Danish group Pinkunoizu – consisting of Jaleh Negari (drums), Jeppe Brix (guitars) Andreas Pallisgaard (guitars, vox) and Jakob Falgren (guitars, keys, foot pedal bass) – rarely settle upon a particular template within their sound, The Drop feels like one unbroken odyssey, a journey with no clear end but the definite sense that one will come. “We didn’t have any overall concept for the record,” says Andreas. “We lean on the unconscious and on intuition, keeping things as open as possible.” Instead the group amalgamated as many ideas as possible first before whittling it down to the bewitching, soft-focus dream-pop that appears in different forms throughout the record. This method of working is perhaps indirectly indicated in track titles like ‘The Swollen Map,’ which – according to Andreas – is inspired by the Jorge Luis Borges’ idea of the map that grows larger than the actual landscape.
A more explicit theme to the album relates to its title: The Drop reflects the deviations in pitch that occur through recurring elements throughout the album, and it’s something recognised sonically from the off, as a tone generator gradually bends down in pitch during the intro of first track ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.’ “It’s a drop that continues all along the record in various ways,” says Andreas. “Lyrically and sonically we somehow became drawn towards working with a bending and falling feeling. The album is darker than previous material, but in the sense of an immersive sensibility of being lowered down into a murky substance, than anything serious or solemn.” That the album takes this dipping, arched form, goes back to their writing process, of exploring every idea before cutting them back; it was only after doing this that they uncovered this aural sense of – as Andreas puts it – “this feeling that either the ground is falling underneath, or that everything is being lifted constantly upwards, that the music is elastic and bendable.”
They recorded The Drop themselves, with help from technician Mads Brinch, at Sauna in Copenhagen, as well as spending some time in the city’s unique mass commune, Freetown Christiana. The area is a multi-cultural commune situated right in the heart of the Danish capital, though one which has come under increasing scrutiny from the country’s government. Pinkunoizu don’t attach their music to any specific location, preferring instead for it to encourage environments and recollections in the listener’s own mind; but it is a place they share a kinship with. Though it has changed from the 60’s ideals that shaped it – and is now equally desirable to tourists as it is locals - Andreas comments that “it remains a beautiful dream, and still works well as an example of alternative ways of living and being. There’s loads of music and culture going on there on different venues and on the streets. The general political idea is to try and normalize it. But Christiania is too strongly consolidated to bend.”
With other song titles like ‘Necromancer’ and ‘Pyromancer,’ Pinkunoizu take clear influence from the dream world surrounding them and seek to create their own fantasy realm in music, something taken from the group’s interest in fantasy fiction. “In addition the musical term of fantasy (fantasia) played a role for us,” says Andreas, “a fantasia is a piece of (classical) music deriving from loose ideas and improvisations. Which is fitting for The Drop.”
1. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The album takes flight with a tone generator dropping in pitch until it splashes down into the wide blue open. ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ is meant to function as a descent; a drop that continues all along the record in various ways. Lyrically and sonically we have somehow been drawn towards working with a bending and falling feeling on this album. One could characterize The Drop as being somewhat darker than what we’ve done before. This darkness is not to be seen as one of a more serious or solemn nature, simply one that stressed the immersive sensibility of being lowered down into a murky substance with different laws of orientation. The opening track sums up a movement where the ever changing is contrasted by a constant, static element. In this case bass and drums keeps a rather horizontal beat going whereas the surrounding elements have an elastic and highly bendable flavour to them. The title refers to an oceanic wasteland of debris located in the North Pacific. A fitting picture for a world doing wrong and – a fitting picture for the sound of this record, which is made up from a rubble of ideas that were mashed together during a very short period of one week of recording and three weeks of dubbing and mixing.
This track is probably the most mechanical and motorized one the record. It arose from some jam sessions we had in a remote cottage in the far north of Danish main peninsula Jutland. While being very strict and automatic in its apparent structure, it also inhabits a world of arabesque ornaments of mystical and otherworldly derivation. Our fascination with the fantasy genre (and all of its tacky clichés) probably brought out the necromancer as a persona that suits the feel of this tune. The necromancer is a shamanistic character that can communicate across time and space with the dead. This track is all about the meter, the beat, but more importantly what happens between the notes, between the lines and inside the realms that the dead inhabit.
‘Moped’ is probably one of the oldest tunes on this record. It has gone through various stages of appearance live, before it was finally captured in this version. The trip is mostly about energy for us. We have tried to create a pretty massive wall-of-sound like soundscape, where pounding drums and pulsing synth drones serve as the prime fuel. The idea has been to max up the denseness, but mix it in a way where the listener can still settle in the depth on the soundscape. Jaleh’s cheerleader like vocals function as a constant kick-starter for this highway ride, where new guitar motives are being introduced as we go along. For us listening to this reminds us of being 18 and driving through the countryside with ones gang and the wind in our hair. Or playing a motorbike arcade game, where temporary and loosely connected bits of sound and lyrics shoot before your ears like blitzing rays of light.
4. The Swollen Map
Inspired by the Jorge Luis Borges’ idea of the map that grows larger than the actual landscape, this song is partly about the representation of the world, and about how to navigate in your own way in a world swarmed with symbolic significance. Technically the song consists of separately recorded bitcrushed piano chords that sustains and ring on through the whole track. Our friend Nils Gröndahl played the helicopter like strings towards the end, where the track freezes and repeats while the strings keep moving upwards towards a complete view of the map – it fails.
‘Pyromancer’ stands as another take on nurturing the tension between the constant repetition and the ever evolving. Rhythmically pretty much every hole is filled on this track. Different feelings and musical periods meet and produce a trancy grid together. The guitar roles are more like percussion instruments than actual tonal instruments. While these just move in circles, the vocal melody only moves forward with new melody lines overtaking the previous almost without repetition. So you get sort of warped between the cyclical and the linear.
6. Tin Can Valley
Like ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ ‘Tin Can Valley’ constitutes another wasteland on the record. Alongside Moped it was recorded live in The Livingston Studios in London, unlike the other tracks on the record. Again we are working with a constant drone beat and an evolution on top of that. This time around the guitars are the ones with the forward moving roles. Unlike most of what we usually do, the guitar parts were written before we ever played the tune together. And I guess half of the music heard on this record is composed that way, and the other half comes from improvising and playing around and going with the spark of the moment.
7. I Said Hell You Said No
Here we have the track that was most likely the one with most loose ideas on the table before we started our recordings. Or put in another way, this is the track where we tried to fit quite a lot of non-corresponding ideas into one framework. For a long time it didn’t really work out, but in the end it turned out nicely and confusing in an interesting way. We actually ended up switching around beginning and end once we had mixed it halfway through. Recording Jakob’s string arrangement with Nils Gröndahl gave it a nice cinematic touch. The lyrics are formed in an associative manner blending mythology with horror movie scenarios and channelling these into the subconscious logic of the dream/nightmare world.
8. Down In The Liverpool Stream
Having fallen through the record you end up in this bubbly song. The drop ends up being concretized with this very watery feeling, and the protagonist of the song ends up floating “like a jelly fish/down in the Liverpool stream”. So, we see the drop both as a fall, but also as a drop creating ripples that resonate throughout the whole record. The song was recorded at home with acoustic guitars and a weird little toy accordion we borrowed from a friend of ours. We wanted to do an actual folk song, but we also wanted to place that song inside some sort of minimalistic pulsing landscape, where the vocals and lyrics were to be equal to rest of the arrangement.
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