With Human Energy, Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) has made a career-defining album, one which will take him from best-keptsecret of the electronic music cognoscenti to breakout star of the US music scene. Written between January and April 2016, the record “reflects a period of great change in my life. I moved across the country to a new city, I proposed to the girl of my dreams, I moved into a new house, bought a brand new computer and set off to write a new album.”
From opener “Lapis,” Machinedrum sets out his stall – an arpeggio ascending to heaven which, apparently building towards the mother of all drops, instead fades up and off into the ether. The music throughout is scintillating, from the mind-candy riffs of “White Crown” (featuring some crazy guitar work from Tosin Abasi of progresive metal band Animals As Leaders), the ecstatic d&b finale of “Do It 4 U” (an absolute stand-out with showstopper vox from singer-of-the-moment DAWN), the smile-inducing, melodic brilliance of “Color Communicator,” or the precision and build of first single “Dos Puertas,” featuring Rihanna collaborator Kevin Hussein. Hussein, DAWN and Abasi aren’t the only collaborators to have bought into this new take on the Machinedrum universe. Fresh off the back of two prominent collabs on Beyonce’s Lemonade, MeLo-X offers understated, classy assistance on the wonderful “Angel Speak,” sitting his voice in amongst heavenly vocal chops. Jesse Boykins III offers a moment of astral r&b goodness on “Celestial Levels.” Rochelle Jordan provides the lift off as Machinedrum works the rhythm flips on “Tell U.” There are telling contributions, too, from Ruckazoid, Roses Gabore and SK Simeon.