Binkbeats’ Journey into Sounds
Frank Wienk, better known as Binkbeats, has made a name for himself since 2013 with his Beats Unraveled video series: live renditions of productions by the likes of Madlib, Flying Lotus, Dilla, Aphex Twin, Caribou and Amon Tobin.
Now residing in Dutch music hub Kytopia, the producer and multi-instrumentalist is in an ongoing process of releasing his own music by way of the Private Matter Previously Unreleased series.
Binkbeats is classically trained at The Royal Conservatoire, but his work is quite unclassical. First and foremost because he works with a continuously changing set of instruments, performing as a one-man-band. From a vibraphone to handmade percussion, or sometimes even a Chinese guzheng or Javanese gongs. And at times, even home-found objects are added to the mix. Anything, really, if it makes a particular sound he’s looking for. From a Slinky-toy to a typewriter.
Oddly enough, that Slinky-toy and typewriter somewhat exemplify the essence of what Binkbeats does: he collects sounds. All and any sound can be used to compose music, just like all words can be used to write a story. He doesn’t limit himself to a fixed set of instruments (or worse, what Binkbeats’ nightmares must be made of: stock libraries, sample packs or pre-programmed drums) because there are so many more sonics and instruments he wants to create with.
“Nothing on P.M.P.U. is predictable, yet every single sound feels like a logical choice.”
Whereas each Beats Unraveled edition had a clear end station (the cover), it’s much more of an open journey for his own compositions. And that’s what you clearly notice on the first two Private Matter Previously Unreleased EPs. The tracks are more like electronic soundscapes, rather than tracks with a traditional song structure. Also because not a single track is shorter than 4 minutes. The longest one, “Jake’s Journey”, even clocks in at 07.40 minutes.
All of that allows for a much more open approach to making music. Each element takes on different shapes and forms in his compositions. Take the vocals: aside of his own whispery, somewhat appealingly imperfect singing, the use of vocals shift from a basso church choir on “All The Times”, to James Blake-esque voice chopping on “The Waydown”, to a vocoder at the end of “Iniquity”.
The same goes for all percussion. The first EP opens with “Little Nerves”, by far his most uptempo track, with a broken beat underneath an avant-garde jazz-like production. It’s a complete opposite to the primitive drum on “Earth”, or the stripped-down woodblock rhythm on downtempo track “The Humming / The Ghost”. And keyboardist Niels Broos plays the synths on 3 tracks on P.M.P.U. Pt. 2, but every time it plays a completely different role in the slow buildups.
P.M.P.U. isn’t cohesive at all. And exactly that is what makes it exciting to listen to it. Every time a track is on the verge of feeling lengthy, a new sonic switches things up. Nothing on P.M.P.U. is predictable, yet every single sound feels like a logical choice. Binkbeats acts like a conductor of his own little orchestra of loops and sounds, trying to find a balance in his own musical vertigo.