Benjamin Finger’s 10 marks the artist’s tenth contribution to the album format with a collection of songs that once again highlights the artist’s flouting artistic nature. From Woods of Broccoli to Amorosa Sensitiva Benjamin’s music only ever conforms to the moment he is working in, always exploring new boundaries where none were before as he continually adapts his sonic signature to his current creative frame of mind. With the Norwegian label Sellout! Music, Ben has adopted a very tongue and cheek approach to this latest album, with an emphasis on distilling a sense of unexpected fun from every moment on this album. There’s that undeniable charm Ben infects in all his music, but on this occasion he expounds on this with a sense of whimsy and amusement like never before. Listening to Geek the Freak with its start/stop behaviour, its simple percussive allure and the elevating melodies that get pieced together like cotton candy swirling around a stick, we find something immediately captivating about 10. It keeps you locked in not by way of immersive textures or introverted, nerdy musical ability, but rather by way of its extroversive nature. 10 fascinates and intrigues, not for its insightfulness or eloquent manner, but rather for its unpredictability, its I-wonder-what-it’s-going-to-do-next nature, which Ben pulls off remarkably well here. After all, to be this random, requires a lot of skill.
If you’re looking for the more reserved legato improvised moments of Amorosa Sensitiva or the restrained piano beauty of Listen to my Nerves Hum you might find it in moments like Ibitchian Raper or the beginning of Freefloater, but 10 is quite a departure from anything Ben has done in the past. It recounts his mantra of “everything is allowed” with the artist applying that to everything from genre and style to musical traditions on this occasion. There’s a sporadic kind of suspense Ben creates on 10, not dramatic in nature, but rather a playful engaging kind of unpredictability that keeps you on the edge of the seat through each track. Elements come together from the farthest reaches of the artist’s creativity in a kaleidoscopic diorama, which he creates from the finest electronic particles building on each other to create an immense textural depth. There’s something innocent about the blissfully simplistic elements that make up each track, which then complicates in the bigger context of each song. Tracks like Kangaroo Court and Kiddie Ninja Weekend start in a very innocent subtle moment that then entangles with each new element and mutates as the song continues to progress. Each new phrase builds on something greater while braking down the preceding phrase, taking tracks from ambient atmospheres to complex rhythmically muddled beat-tracks that open up a wormhole to new atmospheric dimensions. Parts interlace each other working together through sections, while at other times they juxtapose each other, opening the rabbit hole further with each development until your left standing on the edge of reason where a fluffy psychedelic world awaits the listener.
10 is definitely like no other Benjamin Finger album out there, and the furthest the artist has travelled from a sound that usually favours the legato and the beat-less. Ben’s exploratory nature and wistful musical focus, remains central on 10 however and as that it’s an unmistakeable Benjamin Finger album. It infects everything with Benjamin’s unique musical charm and 10 adds yet a new dimension to the scope of the artist’s creative-voice and leaves us with only one question hanging of our lips; “I wonder what he’s going to do next.”