It comes as little surprise that Kastle, a man who’s such an avid and exuberant pusher for music (his own, and his label’s), has just released his first full length album only a short three years after starting this musical project. With a mind-blowing flow of releases, remixes, mixtapes, and shows already in his repertoire, Kastle’s been one of the most useful and gracious advocates of the forward-thinking musical movement in the US. As many talented and unique artists as there are in the world, Kastle is one of very few who I can introduce to absolutely any one of my friends and have them fall hands-down in love with his music without failure.
Without much further ado, his self-titled album, out today on his label Symbols, is a genius piece of work that from the moment it starts to long after it ends takes your heart and your mind on an breath-taking journey that combines raw emotion with inviting melodies. With a range of talent (JMSN, Austin Paul, Reva DeVito to name a few) lending their voice to the album, the entire thing molds itself into a piece that in a sense is as timeless as the emotions it evokes.
I nearly cried listening to this album for the first time. Hell, if I hadn’t been sitting in the office I definitely would have. The album opener, “Stay Close,” is spectacularly engineered with soaring vocals from Austin Paul that embody what seems to be a repeating selfless message in Kastle’s work. As the album progresses, Kastle explores signature drum patterns, atmospheric synths, and pitch-shifts, but there’s more there: it’s an evolution. Kastle’s all grown up, and it shows. Though there’s been plenty of R&B influence in Kastle’s work, his original work with Domonique Porter & Armanni Reign on “Timeless” and newcomer Xavier on “Respiration” shines through. Tracks like “Circles” and “Into The Night” are very true-to-form Kastle tracks, styled in the way that is the reason many have come to appreciate Kastle’s production style. The album, like a good book, has its peaks and lulls, bits that you want to go over again and again, but in its entirety tells a story that will more likely be remembered as a whole versus its individual parts.
I’m sort of baffled as to how Kastle manages to make what, when it comes down to it, is ELECTRONIC music sound so insanely human. It’s raw, it’s dark, it’s heart-breaking, it’s blissful, it’s everything all at once. It’s internal – to a point where because it never once tries to be something it isn’t it ends up being relatable to anyone who listens. How do you pull off thought-provoking music with a computer and some electronic tools? Just ask Kastle.