Pinkunoizu Free Time! Review

Released 2012.  

BBC Review

A psychedelic mosaic, a travelogue made of chopped-up music from everywhere.

Fraser McAlpine 2012

They come from Denmark, they’re partly based in Berlin and their name is a Japanification of the kind of noise generator you might find on certain analogue synthesisers to create sibilant sounds. And yet Pinkunoizu clearly have the whole world in their sights, steering an exploratory vessel through a hot chowder of influences, ritualistically gathering sounds and ideas from all over Africa, Asia, Europe, Australasia and the Americas, but only hoovering up the bits they like one fragment at a time.

Free Time! is, therefore, a psychedelic mosaic, a travelogue made of chopped-up music from everywhere. Melodies swoop and fracture over rolling percussive grooves, there are whispered laments that dissolve into quaking didgeridoo drones, and delicately finger-plucked folk puffs out into hooting jazz without so much as a signpost to guide the way.

Everything starts somewhere and ends somewhere else. Time Is Like a Melody may bring the harmonic sunshine, being a truly Fleet Foxes opener, but it also bears a sharp, needling guitar, ready to scrape against your sunburn. The rolling placid groove of Everything Is Broken or Stolen is all swan-like melodic grace up top and clockwork percussive woodwork underneath, like an air-conditioned bus ride through a Cuban street carnival.

Meanwhile, Parabolic Delusions is a space-folk song, played for maximum bounce on squitty synths and featuring a tranquil choir of glass-eyed girls, all singing the same melody. There’s even a thrillingly rude rock’n’roll guitar solo that enlivens The Abyss with a moment of snake-charming glee. It’s as though Foals have suddenly dropped the joy of abstraction, embraced writing sexuality and become The Rolling Stones (for about a minute).

Cornelius fans will tell you that little bit of playful goes a long way. Or at least, a little bit of playful needs leavening with quite a lot of taking other things seriously, if a band is to prevent their audience vanishing in a puff of larks. However, Pinkunoizu are all playful, all the time, and all the better for it.

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