Freewheeling through time and space, Kris Needs continues his adventures in sound. This month: Pinhdar
Regular fondlers of this column will know the huge role my dog Jack plays in my life, from getting me through Helen’s passing to lockdown since March. So far, 2021 has been dominated by him battling his advancing years, thankfully coming through with remarkably relentless spirit.
Jack was born in Milan in 2004. His mum Lilly was owned by the lovely Cecilia Miradoli, who brought the puppy to her great friend Helen in Ibiza, where he grew up. Along with multi-instrumentalist Max Tarenzi (who raised Jack’s brother Teddy), Cecilia had an electronic art-punk band called Nomoredolls, who released an album and were popular on NYC’s CBGB/Knitting Factory circuit. By 2019, they’d become Pinhdar, had released their self-titled debut album and appeared at the London launch of my book, ‘Just A Shot Away: 1969 Revisited’, which doubled as Helen’s tribute.
So, in one of those synchronistic twists I love, Jack is indirectly responsible for Pinhdar’s truly astonishing second album ‘Parallel’ coming my way, and quickly becoming an isolation soundtrack with its beautiful psychedelic dreamscapes and Cecilia’s gamut of raw emotions.
The duo reacted to Milan’s severe, swiftly-imposed lockdown by holing up in their studio and creating their own parallel reality. They turned their sudden quarantine into, as they put it, “a universe of surreal and alien sounds and concepts” encountered in “a trip through existential anxiety, exasperated by the current social environment and dangers to both humankind and the environment… a snapshot of life experienced in 2020.”
Long admirers of Howie B (who I knew from his late 80s start with Siouxsie And The Banshees, and who is now renowned for his work with Björk, Tricky, Massive Attack, Goldie and others), they sent him their raw tracks, never expecting to hear back. Instead, Howie not only offered to mix the album, but also to pitch in creatively as producer from his studio in France.
The results are stunningly evocative. Cecilia’s riveting vocals rise from the title track’s deep dronescape, a beautiful mix of melancholy and optimism enhanced by Max’s Banshees-invoking guitar. The oceanic-deep ‘Anacreonte’, swirling ‘Glass Soul’, post-apocalyptic ballad ‘Atoms And Dust’, vulnerable ‘Corri’, radioactive throb-snake ‘Too Late (A Big Wave)’ and cinematic closer ‘The Hour Of Now’ shimmer and lunge like shadowy mood masterpieces shining a torch on dark times. Uncommonly special.
So thanks to Jack who, along with Helen’s beloved Ibiza sunsets and our much-missed Mr Weatherall, also inspired the remix Dom Beken and I did of The Orb’s ‘The Weekend It Rained Forever’.