REVIEW: Julien Dyne – Pins & Digits

Originally released in October 2009 through BBE Records, Pins & Digits is Julien Dyne’s debut album and the follow-up record to his critically acclaimed EP Phantom Limbo.

Call me a xenophobe but I didn’t consciously listen to any music from New Zealand until I heard Pins & Digits by New Zealand’s (adopted) son Julien Dyne. But, many music lovers across the world listed Pins & Digits in their Top 10 releases of 2009.  If I had heard it in 2009, and most importantly if I enjoyed making lists, I too would have placed it in my Top 10 albums of last year.

Pins & Digits, it’s also worth noting, is the soulful electronic creation of a former Red Bull Music Academy participant, percussionist and producer who has worked with the likes of Opensouls, Fat Freddy’s Drop and The Tornadoes & Tyra Hammond.

Tracklisting:

01. Steel Legs 11
02. Layer feat. Mara TK
03. Board Forge [Interlude]
04. Incredulous
05. Deaky
06. Stained Glass Fresh Frozen feat. Mara TK
07. Conglomerates
08. Fallin’ Down feat. Parks
09. Behind The Forage
10. Toothnail [Reprise]
11. The Jung And The Fine
12. New New Zealand
13. Spirits
14. Stained Glass Fresh Frozen feat. Mara TK (Submariner Mix)

I have listened to this record at least six times from beginning to end since receiving it; this is no minor compliment because I have an extremely short attention span, so believe me when I tell you that this album is golden. Each track is a magnificent display of slick and soulful production. The key tracks are Layer, and Stained Glass (which both feature the blissful vocals of Mara TK from Electric Wire Hustle), Deaky, Conglomerates, Incredulous, and a downtempo beauty featuring Parks of Ladi6 on vocals called Falling Down.

mp3: Julien Dyne – Layer feat. Mara TK

I hate labels, I’d sooner say a song sounds like “cheese running away from its nightmares” than place it in a restrictive straight-jacket, more commonly known as a ‘genre’. For those who think the way I do, I’d say that Pins & Digits sounds like space exploring tribal percussionists that have worked out how to unleash rainbows without rain or sunlight. Those that like conventional labels could describe Pins & Digits as an amalgamation of future funk, jazz, hip-hop, glitch with a whole lot of warmth and soul – It’s just magical!

  • Anonymous

    You summed up the album brilliantly. It’s a real grower too. One of those releases where the more time you give it, the more you end up getting out of it.

  • jeej

    You summed up the album brilliantly. It's a real grower too. One of those releases where the more time you give it, the more you end up getting out of it.