This is, I think, as close as I will ever come to a review that writes itself if ever there was one. If you are not familiar with Just Plain Ant, or Ant The Symbol, you need to be – especially if you are a fan of down-tempo / trip-hop.
Just Plain Ant has been around the netlabel scene for about five years now. He started into producing music back in 2005. I first became aware of him back in 2010 when I found his Songs About Something release. Even at this point, he had been releasing music since 2008. And he has been quite successful: starting his own netlabel / collective, Just Plain Sounds focusing on down-tempo, trip-hop, and hip-hop.
Since I first heard him back in 2010, his sound has evolved substantially. More groove and swagger, better production, engineering and mixing. Basically all the things you would expect from a modern down-tempo artist.
So, the only question that I have, and I haven’t found an answer for at this point is: why the name change to Ant The Symbol. Yes, it is a cute and funny play on Prince’s whole changing his name to a symbol to get out of his contract with Warner Bros. But, I doubt that this is the case for Ant. I think instead this might be an exploratory alias. Just Plain Ant has a following that is pretty strong, and a well-known persona in production circles. So, I think this name allows him to play around a bit, and produce some really fine Down-tempo music in the process. (Don’t believe me when I say he’s experimenting? Listen to the tail end of ‘The Liberator’ below – and see if that doesn’t sound like a bit of an experiment.)
This is just one of those releases that doesn’t disappoint. From beginning to end, it’s solid (even the small experimental bit). I basically cannot find anything to fault, other than how long it took me to review it. And, the only reason I held off on this release was because it says “(1 of 3)” in the title — so I thought the next two installments would be coming out more quickly.
So, if you like jazzy, down-tempo trip-hop with lots of groove and swagger, give Ant The Symbol a virtual spin in your music player. You will enjoy this release at least as much as me, and be waiting on pins and needles for the next two installments to be released.