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Ponty Mython - Onimano X991 (Not An Animal, 2021)

On his latest effort, Lithuanian producer Ponty Mython sets his sights firmly on the twilight zone part of the night, with cosmic wavelengths weaving their way around a series of excellent dubby breakbeats and emphatic melodic key lines.

Threading everything together within a discography can be a tricky task, but when you listen through and start to see these threads being utilised, then it only makes the narrative of that discography sing even louder. There are many of these invisible energies that run through the veins of Dance Music, essences of sorts that flow from record to record in an effort to galvanise a sound together, acting as a glue that holds the feelings, atmospheres and textures together. These energies remain critical however in transfixing listeners and then providing them with the knowledge that whatever might come next will be as strong - hell, maybe even stronger - than what came before. Building upon previous releases helps to refine the overall story, polishing out the shine and pointing out all the little details and intricacies that help make a sound become something greater and more significant, and within certain discographies this approach has reaped an enormous amount of net gain for everyone involved. Within such a dense sea of artists trying to carve out their own little space somewhere, it is those who are able to galvanise their narrative within the records they release and how well they are able to capitalise on the vibes being conveyed, with both flows indicating that the person behind it all is very much in control of their own vision. This is particularly important when an artist is largely engaged with a certain type of genre or small grouping of genres, as to not sound stale there is a great need to understand the absolute parameters of what they wish to achieve within the established tropes of the genre. However, for some this task is theirs for the taking, and as a result we are left with a journey which has swerved from left to right, up and down, and always found a way to channel itself into the mainframe set deep within the mind. Listeners continually return to these narratives as a point of focus and enjoyment, their heads and feet ensured of a good time and provided with an experience that caters for a constant renewal of appreciation for everything that artist looks to achieve. Dancing, feeling and grooving, within a particular kind of sonic laden sphere can have rich rewards, and when that sphere is continually morphing around you, then the justification for remaining there only intensifies two-fold. Because the story must go on, and when the last chapter was compelling as hell, you just know the next part will be up there in terms of quality, depth and presence.

This is very much the story that Lithuanian producer Alexander Pletnev has followed throughout his career, with most of his efforts always treading that fine line between carrying the vibe over but also introducing so much more for listeners and dancefloors alike. Within his discography, Pletnev has largely split his releases into two camps - one that follows the work of the brilliantly named Ponty Mython alias, whilst the other includes the work released under the PIetnev alias, and to immerse yourself within both is to discover the inner workings of an artist with plenty of scope and an enormous amount of content to back that scope up. Synergies persist throughout his releases, with each release controlling its own set of parameters but being equally at ease surrounded by its siblings, their confluences of content merging at all the right moments in order to create a bountiful sense of continuity. However continuity in relation to his releases reveals itself in a myriad of ways, as each record highlights a slightly differing vibe or feeling, or indeed a whole new collection of genre exploration entirely, and it is this duality within his audial narratives that make understanding his sound such an enjoyable experience. Going back through the Ponty Mython releases, there remains a real emphasis on the many shades of House, from the deep vocal garage style, through to uptempo euphoric late night expanses, and back round again to the daringly adventurous, but no matter where you drop yourself the feeling remains the same - this is music to make you move, sweat and get right on down. The quality is found within the balance that Pletnev strikes within his tunes, with the drumming patterns crisp, the bass lines always flexing and fluxing, and the inventive use of vocal samples that skip across the top ends, and its this interchangeable set of ingredients that keeps a certain level of freshness near the surface. Pletnev also showcases a high level of musical dexterity within the Pletnev alias, with a multitude of genre experimentation coming out way throughout the releases under the name, and in many ways both sets of works have interwoven themselves throughout time, passing over pieces of information to one another that fuel the advances and the steps forward. These ideals have made the music of Alexander Pletnev indefinitely interesting to listen to, with the feeling being that although you never know what might come round the corner, the music will always be so very on point. From his discography there is much to highlight, starting off with the Ponty Mython alias, with our favourites including the excellent 'I Wish' EP, which landed in 2015; the neverending notions found on the 'Life, Love, Changes' EP, which arrived in 2016; the mind boggling 'Black Magic' EP, which came out in 2017; the gorgeous feels of the 'Why Can't We Both Be Right', which arrived in 2017; and finally, the deeply intriguing cosmic leaning elements found within the 'Universe of Pops' record, which landed also in 2017. From the Pletnev alias, some records to highlight include 'St Bones' (2017), 'Aztec Code/Daywalker' (2018), 'No Bad Decisions' (2019) and 'Peep of Dawn' (2019). In all, Pletnev has crafted a intricate world that speaks to listeners on multiple levels, be it during the time spent at home where engagement is set just that little bit higher, or moving around on a day-to-day basis, or deep within the club, there's always scope to find a bit of space to include his music in these moments. His records all sing together in beautiful unison, chiming and chirping alongside one another as they demonstrate an understanding of how energies and vibrations flow from one to the other and back again. Captivating, mystifying and groovy to the max, his works cannot be recommended enough to anyone with even a passing interest in electronic or dance music.

And now we arrive at his latest effort, 'Onimano X991', which lands via the always excellent Not An Animal imprint. On this record, we see Mython sort of intertwine his varying audial interests into one streamlined experience, with elements found here featuring on a number of his previous cuts, but as always, there's one eye set on how this record can push his sound even further. The vibe is that kind of deep set cosmic progressive energy, wrapped up within simmering layers of alien like electronics and softly undulating drumming patterns, with the momentum slowly but powerfully building over the four cuts. The melodies are on point, with their presence always shifting between differing sequences and tones, their presence and placement reaction to the excellent rhythmic patterns that showcase themselves throughout. Its yet another captivating chapter in the Mython mythos, and if that was not enough - there's even space for a DJ Fett Burger remix, as if there was anything more we knew we needed. So, without further delay, lets dive into this whirlpool of brilliantly conceived melodics, drumming patterns of ethereal atmospheres....

Up first comes the title track, and this one begins with the stripped back drumming patterns and bouncing almost aquatic like sequence to get things going. As the track moves onwards, a familiar prog house rave orientated vocal sample calls out across the expansive top end, with its introduction calling out for the breakbeats to land themselves within the mix. After its second placement the initial bouncing sequence grows arms and legs and becomes overtly melodic, weaving its way through the mid ends of the track as we see all manner of elements flourish in the morning light. Short pad sequences arrive within the blend from time to time, and before long the drums fill themselves out one final time with the arrival of the hats and snares, which really provide a sense of momentum. The vocal sample returns once again to keep our heads firmly in the clouds, this time its presence remains for a few runs before disappearing to provide space for a gorgeous metallic acid line. The drums then recede ever so slightly to again give room to a solid melodic line that really gets the blood pumping, its rave like orientation providing an enormity of flavours to the experience, but soon after its introduction the track strips itself down enormously. This break in energy provides time for the main key sequences to make themselves known, and as they filter in and out of time the drums return, and this is when we see all those little melodic elements which made up the previous few minutes come together, with the climax of this passage leading into the drums going for it one final time. Lush shit, this one. Up next comes DJ Fett Burger's 'Time In Atmosphere' remix of the title track, and the initial salvo does much to indicate why this mix is called what it is. The lead key line that led the way during the original plays out during the opening moments, but it is quickly joined by expansive keys and some excellent breakbeat leaning on jungle beats, with all these passages merging in the most joyous of ways. The kicks then land themselves in the mix to get the groove on strong, as the lead key line moves away to leave us with the dreamiest of pads, which Mr Burger spends lots of time tinkering with to ensure their potential is maximised. Everything climaxes and shifts away, with the next sequence focusing on the drums and a big phat bass line, with plenty of variation found in this moment to get the feet moving and grooving. The lead key line returns as if it was never away, sliding into the top ends as the emotive chords join in from not far behind, as the track gets built up once more. The track then meanders through a number of moments, merging with itself and the environment that persists around it, with the dynamics on display a true marvel. Burger plays with a number of textural elements in order to keep the intrigue going on strong, as our minds are treated to a sonic palette that tantalises at every turn. The final third of the track is reserved to maximum atmospherical engagement, as the drums fall away to provide an expanse for the listener to dip themselves right into, and its absolutely magical. Sublime stuff.

Up next comes 'Walkie Talkie', and this one begins with the chimes of the machine to get us going. The intricate cascades multiply very quickly, with plenty of notes and elements found within that capture the imagination, as the drums lightly hint at the rhythm which is to flow into view next. The various sequences don't seem to stand still, they simply look to find new spaces to accommodate and get to know, and after these various fluctuations the track then bleeds into its next phase, which seems even more intent on working your mind out. The track then pauses briefly to introduce this rising chord, then slams right back into it, this time with additional drumming elements set in place that really help the bones shake, with this singular note sequence emerging from the groove to help push the listener into a new state of being. This then falls away to fall back on the original mixture, but there's still time to bring new elements into the blend, with a new chord line thrown in which helps to push the momentum onwards into new and very exciting places. This one will have you looking in all manner of directions, excellent stuff. To wrap things up, we have 'We Expect A Soft Landing', and this one starts off light and airy but quickly grows into something deeply captivating. The drums carve out a line of inquiry underneath as the melodics grow to consist of some really intriguing elements, with the bass line that pushes through crafting a solid foundation for all manner of feelings to exude from. The track slides along in this manner until it reaches the next state of mind, which brings in a light breakbeat, and this new palette sets the stage for the deep chords to feel their way out amongst the layers. The mixture is intoxicating, drawing from all corners of its collectivised energy in order to wrap itself around the mind, which it continues to achieve with new cosmic leaning features added in for good measure. The brief dip in energy helps to push the feeling onwards and upwards, and this briefness turns into a long drawn out expanse that pushes the euphoric feels to new heights, with the crowd reaching fever pitch as the breaks come back into view. The final moments we spend with this record are so special, much like the majority of the time we have spent within this record's superb set of parameters, and it is an experience which we will return to time and time again, no matter where we find ourselves.

Knitting together a fabric that spreads itself out over an entire discography can be tricky, but for some it comes so naturally that you feel like you have listened to the complete scope of their style within each record they release. The works of Alexander Pletnev have always carried over a sense of dynamics through melody and rhythm, alongside a knack for carrying over the best feels from previous records and placing these firmly within the next phase of music creation, and on this new record of his we feel that step forward immensely. The music found within points to many corners of the euphoric spectrum, with interwoven sequences doing much to elevate the listener at all times to a state where acceptance of what comes next is happily initiated, and its this approach which over the four tracks means we are kept locked into a perpetual state of motion and bliss. The layers ensure that even if you listen at home there's plenty to be engaged with and get to know, such is this feeling with many of his previous records. The DJ Fett Burger remix is awesome and adds so much to the record in terms of experience, with its tasteful reworking of the title track meaning that we don't skip a beat in terms of mood. A record to be played out at the moment where night turns into morning, morning turns into night, and everywhere inbetween. Stunning beyond belief, engaging to its utmost, this is a record you will want to get to know, and revel within its enriching structures.

Support the troops:

MYTHON/Onimano X991 EP [PRE-ORDER]/NOT AN ANIMAL RECORDS/ - Vinyl Records Specialists, London Soho Vinyl Music Records - Phonica Records

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