Review: Benjamin Finger – For You, Sleepsleeper

The music of Benjamin Finger is often like a mash of dissociated elements, torn from their original source and desperately trying to incorporate themselves in new pieces. Fragments of drumbeat enter at jarring tempos, melodies make wary ascensions on tenuous foundations of free-flowing harmonies, and the album works best when you can really hear the music hesitantly assembling itself – staggering to its feet and collapsing in on itself in an eternal cycle of trial and error.

Ambient electronica is at the core of all this: synthesisers and electro-beats placed in the complementary company of acoustic guitars, pianos, glockenspiels and various other pieces of acoustic instrumentation. It’s a similar timbral palette to that utilised by the likes of Four Tet and Solar Fields, although the context in which it is used puts a lot of distance between Finger and these artists. Ever during its most beat-driven stretches, For You, Sleepsleeper never feels like music to dance to – it’s too brittle, and each metronomic bass drum thump brings the compositions ever closer to the inevitable collapse.

In fact, the more assertive the album sounds, the less interesting it becomes – rhythm is occasionally granted too much of a foothold, steering the music into floaty, directionless jams that pale in comparison to the album’s more careful and delicate compositions. Thankfully, these are rare enough to ignore for the most part (“Without Finger Features” and “Drowned In Elbows” are the only two main culprits), and overall, For You, Sleepsleeper leaves the listener charmed by and addicted to its hesitance and fragility.