Benjamin Finger first came onto my radar with the release of “Listen To My Nerves Hum” on Time Released Sound in 2013. Since then his work has appeared on labels such as Oak Editions, Eilean Rec, Flaming Pines and this release comes via the Berlin based For/wind label.
“There are multiple ingredients and influences in evidence across the four pieces as he brings together busy ambience with electro-acoustic and modern classical elements. Recorded and mixed in Oslo, Into Light is a classy meld of analogue synths, guitar and field recordings with vocals by Inga-Lill Farstad and cello by Elling Finnanger Snøfugl. A deliberate symmetry is at play in the albums breakdown into two short pieces followed by two sprawling tracks that build up like a slow movement towards a point of no return.“
Finger offers an interesting take with having two short pieces and two long pieces. The obvious comparisons can be made about length and conciseness, but all four appear to be cut from the same cloth. Finger has an exploratory free wheeling sound which is not fixed to any particular sound. The tracks move rather easily over various territory, sound and tones with the two longest pieces adding in extra elements such as vocals and uses them as a strong focal point.
The opener “A Glimpse” brings with it a bustling sound, one which feels like a soundscape of a busy public space. Tightly coiled sound buzz and clang while dubby psych like synth swirls around. Texturally the piece feels contained with a tight sphere which helps create this bustling feel within the track. If you were to slap a genre description on it the closest would be experimental/drone as it has the techniques and style of drone music. But this would also somewhat undersell it. As Finger is a film maker as well to could see it as a soundtrack to a distant future.
“Gravity’s Jest” never lets you make assumptions about it as they ardently prove to be wrong. Cello, electronics and field recordings provide the core of the elements, furthering another world. The mournful cello drones rise and fall intermittently joined by electronic motifs that sound like transmissions from somewhere else. Eerie soundscapes that replace the electronics bring a damp and slightly cold feeling to the procession. The elements music is moves ever so slightly gradually getting darker and darker as extra sounds filter in. With the last five minutes of the track it feels like you are listening to a new piece. Electronics that swirl in loop like darkness, piano and vocals by Inga-Lill Fastard turn the music into a piece that sounds like ghostly apparitions.
The title track “Into Light” is dominated by progressions of synth that have a weighty feel about them. The track feels entirely composed of synth lines combined together as they roll and flow over each other. The playing is rather fluid, while loops emerge within them. The main synth line that opens the piece is the type that could literally take the track in any given direction, one of which I was thinking was a colder synth electronic/drone piece, before becoming the layered piece we hear.
“Paradox Route” mixes the ethereal quality of Inga-Lill Fastard’s looped vocal recordings with chimes, Vladislav Delay like dubbiness, ambient swirls and buried deep underneath a gentle squall of sound. Rumbling gritty sounds give the track a physical feel while the vocals and the way they are used feels like recordings that have been played , reversed, chopped and reconstituted as an instrument. Elling Finnanger Snøfugl’s cello makes a welcome return with feverish sounds that have a similar sort of feel to that of the vocals. Towards the end of the piece you get a small section that feels more traditional before the experimentalism once more creeps in to finish the track off.
Finger’s music definitely resides in the experimental field of sound. Of the releases I have heard from him, none have been predictable or lead you down a certain sonic path. For that matter each release has their own sound, which possibly may be a help and a hindrance as tying them together as a ouevre might be difficult. What they all represent may just be in the mind of Finger himself, which is no bad thing.
“Into Light” is available on LP/Digital via For/wind.