Plini is back! That's right folks, the Beethoven of the bedroom returns with the final part in his EP trilogy.
Considering the already dazzling standard of the first 2, it is with considerable surprise that I am able to say that The End of Everything represents a distinct progression for the young Australian. Where previous tracks have seemed restricted by the technological limitations of home recording, this EP is totally unfettered by such physical boundaries.
Like a Prog-Metal Ben Folds without the mournful melancholy, Plini weaves a spirited web of dreams with his highly technical yet soulfully accessible song-writing. The songs mine a somewhat typical seam in instrumental prog, in that they guide the listeners emotions towards hopeful longing. But one is ushered there with such sibilant grace and silken charm, that He could be sinking you into the depths of despair and you wouldn't bat an eyelid.
Each track is full of mode, mood and personality. One moment sounding like Intervals with Jon McLaughlin guesting, the next redolent of Alan Holdsworth orchestrations of 1970's TV themes. It is as though every riff phrase and pattern exists as both an end in itself and as fertile soil for those that follow it. Nothing seems truncated or stretched out arbitrarily.
My earlier comparison with Ben Folds was motivated by the highly skilful way that Plini manages to connect an extremely broad range of musical themes together by virtue of his deep, innate comprehension of melodic structure. This fuels the jubilantly lucid and contagious character of his songs, which despite their brave expansiveness never forget their roots. But unlike Folds' reductionist pop pounding, this is Progressive-Pop-Plus; generous in its scope and epic in its ability to manipulate.
The whole record has a tremendously fresh and energetic sound. One of the main reason for this is the magnificent presence of Marco Minnemann behind the kit. This is no real surprise considering that a strong case could be made for Marco being in the top 5 drummers playing today. His playing adds a debonair fluidity, elevating the project to a level of polished perfection previously unattained.
The other guest spots are also notable for their prescience. The musicians selected are all pushing, like Plini, towards the zenith of their creative fecundity. Chris Letchford of Scale the Summit, adds a solo on The End of Everything. His lithe and serpentine style providing a reflective counterpoint to Plini's own pulsating approach.
The final solo on the 8 minute odyssey Paper Moon, is played by Polish guitar savant Jakub Zytecki of Disperse. His inclusion providing a sense of personal closure for Plini, who said that halfway through the recording of Sweet Nothings that he had the idea of saving the final solo on the final track of the trilogy for Jakub. No finer choice could have be made or forced upon him. Jakub's playing here, as always, is delicate and golden. Filling each note with expression and as is consistently the case with genius, the gaps between notes are as vital as the notes themselves.
Some art, by the enticing nature of its construction traps you within it. The novel American Psycho with its “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” opening and the chilling “This is not an Exit” finale, creates a form of mental prison that cages anyone who engages with it inside the bounds of its creation. I found my mind flung in this direction when listening to the closing bars of this EP, when out of the simmering silence came the ticking of a clock. The self-same clock who's mechanical music had heralded the opening of Heart, the first track on Plini's first EP.
However this time the prison in which I found myself was not febrile and covered in blood, but instead it was gilded, glamorous and erudite with some of the finest melodies in progressive music resonating down its hallways.
– John Whitmore