Whether De Ambassade or Dollkraut, Pascal Pinkert sways between dystopia and escapism

Foto: © De Ambassade
Pascal Pinkert has been known in the musical Underground of the Dutch Scene for quite a while. Beside projects like Dollkraut, he is soon releasing his second album »The Fool« with De Ambassade.

Dystopian alien-sounds whistle into the void. Suddenly, the voice from a radio interrupts the ghostly silence. Quietly, it starts to rattle metallically: »If you don’t have real drums anymore, you would use what is left behind! We metaphorically use the rest of the human existence«, says Pascal Pinkert, mastermind behind bands like Dollkraut and De Ambassade. The latter are soon to release their second album »The Fool« on Optimo Records. 

Pascal Pinkert is much less serious than he appears, judging from his music. While it starts snowing in Amsterdam during our Zoom-Call, the Dutch producer declares that he is more of a summer person. The musical spectrum on which the DIY-musician ranges is as contrary as it is undefined: »To be honest, it is, because I just like the process of moving on. So, I stopped bothering about genres.« 

From Picture to Storytelling 

Between dark minimal wave and the legacy of the Dutch DIY cassette scene of the 1980s, Pinkert likes to move in the darkness of the dance floor: the sound sways between social critique and escapism. The EP »Bitte Everyday!«, recently released as DJ Europarking, shoots more in the direction of six o’clock morning ecstasy. The change of identity from Dollkraut or DJ Europarking to De Ambassade shows another side of Pinkert that is just as important to him: »Dollkraut came from the dancefloor. Going on stage with De Ambassade is a different storytelling. Music-wise, De Ambassade is more serious.« 

»I could also put on an alias for an ambient record. I love it! I don’t really care: if I like it, I explore it.«

Pascal Pinkert

Without understanding the lyrics, »The Fool« paints a dystopian picture that is eerie and captivating at the same time. The music alone carries the narrative. Be it a metal sheet simulating thunder, or alarming Synths resembling distant sirens. It is the atmosphere that immediately sucks you in: Suddenly you are the last person on earth. Pascal Pinkert describes himself as a visual person. He first must see the picture before he can approach it musically. Unlike other DIY artists, the sound of The Ambassade seems almost cinematic: an adjective that pleases the cinephile musician. 

Dystopia and Melancholia

»I very deliberately wanted to go towards that dystopian stuff. I had images in my head from collapsing new buildings or a farm that is destroyed, far away from the city. All those feelings blended into the album.« The record therefore is »heavier« than its predecessor »Duistre Kamers«. The artist has not left the dark chamber yet: although nightlife and DJing remain passions, Pinkert shifts the weight to De Ambassade. »There is just too much going wrong in the world right now. It sounds cheesy, but we are just sensitive people. That’s what moves us.«

Although Pinkert and his bandmates – keyboarder Suzie Hagens und Jippe van Niel on bass – deal with political issues, the music does not seem »brainy« at all. The musical interpretation is more a reflection of the outside than an intellectualization. »Musically it would sound very different, if we would live in a more perfect world. « The dystopian thinking is the result of the melancholic feeling that seems so overflowing nowadays. The nostalgia of Pinkert’s music stands for an escape forward: a future we do not want to imagine. 

De Ambassade is just as »gothy« as it is »genre-fluid«. The fact that the musician and his projects are mainly ascribed to the minimal DIY niche seems arbitrary according to his understanding of music: »I could also put on an alias for an ambient record. I love it! I don’t really care: if I like it, I explore it.« It therefore remains exciting to see which musical fields the Dutch producer will dive into in the future.