trap version of Seal’s “Kissed by a Rose.” When DJ Slink followed with a set packed with sloshy club bangers, it felt slightly outdated in comparison.