For the better part of a decade now, Austin Collins, also known by his Au5 production alias, has been dazzling listeners with a complex array of both girthy, and melodic, releases that stimulate both the heart and mind. Easily navigating the rough tides of the genre ocean between ridiculously heavy dubstep, and magesterial bass music, he’s had releases on a whole gamut of platforms, with his most recent being a collab EP in the form of Invasion with Prismatic out on Disciple Round Table. Now, he’s crossed the waters again to trade neck-snapping brutality for serenity and peace of mind. Opening up Liquid Stranger’s newest Wakaan imprint Sskwan, a cozy home for all things downtempo in the bass music realms, Au5 has gifted us peace of mind in the form of his Alchemy LP, a 7 track affair that takes you on an internal dive into what makes humankind tick.
Opening with the exquisite title track of this magnificent body of work, ‘Alchemy’ is the tip of your big toe as you lower yourself closer to the stillness of a body of water. As soon as you make contact, that pool is affected with a rippling domino effect, moved by the energy that you exhumed until it has drifted back to nothingness. Just as the pool is affected by you, you are affected by the pool, a true reflection of each other, bouncing electricity back-and-forth like invisible coiled snakes. This is the same thing that occurs at an atomic level on your being, as you’re directly impacted by the soothing frequencies that Alchemy imbues into your spirit, and thus you positively interact with the world around you. Whether it’s as extensive as solving some great inner turmoil, or making you feel calm and happy enough to smile at a stranger, it’s a cyclical ripple effect that keeps on giving.
Between the airy, caressing melody and the overall soothing ambiance of the piece, you’ll feel nothing but positivity and contentedness, two things in short supply in recent memory. The last half of ‘Alchemy’ is an ambient soundscape, coddling you like a parent does a wee child before they drift away into slumber. Safe, cheerful, and light; these are the words that will be bursting forth from your existence after listening.
Continuing the captivating trend of sonic healing that is assuredly prevalent throughout all of Alchemy, ‘Vapour’ is your next course on this delicious spread of audible delicacies. As light as angel food cake, this track doesn’t smack or slap like many others, but rather, it offers a warm, serene embrace. Much like watching the final tendrils of sunlight disappear on the horizon as your gaze settles out over an expanse of open water, you come to understand in that time and place just how small and insignificant you are in the grand scheme of things. This isn’t something to feel bad about, rather it is something to revel in, as understanding of this topic breeds conscious freedom and the truth that we are all we need. Showcasing magnificent melodies and an entrancing energy, this piece is as moving as it is thought-provoking.
Myst is defined as “weather characterized by water droplets suspended in the air.” Just as those water droplets are encapsulated and caught-up in a brief moment of time, so will you when you listen to ‘Myst.’ Calmly coaxing out the inner workings of your mind, this is the sonic embodiment of simpler times, exemplified through the sensational degree of production and the supremely relaxed pacing. Taking the time to fully flesh-out each and every sound, you’ll be left hanging onto every note, the outside world a problem for another time.
The final track I’m going to cover from Alchemy is ‘Neptuna,’ quite the apt name for a piece that makes you feel like you’re floating through the vast nothingness of space. Reminiscent of lying on your back in the ocean, you’ll have your entire being cuddled ever-so-firmly, as your anxiety and fears melt away to nonexistence. A true intergalactic experience, this could very well be what aliens listen to after a hard day’s work. If everything happens for a reason, then this was created to provide a sense of healing and comfort in a world that is too-often filled with the exact opposite. A stark reminder that there can be beauty in even the ugliest of times, ‘Neptuna’ is a gift to all that are graced with its presence.
If there’s anything to be gleamed from Alchemy as a whole, it’s that Au5 is a true master of his craft, able to elicit even the most complex of emotions in his listeners. With the world teetering ever-closer to tyranny and strife, this is a prime example of a body of work that can instill hope in the populous, calm remembrance of simpler times at the forefront of people’s minds. A grand slam hit for the unveiling of the newly minted Sskwan, everyone should be waiting with bated breath for what’s coming next both from this immensely talented artist, and this burgeoning label. Check out Alchemy in full for yourself below!