Favorite ThisEnergy Alchemist: A Moment of Clarity Review

Published: April 9, 2012
By: Kerry McNeil

From the hills of Mendocino County, CA, Energy Alchemist has released its first full-length album on Beatport. Full of glitchy dubstep, heavy basslines, and even a touch of reggae-inspired melodies, A Moment of Clarity is an LP the group describes as “musical gold,” which makes sense for a band of alchemists. After listening to A Moment of Clarity, It’s not difficult to see what members Bill Hankins, Tommy Shannon, and Jared Gordon mean by gold—and clearly contributors Top Shelf, Selector Science, Kiran Music Project, and Dove from Black Rock City Allstars saw it, too. With such a large number of hands crafting this album, the raw energy was certainly there to create the alchemy that the group seeks.
 
Starting with “What Is,” Energy Alchemist quickly dives into a heavy, pulsing bassline and triumphant sirens. Spurts of sparkling synths give the track a spacey feel, as do a dose of wobble and a smattering of fast-paced drums.
 
Balancing grinding wobbles against a bouncing reggae guitar melody, Energy Alchemist meshes two very different sounds on tracks like “Hollow,” and “Freq of Nature.” “Hollow,” even employs a few vocal samples such as, “The wobble is one manifestation that many people have noticed. They don’t know what to make of it,” that then lead into—you guessed it—more harsh wobbles.
 
And by using samples from Top Shelf’s 2011 album The Sound, Energy Alchemist really ups the reggae feel on “Moonlights (Night Patrol),” “Grace Awakes,” and “We Still Burn,” with Top Shelf’s smooth vocals, making sure to contrast the smoothness with blistering glitchy wobbles, bouncing guitar melodies, and more vocal samples.
 
A driving synth melody on “Just Ask,” is accompanied by crashing bass, cymbals, and bubbling synths that lend more back to the spacey feel of “What Is,” than to the reggae feel of some of the other tracks. Similarly, “Sweatin’ Bangers,” starts with ominous strings and transitions into a glitchy melody that leans more toward the galactic vibe of earlier tracks.

Ending with “Sunburst (Kiran Notez Remix),” featuring Selector Science, Energy Alchemist brings together a simple piano melody, banging cymbals, airy synths, groaning wobbles, and many vocal samples including a very distinct ‘uh-oh.’ Balancing reggae influences and a strong love of pulsating wobbly glitch, Energy Alchemist’s debut is a great start with a host of energetic contributors. Simply put, as the group describes it on their Facebook page, “Close your eyes, open your mind, and watch the alchemy take place.”

Tags: BreaksDowntempoDrum and BassDubstepElectroGlitch