What separates and differentiates Mortinus from his contemporaries is his ability to structure his ambient electronics in a way that is relatable and immediate, keeping his actual chord progressions astoundingly simple but embellishing each production with enough atmosphere and tiny details that each track feels like a personal epic, a custom-designed soundtrack scoring you and your life. For a man who so commandingly has cornered his own space in the post-spectrum, his self-titled EP pushes Mortinus sound forward in a way that few could have anticipated: it’s more aggressive and yet more pop-friendly at the same time, showing off new angles of his sonic while clearly retaining that relatable open-air accessibility that will enrapture electronic instrumental fans.
As the slowly-warming tones of the opener “New One” wrap the listener in a sense of immediate familiarity, a skittery, fast-paced drum beat soon enters, and it’s clear that for all the goodwill Mortinus has developed since his debut recording dropped, he’s starting to set his sights beyond the restraints of his genre, recognizing that even in the indie-instrumental electronica circuit, there are still valleys that haven’t been explored, and he’s more than willing to spend some of his time to arrive at his new destination with his fans in tow.
After all, once “Belly Stars” kicks on, with its Eastern synthpop opening lick, it’s clear that what Mortinus is going for with this EP is something that he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish with his previous releases.
There’s a little bit more propulsion to the proceedings, his basslines firing more rapidly and his usually-warm synths now dipped in a cool silicone bath, forcing Mortinus to blend in the pulsing heart that’s driven his best work with a sleekness that Orbit only started to hint at.
And even with that in mind, he still fights hard to achieve that deep emotional resonance that his songs are capable of conjuring, even in the midst of all the new challenges Mortinus has given himself.
“February to March” is the kind of fidgety, rumbling bass number that fans may have been pining for: a more deliberate kind of song that shows restraint, using its minimalist tones to lull the listener into a state of ease before eventually shuttling into an intense emotional bass-driven sequence and then falling back into a string-induced lull, only to repeat the intensity ad go back again. More or less like a see-saw ride, or a changing season.
To casual fans, the changes between Orbit and the new EP may hardly be detectable, but the confidence to which Mortinus attacks the new compositions makes for great textural expansion, turning up the intensity but still remaining relaxing and relatable in new and exciting ways.
This EP is represents a short, sweet, and concise recording, which feels lived-in and considered, inspiring his fans while making everyone wonder where this newfound confidence is going to propel Mortinus to next.