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Producer Cashmere Cat Brought 'Wolves' Back To Kanye's Hometown

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 4, 2015 4:00PM

Photo: Jasmine Safaeian/Photo via Cashmere Cat's Facebook page

Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat embraced noted Chicago juke pioneer DJ Spinn Monday night just before his headlining set at Lincoln Hall. (Cat then rejoined his tour with Ariana Grande at Allstate Arena.) Last month we learned Cat's production is featured on Kanye West's forthcoming album when the rapper debuted "Wolves" on Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary special.

The life of a DJ/producer is, as we say in 2015, so random.

Unlike many of today's rock star producers, Cashmere Cat seems to shy away from the spotlight, as his completely wordless set Monday night would suggest. His songs don't contain the same infectious, sunny-day choruses that dominate festivals. In fact, he seems unable to escape the sound of sadness that only a minor key can evoke. Pianos, harps and other percussive string sounds fill most of his melody lines. It's no surprise Cashmere Cat is gaining praise for a different approach to contemporary dance music. However, the continued growth of his mainstream success, rather than underground recognition, is a little puzzling.

This is likely due to his ability to give Rihanna or Justin Timberlake singles his signature octave-jumping remix in his live sets as he did liberally last night. It's likely due to his alignment with stars like West and Grande. It could be many things but last night's sold out crowd didn't seem as concerned with deciphering what the scraggly blond's appeal is as much as they were with 90 minutes of uninterrupted dancing.

Of course there was an added anticipation to hear Cat's live spin on "Wolves." To our knowledge, this was the first time the song has been played in Chicago by any of the four most prominent artists involved (West, Cashmere Cat, Sia and Vic Mensa).

It's no surprise West tapped Cashmere Cat for production. The two artists share a similar love for the extensive manipulation of raw sounds and dark twists on traditional pop music. As So Help Me God looms, we look forward to learning if it houses additional collaborations from the pair.