Australian music icon Paul Mac returns with his long-awaited album Mesmerism, out on May 3 via Kim Moyes and Mike Callander’s label Here To Hell. Stepping inside the mind of Australian dance music royalty, the eight-track release sees Mac move away from his electronic pop roots and flex his experimental production expertise. Complete with complex tracks built on mathematical equations and classic dance floor cuts, Mesmerism is an otherworldly listening experience and a testament to Mac’s enduring ability to recreate and deliver genre-defying, timeless music. Opening the album with title track “Mesmerism”, Mac uses a self-created repeated pattern married with smooth melodies and textures, creating a song that is as the name suggests, mesmerising. Next up “Finding a Home In The Goldilocks Zone”, is inspired by the astronomical process of searching for life on other planets. The track brings together samples of voice greetings recorded in 55 different languages that NASA send into Space with ethereal synths and glitchy electronica for a beautiful intergalactic-inspired listen. “Nightingale” features Sydney contemporary music group, Ensemble Offspring’s flautist, Lamorna Nightingale. Collaborating in Mac’s studio, the track brings together the breathy sounds of Lamorna’s bass flute, rhythmic keys and notes stretched out with granular synthesis to create what Mac describes as “a kind of apocalyptic, nuclear-winter kind of sound.” Taking a political sidestep, the new single “Redfern Address” features the iconic speech delivered by Paul Keating in Redfern Park in 1992. A fierce ally and loyal advocate for social justice, Mac was conscious of not speaking on behalf of Indigenous communities, so edited the speech to only include pertinent moments. Sonically the speech remains untouched and soundtracked to emphasise Keating's powerful words and intentions. “Charnel Hill” sees the second appearance of the Offspring Ensemble, with a feature from Jason Nobel, complementing the driving beat with the rich overtones of his bass clarinet and the sound of his breath before each note sliced up featured throughout the track. As the debut single of the album, “Cataplexy” arrives, built on treated fireworks, coupling a fast-paced BPM with the softness of synthesised key melodies and is reminiscent of 90s rave. Nearing the end of the album, “Six Years In Seven Minutes” makes you work for it, with striking keys that build for over a minute arriving at an applaud worthy drop. Deep, driving bass is contrasted with escalating synths to create the ultimate late-night groove. Bringing the album to a close is the sophomore single, “Flamenco”. Named after the infamous Flamenco dance studio in Sydney’s Newtown the track features recordings from studio owner Diana Reyes’ class. The footwork recordings suggest the bassline and later feature in the track as a ravel-bleep symphony that Mac created after transcribing the recordings. Mesmerism arrives today as Mac’s most daring work to date, marking a creative turning point where Mac abandons his previous conceptions on production to open up to a more fluid and unshackled expression. On the album, he says: Going into this album I felt like it was time to approach music making with a completely fresh take. I’d made three beautiful solo albums of slightly melancholic dance-pop that tried to make something beautiful out of relationships gone wrong, the never ending hunt for sex/love, and the equivalent of some kind of spirituality that a collapsed-Catholic atheist seeks in a variety of situations. I soon became very aware of music industry pressures, trying to write hits, and the vagaries of musical fashion that a long term artists witnesses. I felt like I’d said everything I’d needed to say via the voices of some of the most wonderful vocalists available to me in Australia. I wanted to try something fresh.” Outside of his extensive solo career, Mac is a trusted collaborator, having worked with some of Australia’s biggest names in music including Sia, Kylie Minogue, Ngaiire and Daniel Johns, who he released an album with under the moniker, The Dissociatives. Most recently stepping into a composition role, scoring for Australian film, TV and theatre pieces, including Sydney Theatre Company & Nakkiah Lui’s How To Rule The World and his own theatre show at this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, The Rise and Fall of St George. Mesmerism is an immersive listen that showcases the unrivalled talents of Paul Mac and solidifies his title of Australian music royalty. A step away from his past work, Mac takes leaps and bounds into the world of experimental, innovative dance music, taking listeners on a sonic journey through the wondrous mind of Paul Mac.