Scale of Blindness by Benjamin FingerRelease date: February 2, 2018
Label: Eilean Records
So I thought Norwegian musician Benjamin Finger’s previous album, For Those About To Love (2017) was a bit tricky to categorise. And then his new one, Scale of Blindness, came my way. Well, it isn’t tricky. It is complicated! And at the same time, it is quite simple. In a good way, that is. Both for its complicated and simple side.
Why complicated? Because with this album Finger proves that he has a vast knowledge and understanding how music that is usually labeled as ambient has to be constructed – not simply by layering sound upon a sound that has a good modality one upon other, leaving everything to chance whether it will sound good or not. His plan seems to be to actually have a preconceived idea what a certain composition should sound like and how it fits in a scheme of things. A great example here – ‘If Memory Preserves’.
And that composition (could hardly be called a song or a tune) fits into the scheme Finger came up with for this album that could be loosely called dark dreams. While For Those About To Love was showing a contrast between light and dark, Scale of Blindness is all shades of dark. The introductory ‘Halogen Flux’ seems to portray that part of the night where you are falling asleep, but things do not seem to bode well and you simply cannot step out of it, the compositions that follow keep on drawing you in, until the concluding ‘Vanishing Faces’ makes all those dark thoughts, well, vanish.
Why simple? Well, when a musician has a thought-out concept and capabilities and knowledge to put it into action. Everything actually sounds simple, including all those actually complicated percussive sounds in ‘Vagabond Void’ that seems to fit the presented idea perfectly. And as is usually the case, the things that sound simple are the hardest ones to do.
Taken as a whole, it is easy to hear that Finger has a lot to do with film-making, and composing of soundtracks, other of his artistic activities, as Scale of Blindness could easily serve as a soundtrack to one of those early expressionist silent movies like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. And that was a great, scary movie.