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McKechnie, Simon: Newton's Alchemy

"Alchemy: a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life." Online Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Unbeknownst to many, Sir Isaac Newton spent much of his time studying alchemy and it his work in that ancient area of study that is the basis of English musician Simon McKechnie's new album Newton's Alchemy.

McKechnie released his debut album London Reborn in 2010. Newton's Alchemy is his third release. Besides McKechnie (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, dulcimer, psaltery, percussion), other musicians include Adam Riley (drums), Clare Salaman (nyckelharpa) and Jan Hendrickse (bass flute).

Although this is not a heavy album, there is an off kilter angularness that adds a layer of intensity and moodiness to these nine tracks. McKechnie is a very good musician and his vocals are good, if a little quirky and theatrical, much like the music found within. His fellow bandmates are also fine musicians in their own right. The music veers from heavier angular sections to more gentler realms with the dulcimer, psaltery (related to the zither) and nyckelharpa (a harp-like instrument) helping in that regard. Tracks like the album opening "The First Matter", "Miracles of Only One Thing" and "The Work Begins" demonstrates the band's flair for the quirkier side of prog and the musicianship is very good. Lots of uneven tempos, changing time signatures and sinuously angular guitar lines throughout hardly make for an immediate listen but with a little perseverance there are some nice melodies lurking below the surface. Some music just requires a little more digging.

I quite like Newton's Alchemy. For something a little different in the alternative prog genre this album might be worth your while.

Track Listing:
1. The First Matter
2. Miracles of Only One Thing (Emerald Tablet 1)
3. The Work Begins
4. The Father of All Perfection (Emerald Tablet 2)
5. Star Regulus
6. Force Above All Force (Emerald Tablet 3)
7. Animated Mercury
8. A Great Secret
9. Turning of the Wheel

Added: October 11th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1835
Language: english

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