Written By: Andrew Sedo
Originality: (3.5 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (4.0 / 5) Production: (5.0 / 5) Average: (4.2 / 5)
What happens when the grungy old man moves in with the shimmering loud young professional? It sounds like the pitch for a shitty network sitcom, but could easily be pressed into a metaphor for Moving Parts, the debut collab from legend The Alchemist, and not-so-new-kid-on-the-block Lunice.
For The Alchemist, his legacy as one of the most complete hip-hop producers ever, is secured. A true perfectionist, his attention to detail, and penchant for creating full length grit-pieces, is without question. As for Lunice, he first exploded into the electronic scene (with Hudson Mohawke) as TNGHT. Together they obliterated the blurred lines between heavy trap and feel-good EDM and their eponymous EP remains a harbinger of hip-hop’s industrial shift, which crescendoed with a heavy influence on Kanye West’s Yeezus.
On Moving Parts, the duo seem like much less of an odd couple, than a counterbalanced pair. On “Pathwave” Lunice’s signature ethereal tops elevate The Alchemist’s grounded and driven drum tracks to a danceable hip-hop beat. Throw in some old school scratching and screwball knick knacks, and you have a classic cypherable street beat or a dancey party backing track depending on your mood. “Suspended Animation” feels like a TNGHT lost cut with the epicly huge iconic hollow flutes giving way to otherworldly synths and a classically tight Alchemist bassline. As it closes, the song takes on a fully explosive trap element as those same opening flutes are mixed into a garage built rave banger.
“Revolutions Per Second” has Lunice moving to the background as Alchemist divines a beautiful drum track that stands firm against some of Lunice’s wildest junkyard jangling elements. “Clockwork” again shows Lunice bursting into his comfort zone, as big bass carries the track home to a Mercy-esque finish. Closer “Clear” sees the pair exploring heist-noir vibes Alchemist fans will find familiar and not nearly overdone.
When it’s all said and done, Moving Parts is an album for serious beatheads, and bassheads. It’s a collection built from respectful sparring, where each punch is answered appropriately, but neither partner is content being outshone. Lunice throws the haymakers, whist The Alchemist is busy tiring the body, leading to an at times otherworldly, yet always terrestrial exercise.