My most recent encounter with the music of Justin Pinkerton was with his Futuropaco album two years ago. It was a set by the Golden Void drummer that left a considerable mark on me, and was very much part of my ‘Essential’ list for 2018.

It was also an album that, while being multi-instrumental, you could imagine was the work of a drummer… with that instrument being front and centre for many of the tracks. In his latest work, again for El Paraiso Records, however, we see him move more towards electronic textures with a series of tracks which perhaps point more to his alternate career as a composer of film scores.

I used the word ‘textures’ to describe this album because that is just what the sounds on here remind me of… they have rounded and indistinct edges… sounds that seem to merge into each other, creating a series of sonic clouds that rain their misty and edifying droplets of resonance into your ears.

In these difficult times I find myself somewhat moving to the edges of music… even more so than usual… middle of the road becomes an ever wider boulevard, while the likes of Deafbrick, with their aggressive and full-on approach, occupy one pavement along which I (angrily) stroll… the other side is made up of albums like this… soft and subtle… which provide balm to your troubles and soften the impact of what is going on in the world.

However, this album from Pinkerton is far from a passive experience… there is enough here to hold your attention… so while you do feel yourself drifting off, there is never any question of the music drifting over you… rather you come away from the whole experience feeling as if you have somehow been rehydrated.

Within this each track has its own feeling so you also get a sense of progression as you listen to it… and that variance also makes each visit to the album feel fresh as you find your mind moving round in response… yet it never falls into the trap of taking itself too seriously with a pleasing levity underlining music of the music here.

All in all, though, this is a really deep, affecting and liminal album which acts as a secluded bay from which you can stare out at a sea of hope ahead of you and put aside the reality of that land mass lurking behind.

Aak’Ab is released by El Paraiso Records

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