L.A.-based DJ/producer Lee Foss has distilled a fun, frothy concoction with Alchemy, his first proper artist album. A fixture of the L.A. party scene, Foss earned notoriety via his collaborative Hot Natured project with Jamie Jones, Ali Love and Luca C, their single "Benediction" making a splash in 2012. Although still collaboration-heavy, Alchemy proves Foss has what it takes to stand on his own when he wants to.
Those familiar with Foss's take on house music will feel immediately at home here: vintage, mostly TR-series drum sounds, bouncy, elastic analog synths and R&B-flavoured vocals from a variety of guests comprise the bulk of the record. It starts off confidently with the previously available single "Deep Congo," a decent enough introduction to the artist's sound, although it hardly hints at some of the synth acrobatics to come. Late album highlight "Green Light" is the best example of this; not only does it provide a master class in (what sounds like) ear-trained improv synth soloing, but guest star Anjulie easily takes home the prize for best vocal turn, her ascending hook setting up residence in your memory immediately.
Foss allows himself a few instrumental tracks to explore his synth collection as well, some of which (check out the euphoric bounce of "Transit of Venus" or the sinister funk of "Laserdance") make one yearn for a less guest-populated outing. No one matches Anjulie on "Green Light," for instance, although Foss manages to inject enough of his flair into the proceedings when things verge on the merely adequate.
These moments are few, though; Alchemy is a triumph for Foss. (Emerald City)