Oslo’s Benjamin Finger has a new nine-track CD out today. Unlike Ghost Figures, the collection of piano improvisations reviewed here earlier in the year, this is a multi-layered work featuring electronics, strings and vocals. It is luxurious.
The first indication that this album is something special comes as “Ultraviolet light” rumbles to life. The slow build of Finger’s synth and Inga-Lill Farstad’s vocals is spell-binding. Like much of the album, the piece progresses at a leisurely, contemplative pace.
“Transparent mind” comes next, striking a similar tone. Farstad’s singing is deeper in the mix this time, with plenty of echo applied. The electronics are more involved here. Not overwhelming at all. This one demonstrates Finger’s extraordinary ability to compose calming music that’s never boring.
Things take a turn with the uncomfortably titled “Eyeball humidity.” It features acoustic guitar by Are Watle set against more challenging electronics.
“You always start” is the album’s first single and most playfully avant-garde piece. Elling Finnanger Snøfugl delivers a pitch-perfect cello performance behind a found spoken vocal and more of Finger’s synth noodling.
The album’s major work is the nine-and-a-half-minute “Misteriose Vignette Sonore.” Looped electronics are the main attraction. Too often the refuge of Steve Reich fanatics who lack the capacity to actually play, Finger delivers us a high-energy, exciting example of what a real artist can produce with the technique.
London, England-based Flaming Pines has hand-made gatefold CD-Rs available along with the digital download version.