With Pindrops, we welcome Digital in Berlin to the fold! This is the label’s first release, out concurrently with LOUFR‘s isolated point, but only one can bear the coveted number 001, cementing bragging rights for life. Dylan Peirce‘s album is a powerhouse, a strong statement for label and artist alike. As it is also the artist’s first release, they share the excitement too.
The title refers to the management of sound. As the album begins, the sounds are pointillist and sharp. “Heights” is particularly powerful, packed with 3D micro-tones that may be doors, triggers or soda pop cans. These “minute sound effects,” or pindrops, are amplified or truncated to fit the composer’s goals. As the album develops, the artist pulls back the lens ~ like hitting the + or – on a digital map ~ to reveal broader structures. “Grains” refers to sonic snippets that form larger structures when combined; but by the end, one can identify the toll of a gong. “Strings” delves into drone, but it’s unclear if the drone is one tone or many, sourced from bees or actual strings. The cover art is just as mysterious, playing tricks on the eye. This may be a good time to share (after ten years!) that A Closer Listen‘s logo is not a swath of abstract art, but a photograph.
And then one is invited to flip the record. Yes, Digital in Berlin is going to confuse people with this one, but the label is not just digital. This inaugural release is available on white vinyl. “Cycles” and “Tides” contrast extended drones with tighter tones. Again one is invited to wonder, imagining a dragged shovel or a lonely trestle. The titles imply that all things come back around, familiar yet different, just as these sounds have done, traveling from their sources into new settings, sent out to meet new ears. A storm develops in the center of “Tides”, but by this point, one is unsure whether to trust the processing center of the brain. On Pindrops, texture and thought grow more important than note and source. The mind need not understand in order to feel. (Richard Allen)