Newcastle, England based producer, Onixonst is destined to be a polarizing figure. An electronic artist never afraid to step forward or more appropriately, sideways, in pursuit of new electronic terrain, he is perpetually attempting to baffle, challenge and fascinate. His album “Take Us Back II” is another record destined to intrigue listeners and provide a handful of genuine thrills. Onixonst explained the album as a two hour sequel to “Take Us Back I”. “This was a long time in the making, he said, continuing: “This record is the middle of an intended trilogy of concept albums with the last of the 3 set to release on April 2nd. It builds on the sounds of the original album with some self-sampling, while also introducing completely new ideas to the fold.”
Rebounding a bit from the throbbing creative urgency that possessed the previous chapter, “Take Us Back II” is an often more fascinating, if frustratingly challenging record. In a way, it seems like a total run-down of the Onixonst catalogue.
The tracks vary greatly in substance and style, bouncing through a virtual jukebox of Onixonst’s past, present, and dare I say, future experimentation to searing beat collages. The long running time actually aids the disc by allowing the inclusion of many sonic sculptures.
It’s also where his unique and pioneering electronic sound and rhythms meet their boundaries, and then surpasses them. “Here We Remain” begins with densely depth-charged percussive wallops inviting midnight drives down darkly foreboding motorways with no fixed destinations.
So there’s no surprise when “Something To Fear” swiftly blossoms into a giddy burst of bass driven synths, and a sudden rush of percussive breeziness with hazy golden-hued keyboard shades follow on “No Way Out”.
Onixonst constantly toys with EDM tropes, those seemingly endless moments of hands-in-the-air euphoria, before detonating ferocious splatters of synthesized shrapnel and hyperventilated rhythmic fusillades, which gets close to manic on “Oaths Of Armageddon”.
“Still Not Bitten” fires up industrial factory chambers before the sweet piano keys set in, while noisy seismic rumbles plunge you into darkly ornate caves of echoing void on “Give No Shelter”.
Then, suddenly, a few moments of sheer upbeat sweetness and bliss, appear with “Vultures Of Atlanta” and “My Darling Clementine” – a suspended pause of harmonious dancefloor sunshine permeates while Onixonst contemplates delivering other extremities.
These promptly arrive with the eclectic momentum of “Lines We Cross” and “Whispers Into Screams”. All throughout this album, Onixonst’s mixture of various sounds and styles will give you a headache when trying to distinguish what genre he truly belongs too. The genius behind this is you are never bored.
This same variety, same energy and same willingness to not resort to lazy song making is prevalent throughout “Take Us Back II”, and continues on “A Certain Doom” which presents counter melodies mixing dissonance and harmony. Beats rise and crackle to silence for the intro of “We Find Ourselves” which relies heavily on its rhythmic foundation.
Onixonst settles down for a moment on “Miles Behind Us”, before bringing in a series of pops and pangs, and ultimately a thumping bassline. Onixonst uses a tremendous amount of layering in almost every song on the album, and “Legend Of Clementine” is no exception, as he again introduces multiple synth motifs.
Renowned as an adventurous musician, on “Take Us Back II”, Onixonst proves he has ideas a-plenty, with musical heft to match.