Antman Ant is, by his own admission, nothing if not an OG raver so it’s not really fair to call him a “new artist.” He has, however, been sort of hiding his huge talent from the wider EDM world, so he’s new to us. Producing since well before the current generation of EDM fans were even born, his work is less about any sort of throwback style than a consistent evolution that’s moved in time with that of dance music at large. This means he can, and often does, draw on nearly 30 years of dance, sound design and groove to make his music. His latest releases, April’s heady, ambient-laced deep house album Resonate and the just-released singles, the ethereal and ambient “Weightless” and the deep disco bop called “Breathe It In” certainly prove that point.
Happy to be in the underground for many years, splicing together vintage electro and modern bass house for the fun of it seemed to be Antman Ant’s bag until the pandemic hit. As with many creatives, the Sussex, UK native found himself with more time he ever dared dream and the need to create both for himself and for the entertainment-starved public. He got to work releasing and has amassed a huge discography since 2020: seven full albums and a string of interstitial and teaser tracks in between. It appears Antman had been sitting on a veritable treasure trove of tunes the like of which the house and ambient worlds have never seen in such a short period. He quickly became a deep house playlist favorite on Spotify and is gaining traction on Beatport, with some of his singles being picked up by Dark City Music.
The scale of music Ant’s been able to release in just under three years is impressive, sure, but it’s the quality of the work that pushes him into gobstopping territory. Each track is a rich, complete composition drawing from every style and genre imaginable and harnessing to the artist’s own unique and emotive style, each album takes the listener on a journey through emotion more than music. This isn’t your usual club house, though it’s often fresh and very danceable.
It’s impossible to go through Ant’s massive catalog in the space of a short article so we’ll be focusing on the most recent releases, but suffice it to say if you want beautiful beach music that incorporates all the best parts of house, ambient, progressive and trance, look no further than his Spotify page. Now, to highlight a few key points from Resonate: this album opens with a beatless intro track that really sets the tone for the rest of the album. Ant’s not one to rest on his laurels with any particular genre, and “100 Years Asleep” is certainly a nod to that. With a haunting piano melody grounding this track rather than a discernable drum or bassline, Ant also showcases his experimental side in the ambient sound design. What a side it is, as well, as a perfectly pitched sine wave synth is pushed through the beginning of the track, along with other sound samples that sort of make the track feel like we’re listening to the soundtrack of the world turning. It’s both relaxing and a promise of the work to come.
From beatless to “Progressive Beats,” Resonate proceeds to take listeners on a temporal journey through ambient rave with everything from the afore-mentioned progressive beats to deep bass rumbles to celestial, Goa-style melodies. There’s always a mix of old school and modern, and Ant employs the vintage elements in a number of different ways: sometimes it’s a sample, others it’s the equipment he uses. It’s so varied yet well-constructed, “Resonate” it’s almost like a perfectly constructed DJ set paying homage to all the eras of rave, but it’s all written and produced by one artist.
While they’re certainly as good as the album, upon listening to Ant’s recent tracks post-Resonate, “Weightless” and “Breathe It In,” it’s instantly clear why he didn’t include them. They both have a totally different vibe to the album. With a definite celestial and 90s Enya-inspired instrumental track, there’s a levity to “Weightless” (hence the name) that is removed from the deep vibes of the Resonate tracks. “Breathe It In,” just released in late July, however, is full of electro and big room sounds while also being rooted in Ant’s signature vintage synth style. “Breathe It In” is easily the most ravey, dancefloor track of the 2023 releases, and it will likely play well at festivals as the summer season draws to a close.
That’s likely Antman Ant’s ultimate goal: reviving the dancefloor in his own unique way, bringing the history of rave to this point in its near 40-year history in a way that modern crowds can not only appreciate it but love where we’ve come from and where we’re going. Now with real momentum and an unmistakable talent, here’s hoping Antman Ant’s work continues to Resonate with ravers for another 40 years and beyond.
Check out “Breathe It In,” “Weightless” and the rest of Antman Ant’s mindblowing discography on Spotify and rave on.