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Live Review: Willaris. K proves the hype is worth it with formidable debut EP, 'Alchemy'

8 June 2018 | 3:59 pm | Emma Jones

After 18 months of hype, Willaris. K finally shares his debut EP, titled 'Alchemy', with a world that's ready to listen to him.

Last year, during BIGSOUND, I said as I witnessed WILLARIS. K's first showcase that he was the next Flume. I even tweeted it, just to make sure the world heard. Well, 18 months after he released his first single with 'Alchemy', the world is listening and paying very close attention to the ex- electrical instrument technician from Tweed Heads (aka Jack McAllister), and just about everyone is loving what they're hearing.

The rise of Willaris. K has been particularly riveting to watch. From simply releasing his first single into the world, he's gone onto play around the world, and gathered more and more fans and devotees into his community with each hugely impressive release since. Ambitious, relentless and uncompromising, the word of Willaris. K has spread like wildfire over the past twelve months or so, and now it's set to turn into an all-out, worldwide blaze with the long-awaited release of his debut EP. Speaking of his EP, McAllister said, “The tracks are a reflection of my life at that time...It was a big transition period for my mindset, going from music being a fun hobby with no pressure, to self doubt, to finally backing myself. Eventually, I let go of the expectations I'd put upon myself realised I can make whatever I want, because that's where the most interesting ideas came from.”

Titled Alchemy, much like the title track that started it all, this EP is something different to what is currently out in the dance world. It's dark, captivating and so full of tension you almost need to take a deep breath to get through it. It's because of McAllister's undeniably meticulous approach that he's created a record so deep and so rich. Across seven tracks, it's a trip down a rabbit hole that's sometimes eerily calm, other times abrasive and jarring, but at all times is completely enthralling, as if almost hypnotising you and navigating you through some weird dreamscape.

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Touching on thick, industrial techno sounds and paring it with sparse and pensive moments, the dynamic approach to the ebbs and flows of this mini-album simply adds to the already immersive experience. Expertly compiled, there's not one moment that doesn't have you gripped by some feeling, with the emotion and intent in Willaris. K's music palpable in its many ways of being displayed. From the glorious opener of 'Catch Phrase' to set the scene before the assault that is 'Risen', with its chaotic, nightmare-rave vibes, before 'River Song' with its white noise and rainforest sounds serving as a welcome reprieve to let you gather yourself before the sombre keys tug at your heartstrings. The mood lifts again as Willaris. K plays with space and loops in 'Perpetual Love', the EP's epicentre and a previously unheard song from the artist that capitalises on the skills he demonstrates on 'Risen' as well - quality of quantity, focussing on making each moment count.

Ending with a triple treat in 'Alchemy', 'Alchemy Reprise' and 'Dour Nights', Alchemy the EP is a sonic adventure through the wilderness of Willaris. K's world. 'Alchemy' still gives me shivers when I hear it, harking back to 18 months ago when McAllister unleashed this on the world and looking at all that he's achieved since then. Backing yourself is hard to do, but when you truly get behind it, the rewards make it all so worth it, and that's exactly what we're seeing with Willaris. K. Having quit his job to focus solely on music, it's this self-belief and his decision to back himself and see what can happen that has taken him to where he is now, releasing one of this year's best dance records and still only just getting started. With an enormous tour just around the corner, there's no doubt that these songs are going to go down just as spectacularly as they did at his BIGSOUND showcase last year, and with shows already selling out, it's really clear that everyone is indeed listening now.

Alchemy is out now via Soothsayer. Buy/stream it here.


Sat 29 Sept - Jack Rabbit Slim's, Perth (TIX)

Thurs 4 Oct - Corner Hotel, Melbourne (TIX*SELLING FAST

Fri 5 Oct - Corner Hotel, Melbourne (SOLD OUT)

Sat 6 Oct - Metro Theatre, Sydney (TIX*SELLING FAST

Fri 12 Oct - Fat Controller, Adelaide (TIX)

Sat 13 Oct - The Triffid, Brisbane (TIX)

Image via Facebook

Words by Emma Jones