Dinky: Dimension D
Dimension D documents the attempt by Chilean artist Alejandra Del Pilar Iglesias Rivera (aka Dinky) to extend her DJ and dancefloor producer skills into singer-songwriter and vocalist areas. To realize the desire to take her music to a new level and loosen her ties to dance music, she spent three years working on the album—her fifth—and during that time studied jazz, classical guitar, piano, and singing. That wasn't her first exposure to formal study, however, as, growing up in Santiago, Chile, she studied ballet and the Suzuki method of piano before relocating to New York and then Berlin, where she established herself as an electronic dancefloor producer via releases on Carpark, Cocoon, Ostgut Ton, and Wagon Repair.
Though it starts underwhelmingly, Dimension D gets stronger the deeper into it one goes. The opener “I Saw” is an atmospheric ambient prelude of no great significance, and the second track, the moody ballad “Measures,” features a vocal performance that while not cringe-inducing is overly dramatic and at this early juncture has one thinking that Dinky might be wiser to emphasize singing less and instrumental design more. But the third song, “Xanex,” succeeds better in achieving a more satisfying balance between singing and the backing, which in this case receives a boost from the presence of ambient guitar shadings and a dark, bass-prodded groove that oozes a Crosstown Rebels-like flavour. Even better is the title track for the simple reason that Dinky allows her dancefloor side to come fully to the fore, with the result sounding like some cross between a typical Perlon cut and Matthew Herbert house track; vocals are still present but now used to haunting effect as a ghostly choir eerily commenting on the action (it's a formula she also convincingly revisits on “Almonds”). Interestingly, one of the best vocal performances arises in the sensual serenade “La Noche” where Dinky sings in her native tongue and delivers the lines in a breathy coo. In addition, her talents for sound design and arrangement receive strong workouts on “Witches” and “Heathrow,” and the album's often elevated by electric guitar playing as well as unusual, Theremin-like touches that surface here and there (such as on “Blind”).
Perhaps the album's best realization of pop song form is “Falling Angel,” which surprisingly enough sounds like the kind of thing Lindsay Buckingham might write for a Fleetwood Mac album—an impression bolstered by the song's harmony vocals and tremolo guitar textures. All things considered, Dinky comes close to realizing her goal as the album's not entirely successful but proves to be more satisfying than not. It's telling, though, that Dimension D's best tracks are the ones that give as much attention to her dancefloor side as those aspiring to singer-songwriter status.