(New Album Review) Benjamin Finger- 9,5 [EP]
Oslo-based netlabel mainstay Benjamin Finger is one of the few electronic musicians around these days definitively worthy of the label of “true original”. And yet his self-professed list of influences is a dizzying, only superficially incoherent array from Autechre to Oneohtrix to John Zorn that says quite a bit (without saying too much) about the manic textural eclecticism of this guy’s work. Here’s someone who’s into just about everything you could be into in music, and then re-assembles what he gets out of music as something so utterly vivid and dynamic, seemingly not beholden to any idiom in particular. There was the jazzy, then ambient, then spattering collage-electronica of 2011’s excellent For You, Sleepsleeper, off How is Annie Records. Then in 2015, there was the gently ebbing, tactile, modern-classical-influenced Amorosa Sensitiva, for Blue Tapes. And if you had any doubts that his new EP for Sellout! Music 9,5 was going to be something easy to pigeonhole, just look at that cover. A dog taking a crap. On putting music in a box without actually caring about it. On giving music a numbered score. I love it.
9.5 is all neon confetti and bubbling, bouncing textures. On the single “Pˈɒp mjˈuːzɪk”, a pounding nightclub rhythm gradually ascends into reverie alongside breathy sampled vocals and psychedelic swirls. The general vibe continues as something considerably more calmed-down on the extended mix of “Party Corpse”, a warm, starry-eyed ambient techno soundscape that serves as the perfect lead-in to the resplendent noisiness of the candy-colored closer “Orange Monday”. There’s some really ingenious use of sampling here that can’t be denied, but honestly it’s all so darn pretty and, well, fun it would be hard to know where to start in picking out all the expertly-juxtaposed elements. Now, take a gander at the music video for “Pˈɒp mjˈuːzɪk” first. Enjoy.