Djent, nu-prog, math-rock, along with numerous equally bafflingly titled genres and sub-genres, denoting the heavier, more extreme end of the musical spectrum, seems to be an inexhaustible resource. Viewed from afar and admiring the complex polymetric time signatures that defy any coordinated foot movement, played at breakneck speed and with pinpoint accuracy – surely there must be delights to be found therein. Yes? But, and here is the rub, how do you sort out the wheat from the chaff? A rhetorical question and the simple answer is just jump in and see how you fair.
OK that didn’t work! Let’s narrow down the field and exclude anything with vocals.
Far better results this time around including Australian guitarist Plini, who has previously released one album, Handmade Cities, along with a handful of EPs and singles. His latest offering Sunhead, released last month, is a well written and conceived four track EP, with the emphasis firmly placed on composition.
Listening to Sunhead it begs the question, does Plini really belong in any of the categories mentioned above? Well let’s not become an expert based on a few initial dips in the water and perhaps I’ve mistakenly misplaced him there, based on association – appearances at this year’s ArcTanGent festival and tours with those bands firmly ensconced within. Or maybe I need to backtrack and take a listen to 2016’s Handmade Cities. I see, said the blind man. Awesome player, however what has come on in leaps and bounds in the interim two-plus years is his compositional skills.
And the proof of the pudding is Sunhead, an absorbing EP, with the heavier elements covered more vigorously on the first two pieces, whilst the latter two show Plini’s jazz and fusion credentials. Kicking things off is Kind and amidst the meaty riffage is a track of many hues and textures, followed by the truly stunning is the multi-faceted Salt + Charcoal.
Definitely worth twenty minutes of your time to give this EP a listen – it’s all linked below, so just a simple a click of the mouse…
A translation of ‘flâneur’ implies someone who saunters, or a loafer casually strolling about observing those around him. The grooving bass, drums and deft piano on Flâneur may well suggest this, and you might want to view the solos as an expression of the characters he sees; the quirky, portrayed by Anomalie’s synth solo; the hustle & bustle from the muscular thematic riffs; or the seductive lady courtesy of John Waugh’s saxophone. I’m sure you get the point. Closing out the EP, Plini fleetingly hints at Gershwin, before the more urgent thrust of the track moves in for the kill. Kudos to Plini here as for the title track he has invited a guest guitar player, Tim Miller, who adds a wonderful legato passage.
Sunhead started life as one of our ADA Reviews – shorter articles aimed at albums that have slipped under the radar, or as is the case here, an EP, however the quality of music seemed to demand a few more words.
A great find and one that demands wading back into the pool…
01. Kind (4:00)
02. Salt + Charcoal (4:30)
03. Flâneur (6:00)
04. Sunhead (5:30)
Total Time – 20:00
Simon Grove – Bass
Chris Allison – Drums
Devesh Dayal – Vocals (track 2)
Anomalie – Piano, Synths (track 3)
John Waugh – Saxophone (track 3)
Tim Miller – Guitar solo (track 4)
Plini – Guitar & “everything else”
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Australia
Date of Release: 27th July 2018