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Machinedrum’s Travis Stewart finds new spirituality on his first solo album since 2013’s Vapor City: Human Energy, which arrives on Ninja Tune like its predecessor, takes inspiration from esoteric and new age concepts. Stepping into his great grandfather’s footsteps who was a healer, Stewart explores music’s power of invigorating energy. Less dreamy, but more lively than Vapor City, his detailed drum’n’bass-led synth arrangements follow bold, catchy melodies – which he caters for with a long list of contributors. Frequent collaborator Dawn Richard lends her modern voice to the soulful ‘Do it 4 U’, while Beyonce affiliate MeLo X accounts for the vocal chops on ‘Angel Speak’, a true banger with its HudMo-like brass sounds.
With its frantic elements, the first single ‘Dos Puertos’ with Brooklyn rapper and Rihanna collaborator Kevin Hussein recollects Stewart’s earlier jungle style, but overall Human Energy has a more digital aesthetic to it. Its beats are accentuated and radiate the Californian sunshine Stewart injected into his production after his recent move there – which also explains some of the healing energy’s origin. A fresh and bold record that glimmers in the sun ready to move and energise you.