In an age in which personality and packaging are key to so many acts and albums, it's refreshing and rare to come across a disc full of music that's intended to speak for itself. And if the music speaks volumes, as it does on ProJect's Alchemist EP, then so much the better.
Maybe the veterans behind the debut five-track EP were simply confident enough in their musicianship to let it take centre stage. After all, electronic artist/filmographer Matt Rosen has been recording as Liar's Rosebush for nearly a decade, and drummer/composer Mike St-Jean has worked with too many musicians to count in such a small space.
Together, and with the support of an extensive group of session musicians, Rosen and St-Jean have teamed up to create a lush and evocative debut that succeeds on its own terms.
Dressed up with nothing but sparse liner notes and a photograph intended to represent each of the disc's five tracks, the music on Alchemist is virtually free of any context other than its own — but it succeeds in creating whole worlds within that otherwise empty space.
Think Tortoise, Four Tet, or maybe even Final Fantasy, and you're getting there. But to say ProJect sound a lot like any of these acts, or anything else out there, doesn't quite get to the heart of this compelling and promising collaboration.
Reportedly, work on the group's first full-length release is already in progress. If the Alchemist EP is any indication or teaser, then it's going to be well worth a listen.