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Pinkish Black Hone Their Experimental “Dial Tone” in New Music Video

pinkish black concept unification

Pinkish Black have been away for a while now. The four years that passed since their previous record, their Relapse Records debut Bottom of the Rainbow, may as well have been an eternity ago, given the amount of political and social upheaval that has followed in unending waves since then. Thankfully, their music speaks well to these notions of desolation, and neither their new record Concept Unification nor the debuting track “Dial Tone” below seek to change those associations.

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Where other tracks on the record explore the post-Steve Moore/post-Emeralds noise-influenced synth soundscape realm in its various forms, “Dial Tone” focuses very specifically on doom metal associations. The distorted bass guitar that underpins the back half of the slow dirge definitely contributes to that sense of foreboding red and blue neon mist lingering in digital graveyards, as does the patient plod of the drums and the dramatic piano. The synthesizers meanwhile feel like something out of a 1970s science fiction novel cover, the era where slipstream was king and heady literary genre psychedelic trip-outs were the norm.

Pinkish Black predated synthwave and don’t feel a need to include it in their broader sound; it’s roughly the same set of sonic and aesthetic influences anyway, and Pinkish Black were already here first and finding comfortable acclaim in their work, so what would be the use? When you have an ear for tone-shaping the way Pinkish Black does and as keen a mind for arranging as the duo has, there’s no reason to upend your sound. Change is for when something is broken or loses its flair, and despite the relative simplicity of Pinkish Black’s ideas for sonic aesthetics and arrangements, they have few in the way of clear peers, meaning that the ideas don’t get worn out or lose their power.

“Dial Tone” is just as evocative as any of the earlier tracks of the band’s body of work and a perfect representation of how Concept Unification is a strong return for a band that seems to have missed the end of the world party. It announces that they are back without one whit of lost power, ironically returning to a world that at last has embraced the synth-drenched post-digital psychedelic dream they’ve always operated in. Hopefully it presages an uptick in interest in the perennially underrated group and sparks interest in those wondering how their work pans out live.

Also, I can attest from years of seeing them perform that the duo nail that funny heavy synth trick where your psychic association with your body ceases and your spirit seems to shake loose clean and sober into the wavering ether, and one can only imagine the mystifying calming light that will wash over the crowds as this one roars out from the speakers in cramped clubs and smoke-filled concert halls across America.

Concept Unification releases June 14th via Relapse. Follow the band on Bandcamp.

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