- A writer friend described Dinky's Anemik as "folk techno," and I winced. There's a tendency among reviewers to lumber anything vaguely home-crafted or "ethnic" with this hokey term, but after listening to Anemik more, I now have to concede that he was correct. Folk is, by definition, something which stems organically from the lives and beliefs of ordinary people. If the task here were to provide a one-word review of Dinky's third album, it would have to be "organic."
Anemik is inarguably a home studio, hand-crafted and "folky" affair, yet it's also an album that reveals Dinky at a creative peak, and at a convergence of her previous excursions into ambient, dub techno, experimental house and electronica. The programming is constructed entirely with analog equipment, and is wedded to Dinky's percussion, vocals, keys and guitar. The album's early tracks "Childish," "Romaniks" and "Westoid" bloom in real time, with a dizzying amount of dissonant elements added one after the other, modifying and renewing. Discordant, floating bass tones, jazz syncopation, poly- or non-rhythmic percussion, vocals hushed and whispered or full-bodied and full-force: It's not an easy marriage but the end result is equal parts strange and breathtaking.
Periodically it plunges into deep-sea textures and moods, reminiscent of the aqua-dub techno of her early releases for Traum. "Goldfishes" is an otherworldly and all-too-brief, inner-ear treasure, and "Glacial" is an extended underwater journey, with psychedelic whispers, lurching bass and aqueous drums. Explorations of more traditional techno structures are likewise undertaken by the right side of the brain, like "Elipsia," a subtle masterpiece with an overlapping, shimmering patchwork of synths, which morph from fluid and nebulous, to staccato and finely divided, and back again.
Risks are taken, with mixed results. "Rainfallic" could be Tricky circa 1998, when he still made nonsensical sense, with the type of haunted, blunted beats and distorted guitar drone that Dinky masters here. Elsewhere, the woodpecker percussion and caterwauling of "Romaniks" is distracting, and "Fadik" is a sticking point. A gentle and faithful cover of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You," it's unfortunately accompanied by what may actually be a couple of saucepans and a wooden spoon, and would have been divine if just reduced to her subtle electronic whirs and burrs, the dreamy melody and her voice.
Percussion acts as a red thread throughout Anemik, a common line of reference that melds and moulds to each new setting. Is it traditionally Chilean? Quite frankly I have no idea, but, it's hard to imagine that the inspiration for it within such an authentic and personal album would originate elsewhere. Anemik is risky, dense and adventurous, but there is never any sense that Dinky is anything but quietly, calmly and knowingly in control of all her elements. And the result is nothing short of magnificent.
03. Westoid Feat. Updates
04. Gold Fishes
05. Rain Fallic