This is a quality that I've always admired in ambient music, and by expansion also in noise and modern classical. They have the power to blend in perfectly with the surroundings and with other pieces of decent music, becoming a tremendous part of every day activities and constantly changing experiences.
Benjamin Finger is not unknown on Merchants Of Air and I think he's quite happy with the things we write about him, or at least about his music. In the past several months I've written two reviews for his albums, 'Motion Reverse' and 'Pleasurably Lost'. Both of these albums still often appear in our playlists and I have a feeling that this new album won't be any different.
Besides from blending in perfectly with other music, opener 'Headspincrawl' can perfectly stand on its own. This is the high quality ambient music we know from Benjamin Finger, driving on a pulsating but sometimes deeply hidden rhythm. It's that strange mix of uptempo bass and percussion with slow, easeful soundscapes that also gained a lot of appreciation on his previous effort and here it's no different. I love this track.
But Mr. Finger would be Mr. Finger is he didn't try to experiment and evolve as an artist. So once again we're offered a glimpse into his widespread taste of music on the rest of the album, starting with dark jazz on 'When Face Was Face'. Here the ambient turns into something reminding me of Dale Cooper Quartet or Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, which again can count on a 'like' from this side.
'Waltz in Clay' mixed modern classical music with a light form of jazz. Piano and strings are the main ingredients here, stretched out to become another beautiful piece of music that gently floats through our room. The fact that it's a bit too gritty to be really gentle doesn't matter here. We're used to a lot and for us this is relaxing music that is always welcome.
But then things get strange. Well, not really strange but surprising and totally unexpected. 'Whirlbrainpoolin' suddenly turns this album into a freejazz experiment with nervous percussion and some freaked out wind instruments. This is not easy digestible music. Even my jazz-fan friend, who was here when I was writing this review, was surprised by this sudden twist and didn't know what to make of it at first.
I'm not saying the freejazz escapades are a bad thing, not at all. It shows how much of a musical talent Benjamin Finger is. Yet, I personally prefer the beauty of a song like 'Bum Finger Notes'. This song drives on piano and minimal soundscapes and reduces the oddness of the trumpets and saxophones (or whatever he uses) to the back a bit. Here some guitar drones are added in quite a psychedelic Pink Floydian way, once again increasing the level of awesomeness.
The album closes with another brilliant piece of experimental ambient with 'Darnskullgreyness', a meditative and hypnotic piece of music which drives on drones and female chants. It's actually a nice, comforting finale for a strange trip through the mind of Benjamin Finger that has taken us to places unseen. Once again, he delivered a blissful musical experience that comes highly recommended and I am already looking forward to the next one...