Free Time is the first full-length release by Berlin’s ultra-cool lo-fi fiends Pinkunoizu. This vibrant debut, released on Full Time Hobby in March, follows on from the group’s November EP Peep, with plenty of intelligent, harmonious math-pop featuring a subtle edge.
Lead track Time is Like a Melody kicks off this varied album with sweeping soundscapes, plenty of reverb, and haunting, saturated vocals. There are clear elements of Arcade Fire’s sound throughout this track (and indeed sporadically throughout the album as a whole), which is evocative and beautiful. The album is not focused on such calm sonic events however; the second track on Free Time - Myriad Pyramid immediately changes the music’s direction. Still present are the saturated samples and vague, distorted vocals, but these are placed within disjointed, syncopated rhythms and a curious flattened key signature. The track is very evocative of Middle-Eastern music styles, but also mirrors very cleverly the strange, exotic place pyramids and Egypt in general hold in Western culture.
Tracks vary further throughout Free Time, and each musical escapade is equally successful, original and interesting. One reason for such diversity throughout this debut is the huge selection of influences present. One minute the listener is subject to surf and country style guitars a la Cyborb Manifesto, the next, oppressive, futuristic synth timbres reverberate around the ears. The album is not a mess however. Yes, there are a huge amount of very different musical influences present, including Bjork, The Beatles, Matmos, The Avalanches, The Drums, Stereolab and The Grateful Dead, who are all audible at various points. There are also examples of other musical culture present, from folk bazoukis to Indonesian Gamelan, African tuned percussion and aboriginal music. Tracks are very varied, but each is under-pinned by subtle stylistic elements, such as the lo-fi production, the reverb-saturated vocals, and the harmonious interplay between the live recordings, the synth parts and the samples. The album is well produced throughout, without over usage of panning techniques, which can become disorientating when there is so much sound to listen to.
Free Time is a very good example of the new direction alt-indie music is heading the early part of this new decade. Tracks are complex, varied, with innumerate influences, instruments and techniques. This is everything at once, information age, highly post-modern music, and Pinkunoizu produce it very well. Every sound is well co-ordinated to create experimental music that is great fun to listen to.