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  • Cy White

The Alchemist: This Thing of Ours

What can one say about The Alchemist that hasn't already been said or doesn't devolve into hyperbole or just plain fanning out? The prolific producer/DJ takes his penchant for the slanted and slightly out of focus and lets it loose on the heavy jazz of labels like the legendary Blue Note with his EP This Thing Of Ours.

Even the album cover speaks to a jazz drenched in blues and muted yellows. The Alchemist makes music that speaks in colors, dances among the colors of a rainbow. While a bit purple (I openly admit and don't apologize for), it's not exactly exaggeration. I wouldn't be surprised if Alchemist didn't have at least a mild case of synesthesia. It seems like he just understands everything in different colors as opposed to words or feelings or images.

It's almost a moot point talking about the revelation of his musical prowess. Focusing on the features on this EP, they too seem to have a bit of blues in them. A darker edge to the words that matches tone with Alchemist's heavy musical choices. Lyrically, I won't speak too much on the content. It's not always interesting (especially considering the musical environment they're housed in), but there are moments of lyrical perfection that can't be ignored. Earl Sweatshirt, an artist who oftentimes gets sidestepped in lieu of his comrade in Odd Future Tyler, the Creator or his extended family in The Internet. His wordplay is undeniable and eerily uncanny. His contribution, "Loose Change," is just so powerful that it almost blows the entire EP wide open. Of the features, this is the only one that matches pace, intention and power with Alchemist's renegade production. They're a match made in the freakily awesome concentric rings of heaven's angels. I dissected one section of his lyricism and was so utterly blown away I actually got angry. Ridiculous, a little sad, but nevertheless 100% true.

While I was over the moon for Earl Sweatshirt's verse, I am thankful that Alchemist gave us the blessing of the unblemished instrumentals. Their addition at the end is another layer of poignancy to the EP. Another means for us to really immerse ourselves in the musical landscape. It's as if the first half was meant to highlight how lyric and music can intertwine to create something cinematic. The latter half was created to allow us to really follow the thread of the cinematic score. Experiencing the same film on two layers: performance and then overall landscape.

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