Last Ronin – Incognito – EP Review
Glitch-Hop! How has THAT sub-genre of other main-genres eluded me, at least by name, after all these years? That’s really a fantastic term to describe much of what I personally listen to – especially if its true definition is anything close to what Last Ronin is creating – this dude fits right onto my playlist like there were four spots waiting for him to fill it with the new songs from the Incognito EP all along.
Last Ronin is the brainchild of Simon Robinson, a dude that clearly has an adept ear for both sound & production. The music is defined in several ways other than Glitch-Hop…you’ll find elements of Dubstep, Chillstep, Drumstep, Dance & House-music textures that run deep throughout this EP, all mixed together in fantastical ways with creativity that captivate through stunning sonic-elements and electro-pulses. Similar to acts like Dada Life, Linus Loves maybe even a little Prefuse 73 – there’s a ton of melody within the music of Last Ronin and it all starts immediately with “Isolated.”
Beautiful piano & light cymbal-crashes begin and set-up the stage for the electro-rhythms, synth and beats to follow. Last Ronin does you a solid by keeping it all pretty accessible all the way through, mind you the EDM/IDM elements start to creep in around ninety-seconds in. What I think is most exceptional about what Simon is doing is just how charismatic each of these songs become. “Isolated” becomes a rubbery, stuttered-shot beat and groove around the three-minute mark but the entire song never loses its charm no matter which direction he turns. It’s because he never goes overboard and shows a tremendous amount of precision and control that he won’t lose any of us as an audience when listening; “Isolated” is a perfect example of what the comfort-zone sounds like for an artist completely in control of their craft and ready for every moment, every move.
“Utopia” might have been a little more my speed. I love the glitchy-ness of this tune’s mid-section and the breakdown to follow – the dynamics in this tune are a little more widespread between tones and there’s a lot more range to cover. The build towards the third minute is supreme; the low-end swell is massive in sound and right where you’d expect it to continue to slow-burn in that direction – Last Ronin switches it up back to the bright synth-sounds. In truth that final switch wasn’t something I thought would work at first, but it did manage to satisfy me by the end. It was the hint of deadly low-end that sounded so good I had just assumed it would continue on…but that’s on me. However…that being said…a remix of this tune with a combination of those two sounds together & grinding it out towards the end might give it that extra push to send “Utopia” over the top at the ending.
Whatever…might just be my opinion. Like I tell many people…at the end of the day, I’m still just one guy with an opinion, I just typically listen to a lot more music than others do is all. But as the track to follow, “Unity,” began…I couldn’t help but feel like both Simon and myself had found the real sound we were looking for on the Incognito EP. The main melody-line in the tune begins early, but subtly; later on it’ll be highly accented by one insanely-wicked sound, just before a minute & ten-seconds in or so. That sound…whatever it is…is genius. It’s completely stunning and takes over “Unity” for the most part of the song with the exception of a brief breakdown, otherwise it basically takes over the controls and the beat begins to pulse, glitch and change around it masterfully. This is definitely Last Ronin at a peak moment of uniqueness, creativity and amazing melody right here on “Unity,” three tracks into the Incognito EP.
Ending with the title-track, “Incognito” builds slyly from its outside inward…the most gradual build & longest track on the EP. Once again, Simon has found the excellent structure, assembly and production to create a highly-dynamic & expertly-versatile electro-rhythm here on this last song – “Incognito” becomes a massive song as it plays through energy-infused circuitry and atmospheric breakdowns. When Last Ronin throws the switch, the energy is there in-full and the electro-sounds come at you from the left & rights like you’re right there in the room – and the full-scale groove of this song is INSANELY good. Very strong & memorable music from Simon on this whole EP and I think this last epic song & title-track really does this recording & artist true justice with an ending that highlights the very best of what Last Ronin is all about. Excellent texture, atmospheres, decisions, instincts and production all the way throughout – as far as electro-music is concerned, I’d say this is an artist to keep an eye/ear on for sure.
Find out more through the Last Ronin page at Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/LastRoninOfficial
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