As a house producer who dramatically ascended from an internship at Om Records to become its A&R executive and flagship artist, Ryan "Kaskade" Raddon exemplified the San Francisco imprint's aesthetic: lightly throbbing bass, heartfelt vocals, and soft, percussive grooves. How soft, you ask? Well, one of the tracks on Here and Now
, Kaskade's new greatest-hits collection, is called "What I Say" (Soft Shuffle Mix). (He recently signed a deal with Ultra Records, so this compilation is also an epilogue.) Here and Now
captures all of his strengths and weaknesses, from the pretty and lush fluidity of "Steppin' Out" and "It's You, It's Me" to the sugary and predictable "Sweet Love" and "Samba Love." The jury is still out on whether Kaskade's music represents postmillennial deep house at its most soulful and positive or, as some critics charge, at its most soulless
. Thanks to his status as one of America's most popular dance artists, however, Here and Now
is an indispensable document of the era.