Photo by Matthew Scott


Video: Firework Spraying Moon directed by Henry DeMaio

“It’s hard not to get swept up in the Technicolour splashes, wonky, broken beats and heart-melting, sun-drunk harmonies that entangle Twirligig. The debut joint from Sydney wunderkind Jonti is about as happily heterogenous as records get, mining laterla hip hop (Cyclic Love), retro synth palettes, Beach Boys harmonies and more. But while this record’s joyous disposition evokes hours of fun in the sun, a deeper listen reveals a level of compositional awareness and astuteness and acumen as rare as hen’s teeth. Few others can even touch what Jonti has in spades” – MUSIC AUSTRALIA GUIDE (4.5 stars)

Jonti’s debut album Twirligig is out now on Mistletone/Inertia in Australia/New Zealand, and Stones Throw Records in the US.

  • “When I think of how to write about Jonti’s music, I don’t feel like writing at all. I feel like drawing a picture, with watercolors and maybe crayon – colorful, abstract, youthfully curious and open to interpretation. Maybe then I’d staple, glue or nail some found objects to it, recontextualising their intended purpose into something strange and beautiful.” – Jeremy Sole (Radio Host, KCRW Los Angeles)

Jonti may not be a familiar name just yet, but that’s no reflection of his resume. Multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer, and vocalist, Jonti, began assembling music after his departure from South Africa to Australia. Spending countless hours studying records like they were books, processing each song, this became Jonti’s music school, testing his theories on a four-track recorder.

If you love music, eventually you meet others who do too. In the past year, through different projects, Jonti has recorded with Mark Ronson, Santigold, Sean Lennon and the Dap-Kings, as well as producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile). Ironically, for Jonti’s solo album, he decided to purposely go the opposite route, doing everything himself, start to finish.

Sometimes it feels like you’re not even moving and then one day it’s done and the madness is like a fading dream. That fading dream left behind two albums, Twirligig and its brother album TokoRats.

Twirligig draws inspiration from many of Jonti’s favorite artists, Madlib, Stereolab, Free Design and The Beach Boys. But Twirligig‘s main inspiration came from cartoonist/ filmmaker Norman Mclaren. Jonti explains, “His films are complex, but they’re still fun. You can feel his enthusiasm for techniques and experimentation. I try make simple pop songs with that same mentality.”

Jonti recently became the first Australian artist to sign to visionary US label Stones Throw, and although Jonti describes his music as simple, Stones Throw label head Peanut Butter Wolf sees it as anything but that. “I understand the pop references because his music is so catchy, but the arrangements blew me away”, says Peanut Butter Wolf. “I couldn’t figure out how the hell he did what he did. That he did it all on his own at such an early age kinda scared me. I knew right away I needed to add him to the roster.”

You will soon understand why Mistletone is proud to present its first Sydney signing Jonti as a new member of the family.

Groupie feature: (read online here)