We first encountered Philip Jonathan when he played a mesmerising live set at The Dirty Habit for Sofar Sounds Newcastle, he left us an impression and luckily also with an EP we could listen to to make the dream that was his live show last a little longer. ‘Pluma’ is a seven track counting EP/ mini album with his best work to date gathered on it. The nature-based subjects he touches and turns into music are some of my favourites, with EP-opener ‘Seafront’ having me wanting to run to the beach and tip my toes into the freezing ocean.
His atmospheric and grand, dream-like soundscapes are refined and subtly dress his humble voice. ‘Seafront’ explores the questions we ask ourselves when we face something far bigger than us, “Is our hope placed in things that leave us silent and lost? If not, then where?” ‘Chokehold’ leans against a more apparent folk pop sound and talks of loss and grief, a tale of how much it hurts to lose somebody, but with a sober look on reality and an almost uplifting soundscape. ‘Before The Dawn’ is small and fragile, being a song about being emotionally asleep to someone who loves and waits for you.
Our favourite song of the EP is ‘I, Hope’, which we got to see and experience live during his Sofar Sounds performance, a song that truly stuck with us. The song imagines hope to be a person, and paints the picture of an enchanted forest, an almost fairy-like person in its surroundings with unfolding cinematic compositions that paints this picture vividly. With ‘In The Garden’, Philip continues the story of Hope as a person, “it explore the joy of hope that has found its answer. The lush sounds of a forest are captured in a rich arrangement filled with soaring strings and rhythmic percussion.” A instrumental piece follows, after which the EP closes with a reimagining of its opener ‘Seafront’, it dares us listeners to put Philip Jonathan in one single box, something that’s simply impossible and proven on his EP.
‘Pluma’ is a warm and satisfying collection of songs driven by a pure necessity of having to create art and sounds, forcing its listener to reimagine life and their surroundings and bringing magic and a soundtrack to what we immerse ourselves in daily.