Like a hooded folk drifter scaling scenery kissed by snowflakes, playing on and away from a role of fable maker, Dinky’s all-seeing, all-knowing persona does girly without the coating of everything in sugar.
As she takes the mic like she’s holding a crystal ball, the Chilean takes the forbidden path less travelled (that has routed her to New York and Berlin) on “Xanex.” The craw-sticking bass and claw fingered pop status makes her a threat in miniature, though the la-la-las on the chorus make you wonder what possible harm should could do, especially with “La Noche” whispering secrets in another tongue. With conviction and impetus, she goes for a shot of stimulation on the title track approach to broken beat-house, regaling the dance floor with her fortune telling exhalations. “Falling Angel” continues with alt-pop/club themes and soft summons in alchemy, the vocal here taking on a gentle sparkle waging an energy transfer between Alison Goldfrapp and Stevie Nicks.
The remaining folk and electronics meander into an organic yet digital steadiness of ship. Siren of the sea “Witches” watches shooting stars pass while buttons are pushed and lights blink: Dinky’s first show of vulnerability, immediately replaced by a moll in elbow length silk gloves as “Blind” enjoys a switch-up of blasé funk that extends into a purring, stretching kitten on deep house routine “Almonds.” Drowsy, dry, and as a good a sleep aid as pre-bedtime cocoa.
A deep house oasis, a blur and overlap into a blissful massaging of dancing feet, an improvised, accessible victory over doughty beats… Ryan Crosson and Cesar Merveille introduce themselves as goers with the flow, turning on-the-low drowse into pleasant giddiness. “Pending” gambols down village lanes and over babbling brooks, looking for a TV extra meal ticket as it goes. It is orderly and not just a scatterbrained wax and wane of thoughts and emotions, despite some stretches of “Again & Again” getting a juicy groove on while all around is losing it in an unruly jazz patchwork.
This is where DRM becomes less like relaxation and more like work. “No Hassle” is streaked with smoky piano and horn drones played near blindfolded, both sneaky and bold in its chatter over a routine rhythm. The 13-minute title track is less of a team player with its scrappy creativity, though once people hear the chug of the bass, as per the more tribal “Orca”, the shift as to what’s in charge is obvious.
To boost the initial feeling of freedom, passionate electronica with an IDM bent in “At The Seams” and the apprehensive “Escale” returns to telling ears to go with what they feel, able in being both alert and ready to bed you down. A little mismatched with its timings and course, but any bid to make the natural and irregular work deserves credit.
It’s not unreasonable to liken Laura Jones to the queen of deep house following releases on Crosstown Rebels and Visionquest. Does such a title translate into quieter and stormier quiet storms, and are queen and ice queen one and the same? Well, the Leeds-based spinner does do textured grooving keen to defy typecasting. Soulade’s excellent, deep to the point of sounding disgusted “Fora da Chuva” is a sure way to get noticed straight away, well followed by a Burial-like remix of Homeboy’s “Halfway” by Youandewan as dimensions and boundaries receive assertive pushes.
After such an exceptional opening, there is a pullback cooking on a lower heat, fixing heads into the accepted downward position as bass rhythms settle into fading to the black of the arena or the hazy orange of the setting sun (step up, Ultrasone’s “Here and So Far”), and the remainder of the mix, tightly prepared as it is, never quite gets back to its opening heights. At least intrigue persists elsewhere, where a thin air of mystery circulates My Favorite Robot’s storybook electro vanquisher, Polyrhythmics’ desire to float and Studio B making things go bump in the night. Overflowing with classiness for dusky stalkers and evening shade-seekers, even if, dare it be uttered, it’s a little more conformist than the opening sequence lets on. File under: Tevo Howard, Matt Tolfrey, Ryan Crosson