- Dinky's sixth album was created during a difficult time for the Chilean-born, Berlin-based artist. Following complications during the birth of her first son, Alejandra Iglesias was ordered to stay in bed for three months during her second pregnancy. It was during this time, before safely giving birth, that she produced Valor in a bedroom studio built by her husband Matthew Styles.
Despite its origins, the album is far from a difficult listen. Lead single "Casa" is unabashedly optimistic. The soulful house sound of American West Coast house labels like Om is a touchstone, which Iglesias turns to again for "Wakame." Most of Valor sounds as if it wants to swaddle the listener like a newborn. "Cut," in particular, feels as light and fluffy as a blanket of cotton wool.
Even more so than on 2013's Dimension D, Iglesias makes her voice the focal point here, pairing it with more conventional productions. Every track has a vocal—sometimes multitracked into a choral wash, sometimes as intimate as a whisper, sometimes sounding like Kate Bush. In many ways, these would sound like simple love songs if you didn't know the circumstances that inspired them. When she sings, "We just want to hold you / See you," over a warm, dubby bassline on "Wait," it captures the impatience, excitement and uncertainty familiar to anyone who's been an expectant parent. The delivery of "I can see that I'm losing you slowly" on "Slowly" is as poignant as the song's fragile piano. Dedicated to her eldest son, "Valentino"'s emotional refrain, "I don't want you to leave / I don't want you to stay," might seem conflicted, but the music is far from messy and confused: gentle deep house with a little acid burbling in the background.
Valor, a portmanteau of the names of Iglesias's sons, also translates as "courage." But any ideas of bravery in the lyrics don't really extend to the music. There's none of Dimension D's dark dream-pop, and certainly none of the experimental weirdness found on albums like 2009's Anemik. Save for "Shooting Bodies (Acid)," Valor sounds aimed at the radio as much as the club, and in making an album of accessible, pop-tinged house, Iglesias has played things safe. But in the end, what outshines the polish on the surface is the deeply personal emotions at Valor's core.
05. Shooting Bodies (Acid)