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Album Reviews : Plini – Impulse Voices

By on November 22, 2020

The new album from Sydney instrumental guitar prodigy Plini far from outstays its welcome. At eight tracks, only two of which stretch out to longer than five minutes, and under fourty minutes of music all up, it redefines the word ‘tasteful’. But, man oh man, does it pack a shitload into its running length.

It’s difficult to nail down, or keep track of, all of the myriad musical styles Plini brings to the table here. He covers rock, pop, metal, prog, jazz, jazz fusion, smooth jazz (check out Pan, which at times resembles Kenny G on steroids, jazz-pop with thundering drums), blues, moments of electronica, stuff that sounds like it could have been pulled from a movie soundtrack and plenty more besides. Some of the music is light, lyrical and wistful, some of it rocks like the blazes, some of it soars to the very heavens in its cathartic musical explorations.

And, best of all, Plini and his band seem to pull it off with such ease, as if creating such inspiring sounds and amazing music is like shelling a pea for them.

I’m sure it’s not, I’m sure he/they worked extraordinarily hard on this album’s conception, construction and production, but for the people strictly enjoying the end product, it seems effortless. Almost annoyingly so. People who are this ridiculously talented are irritating…

All that aside, in a word, Impulse Voices is astonishing. It’s a wild and wonderful instrumental ride across beautiful, magical musical soundscapes, culminating in the wonder that is album closer, The Glass Bead Game. It’s an indefinable, mind-bending epic that builds and builds upon itself over the course of nine minutes and must be experienced to be believed.

At this point, I have to return to a term I used earlier in this review, ‘tasteful’. One gets the very strong feeling that Plini can shred like a maniac when the mood takes him, he just prefers not to. He prefers to let his highly progressive and imaginative compositions and his sweet and yes, tasteful lines and playing do all the talking, only bringing in the super-fast side of his playing when absolutely appropriate. And even then, he dials it up, teases you with it for a moment, leaving you wanting more, and then takes it away.

And his music is all the more compelling for it. (Don’t get me wrong, I love shredders and shred guitar, just everything in its place.)

Plini is the type of artist who obviously wants each release to be a meaningful event, a landmark in time, a bold and beautiful statement, not just the next album in his release cycle. And we, the listeners, are the ecstatic recipients of this attitude and approach.

Impulse Voices is a record you will love more with every listen, and is unquestionably one of the albums of 2020.

Band: Plini
Album: Impulse Voices
Year: 2020
Genre: Instrumental guitar prog
Label: Independent
Origin: Australia


Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine,, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.