(Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records, 2015)
Have you ever wanted to take a long, meandering walk on a snowy winter night? Well, if you have wanted to, I hope you didn’t let the lack of a proper soundtrack hold you back. But if it did hold you back, fear not! Benjamin Finger is here and he’s got the solution you’ve been waiting for!
Really though. Benjamin Finger’s Amorosa Sensitiva is everything you should expect from a competent, experienced, and creative electronic musician. It’s a brilliantly eclectic mishmash of emotionally charged tunes, and the comparisons in my mind as I listened ranged from Photophob’s more ambient work to Sonny Rollins’s expressive saxophone style, with many stops along the way.
There’s no talking about this album without acknowledging what a beautiful head trip it is. Every song plays against the others in an off-balance harmony. Soft music with a note of melancholy serenades us, only to be offset by layers of frantic rhythms clashing just below the surface. Cymbals are tapped lightly in the background; horns screech at us in the foreground; all around us are the echoing notes of an electric guitar, picked with moody precision, and repeated into infinity.
As I looked through Benjamin Finger’s list of “influences,” I couldn’t help but laugh, because it’s really a perfect representation of what his music is: an incredibly varied hodge-podge of greatness. Included in the list are: Sun Ra, Panda Bear, Chopin, Mingus, Hal Ashby, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Paul Thomas Anderson, and MANY more. (Props on the great taste in movies, btw, Benjamin Finger. Kieslowski is the man!)
Listening to Amorosa Sensitiva is like going on an emotional roller-coaster, with nothing but sound and our own imaginations. The depth and range of feelings heard throughout this handful of songs is really amazing. If I had to pick a favorite song of the album, it would be “Bum Finger Notes,” because I think it does a wonderful job of encapsulating the wavering melancholy of the entire album. The beautiful piano notes, so delicately picked out. The undertone of an out-of-control horn fading in and out underneath. The lonely plucking of an electric guitar, and in the end, the only sound to answer it back is its own echo.
But really, to pick out a favorite is foolish, because as soon as each next song comes on, you’ll have a new favorite.
RIYL: Photophob, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor