Yuné Pinku – Babylon IX: Review

Yuné Pinku has been slowly making splashes in the Electronic music scene. Though not as transverse on her debut EP Bluff, she rearranges her landscapes, flattening the sonic terrain to allow the synthesizers and percussion to flood and elevate the unique world she creates on Babylon IX, her latest release. Like burgeoning producers from the UK area getting influenced by the constructive and vibrant club scene repopulating in prominence as more and more continue to make grander splashes within the Electronic Music and Pop scenes. Like those already on the forefront – Nia Archives, PinkPantheress, and Shygirl – Yuné Pinku has found opulence within her melodically driven construction; it keeps listeners engaged with the music on a level beyond the club floors and into our brain waves. As it’s been with various Electronic musicians, that bridge between club pop appeal and introspection has been the dividing factor towards where I lean, and that’s why I got hypnotized by the detailed construction, notes, and influential references Pinku weaves together.

Babylon IX is as esoteric as one could expect. Its foundation for its electronic base is more simple than it is complicated, but Yuné Pinku builds over it beautifully. It keeps a consistent cadence in the production, where percussion and synth changes feel more nuanced compared to additional programming work within some songs, like the more pragmatic “Heartbeat,” where it plays with breakbeat notes in tempo. Though delicate with its sounds, there aren’t many avenues Yuné Pinku isn’t willing to go; since she was younger, she played around with soundscapes, learning to build songs around her vocals. In an interview with NME on the 29th of March 2022, she noted, “I’ve always really liked writing, but I wasn’t making music to go anywhere. So I just started adding bits and bobs.” Ben Jolley continues by writing While she originally only utilised her vocals as a backing to her music, over time Yuné’s voice came to the forefront of her creations: “I think you can carry what you’re trying to say or what the feeling is [in your music] a bit more when there’s words to it.” 

As mentioned in the NME writer/interview with Ben Jolley, he makes this note about the song “DC Rot”: “built on piano house keys and a steady kick drum before Yunè’s nonchalant vocals chime in, an unexpected rumbling breakbeat then engulfs the atmosphere and sends the song spiralling into a different direction, before it’s then pulled back on course.” “DC Rot” is a song off her Bluff EP – as great as it is, it doesn’t have the profound nuance of Babylon IX, where the production feels more centralized and pivots to new areas to stay captivatingly smooth. Whether it’s the House percussion of “Sports” or the Trance-like nature within the non-instrumental breaks on “Fai Fighter,” the music doesn’t get lost as swiftly in repetitiveness, becoming more of a non-factor in keeping consistency. Additionally, “DC Rot” carries a specific melodic gear Yuné Pinku uses that’s audibly resonant with individual patterns, like the percussion on “Blush Cut” or subtle sub-portions of melodies within “Fai Fighter.”

From a songwriting aspect, it’s more intimate and personal, reflecting these internalized notions we harbor, like longing or the trials and tribulations of a relationship as it progresses. It’s modest and austere, with its depth coming from Yuné Pinku’s vocal performances, which have this abstentious sense of reality as it never opts to get glitzier than the production suggests. She works around the complexions of the song’s aesthetic as she finds new avenues to get enveloped in, like the Deep House notes of the opening track “Trinity” or the twinkly and glitchy EDM spirit of “Night Light.” The more you listen, the more you get hooked by its beautiful complexities, which boast the nature of Pinku’s mental progression in creating music. Like Pinkpatheress, she’s a producer/singer who’s come out of the bedroom woodwork; the approach to music is more expressive and chill, allowing the vocals to become these poignant layers that do more than just keep you entranced with the same melodic dribble. It’s what separates DJs like Shygirl, Yuné Pinku, Porter Robinson, and Yaeji from those who mastered the tried and true method like Tiesto and David Guetta.

Babylon IX is one of the more well-rounded EPs I’ve heard this year. It meets in the middle, where both sides of the construct excel beyond expectations. It’s one of those things where even if certain core aspects of the performance or its nuanced writing seem to feel lesser, you aren’t wrong for thinking so, as Yuné Pinku takes what works and uses its strengths to make sure what we hear is what was intended. Its hypnotism is at a peak; at 24 minutes, it doesn’t feel like a quick breeze in the park but more spaced out and ingestible. I’m excited to hear where Yuné Pinku goes next in music, but one thing is for sure, if she ever tours the States, know I’m going to try hard and be there.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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