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Various Artists

Alchemy Union 4: Gaia

Released 2017

Alchemy Union produce these absolutely killer mix compilation CDs, like AU 4: Gaia, pictured here. They are intimidatingly good. This one explores themes related to climate change. Track two, Alden Lightning‘s enviro-anthem title track, produced by Vaughn, has bass drums pounding down like hydro-fluorocarbons. She sings, “I don’t know why you think this will end well for you.” Some tracks are gorgeously, technically precise, Gershwin… or Classical-even. A few tracks in, your speakers are transformed into tin cans, while Araless raps, “We Can’t See” with verses about all the discarded plastic bottles in the ocean. And moments later, during Carter Wilson‘s “Present Tense,” you’re involuntarily snapping your fingers, and singing along that we’re all “trying to do the right thing.” Mixes like this remind me of the wealth of talent in this city. And damn, this is definitely the place where you’ll find it.