Hailing from Halden, a small Norwegian town with a population of just 29,000 “who gets every trend five years later,” Magnus August Høiberg’s background might not have been the obvious starting point for a career in boundary-pushing dance music. And yet under the guise of Cashmere Cat, he has now joined the likes of Hudson Mohawke, Rustie and Submerse at the forefront of a new weird and wonderful hybrid of glitchy electro, hip-hop and turn-of-the-century R&B.
Previously known as DJ Final, the 26-year-old Høiberg began his career as a turntablist and competed for his homeland four times at the DMC World DJ Championships. But after becoming disillusioned with the way in which the technical aspects started to overrule musical ability, he gave up the decks and decided to switch his focus to writing and recording his own tunes as Cashmere Cat instead.
2012’s debut EP Mirror Maru proved he was as adept at creating records as he was spinning them. But it was a slew of remixes for the likes of Lana Del Rey (“National Anthem”), Jeremih (“773 Love”) and 2 Chainz (“No Love”) that first earmarked Cashmere Cat as the next big thing, with the latter given the title of “#1 Awesome Genre-Bender of the Year” by Vibe magazine.
Since then, Høiberg has relocated to Manhattan, where he’s worked on material with Rihanna producer Benny Blanco and witch house maestro Holy Other and maintained his early buzz with one-off single “Aurora.” This month sees the release of his eagerly-awaited second EP Wedding Bells, a perfectly-crafted four-track collection which throws everything from Ludovico Einaudi-esque piano lines to ghostly pitch-shifted vocal samples to warped proggy synths into one dynamic and unexpectedly emotive mix.
However, his big mainstream breakthrough seems more likely to occur with an entirely unlikely collaboration. Indeed, “Party Girls,” a stoner R&B jam featuring Ludacris and Wiz Khalifa which samples none other than Aqua’s novelty hit “Barbie Girl,” sounds indescribably awful on paper. But it’s a testament to Cashmere Cat’s production skills that the track manages to sound not just listenable, but genuinely enjoyable too.