Music producer Onixonst, is a law student from Newcastle, England, who creates with Ableton 10. “Mainly my songs are house, trap and electronic,” says Onixonst, continuing: “But there is little limit on the boundaries I am willing to cross.” And cross those boundaries, he does on 12 track album “Age Of Renaissance”. The album spans a wide-range of emotions across its breadth. Onixonst is an aficionado of soundscape storytelling. He creates a sonic atmosphere that engulfs the listener with its luxurious smoothness. “Age Of Renaissance” appears simpler and more sophisticated than current releases by his colleagues, because Onixonst focuses more on quality than quantity. He makes a theme of shifting between heavier tracks and more contemplative ones throughout the record. And he is largely successful in binding the two and avoiding a discordant narrative. The record consistently makes these shifts between bolder statements and quieter reflection.
“Age Of Renaissance” is the result of a myriad of sounds, textures and techniques most of which are strung together expertly and imaginatively. The album ebbs and flows, finding new pathways to build to a dynamic intensity informed by vibrant instrumentation and percussion. Oscillating and chameleonic synths create a universe that is familiar yet unpredictable, evoking a state of spirited rapture.
“The Texas Sharpshooter” is a clear favorite, doubtlessly one of the most ear-friendly cuts here, with Onixonst’s clean, gossamer keys washing effortlessly over the rhythmic design. The glimmering, chip tune interludes providing sheer, radiant bliss across a dramatic theme.
“Motions Of Everything” rolls in, maintaining similar 8-bit influences, and glitch-like effects, which stand out as an opulent tapestry of sound. “Inside The House Of Lungs” brings with it, four minutes of smooth respite, with its propellant, melancholic basslines and shimmering keyboards, all backed up by sturdy boom-bap styled drums.
There’s so much diversity in texture and mood, between these first few tracks that it feels like a journey across varying landscapes. “Sapere aude” forges Dubstep tendencies that squawk and squeal on top of the throbbing bassline and percussion. It rides straight into the rock parade of “Cosmic Dangers”, restoring a euphoric element to proceedings, while momentarily disguising the producer behind the track.
The crisp, precise and fast rhythms of “Gamblers Fallacy” induces a state of fist-pumping euphoria before it allows “Wealth Of Vlie Maxims” to deliver a typical four-to-the-floor beat with a twist. This one definitely has a dancefloor shine to it.
Then it’s back to the eclectic drawing board on “Poisoning The Well” as Onixonst holds your attention throughout, flexing his mood control while the listener plunges from sound to sound, and emotion to emotion.
Often it’s Onixonst’s carefully woven beats which steal the spotlight. Moving between linear and non-linear constructions, the arrangements develop piece by piece with the addition of each new element gaining both complexity and momentum as basslines, percussion, and synths propel the jam.
He can also reverse the process, where the groove’s constituent parts are laid bare, before reassembling themselves, which he promptly does on both “Coffeehouse Aesthetics” and “Masked-man”. Due to Onixonst’s diverse styles, uniting pulse, and sheer warmth, this is a record that will work in many situations.
The shifting sonics of “Passion Was Just The Start” – which is as perfect for the dancefloor as it is for a pair of headphones – is a clear example of the producer’s hybrid tendencies. “Thus Arose Zarathustra” closes the album on a sober note with chilled keys riding a mellow and playful beat.
Onixonst shows his mastery of production and song-like flow on an album that is both immediately rewarding and demanding of repeated listening. The Brit producer’s main weapons are all armed here: dynamic percussion, robust basslines and polychromatic synths.