Today I’d like to present you with something a little shorter than the standard full-length album that I normally feature. Shorter, yes, but it packs just as much of a punch. Other Things, by Plini, is a three-track record that clocks in at just under thirteen minutes. It was released about four months ago in March, and it was recorded in a period of just six days in a bedroom. Although your first inclination might be to lump this guy in with thousands of other “bedroom guitarists,” it’s clear that his strong musical vision sets him apart from the rest.
The main thing that I love about Other Things it is how remarkably different each individual song is from the remaining two. Starting with “Heart,” the EP starts out almost as if it might be some sort of indie-acoustic-folk record. Several acoustic guitar tracks are layered together, along with an eclectic array of mallet percussion lines, dreamy synth effects, and a solid, tom-heavy drum beat to back it all up. On top of all this is an electric guitar driving the melody and decorating the piece with some fantastic jazz-fusion riffs. Overall, it’s the perfect way to ease the listener into a relaxed state of mind, prime for enjoyment.
Plini’s music is instrumental, progressive rock at its finest. It doesn’t go overboard with all sorts of complex metric manipulations, but it does feature enough rhythmic diversity to be an inspiringly intellectual listen. Next on the EP is the title track, “Other Things.” Here’s where things really start to get jazzed up, literally. It starts with a strong intro on the rhythm section’s part, culminating in a powerful groove that manages to convey a large amount of energy while still maintaining a calming mix of timbres. As the lead guitar comes in, we can pick up a strong jazz-rock virtuoso vibe reminiscent of someone like Guthrie Govan or Pat Metheny. This is also the point where the saxophone enters, which adds the final colorful texture needed to make the picture complete.
When I was first introduced to Plini’s work, it was in the style of much more upbeat, aggressive prog rock that combined jazz with djent metal (think Intervals). Given that first taste, I was somewhat surprised when I first listened to Other Things. Don’t get me wrong, by no means was it an unpleasant surprise. On the contrary, it shows off his versatility to be able to play and compose music in a variety of different styles. That being said, when the final track of the EP started to lift off the ground, I knew I was in for a real treat.
“Selenium Forest” starts off in a similar way to the other two – jazzy guitar comping is the name of the game. The lead guitar soon carries it in a different direction, however. After about a minute of building up the drama, the song drops off into an ominous, minor-sounding progression. When I first heard the pizzicato strings enter, my lips stretched tight across my face in eager anticipation. And there it is – that beautifully distorted guitar tone. The song kicks off into full djent metal, continuing to build the energy. The key element here is that it never gets too intense, though. It stays at a level that even someone who normally doesn’t enjoy heavier metal would enjoy.
Of course, words can only describe music so well. There’s an essential component of emotion and effervescence that can only be felt when experienced firsthand (first-ear?). So I would urge you to give it a listen yourself; it’s only twelve minutes long, what better way do you have to spend your time? Plini succeeds in finding the perfect balance between the gutsy drive of hard rock and rich, melodious aspect of softer jazz. And for all of his hard work, I know that he has earned at least one more inspired fan who will continue to follow his future work with just as much passion.