There hasn’t been an album in recent years that has surprised me as much as Cloud Nine, the debut album of Norwegian DJ and songwriter Kygo. Having risen to prominence with his single Firestone in late 2014, it is hard to believe that this is only his first album but it is well worth the wait. It captivates from the very beginning with a minimalist track Intro, full of building emotion and repetitive themes that leave you longing for more.
More is exactly what the album brings, showcasing his production talent with 14 collaborations with artists including Tom Odell, Kodaline and Labrinth. The quality persists throughout the whole album with each track bringing a different vibe but reflecting the consistency of Kygo’s technically complex but audibly pleasing style. A surprise highlight was Happy Birthday featuring John Legend, a track with a heavy piano influence and meaningful lyrics. Foxes’ contribution to the album, Oasis, showcases both her own powerful vocals and Kygo’s well-crafted backdrop, and is just one of many amazing tracks worth mentioning.
Despite falling under the house genre with its connotations of high octane dance music, Cloud Nine reflects the chilled out centre of the tropical house movement popularised by Kygo himself whilst having an almost motivational core beat. It’s fit for all situations from revision to a night out at the SU and has transformed my view of house music, which is no mean feat for someone who generally chooses to listen to 00s throwbacks and musical soundtracks.
A triumph in audio production, the only flaw I can see is the lack of tracks in the realm of Intro that are solely instrumental, but this absence only makes my heart grow fonder for the artist’s next release. If you only buy one album this summer, make sure you chill out on the beach with Cloud Nine!