Benjamin Finger

The Bet

A psychedelic trip, The Bet lulls you in with its opening piano-stained notes, but it then inverts into a strange, swirling spiral. Voodoo dolls slide into the void, blank eyes concealing blank thoughts as they whizz down a steep helter skelter that’s yet to pass its quality control and safety inspection. What The Bet doesn’t tell you is that from this point on your date with reality has been cancelled until further notice; what you were expecting never happens. Reality is left at home.

Finger’s music is the kind of disturbing telepathy you’d find living inside a strange dream that at the time feels incredibly eerie, incredibly real. The hairs shoot up on the back of your neck, and you just know someone’s behind you; your mind finds the frequency and then is tuned like a radio into your sensitive sixth sense. You never trust the one with the power: it’s likely to be abused.

Cool piano notes slide downwards toward the unusually thin door, slightly warped and set at a strange, glancing angle. The Bet leads to another dimension. Good luck on finding the exit. Finger’s door leads us deeper down the rabbit hole; an experimental land that is richly evocative of the cooler Norwegian clime like that of Finger’s homeland, and yet it is at times as wispy as a fluffy cloud on a bed of pillows – as thin as the doorway – ethereal, light and not necessarily cold or brooding like fellow Norwegians Deaf Center. The piano melodies stray towards the bleak light, black circling birds that loop overhead, creating their own music with cacophonous caws; nature’s dissonance. Thick forests conceal the stalker, but telepathy knows no bounds.

The sheet of ‘Sulfurous Fog’ can’t quite hide the young, feminine voice, but it’s too vague to tell if it’s Alice herself. The ambient layer droops behind the track like a long, crimson gown worn by a dreamy princess, her golden, flowing hair hiding some false Medusa charm. Her rushed footsteps dart over the ground in the shape of a steady, cloaked beat. Unfinished melodic patterns come and go, skittering around the cloudy track with no real tangent. A warm, wavy line of synth emerges, ala BoC, but the beat has disappeared, turned to crumbling stone at the very sight of it.

The fluttery vocal is back on ‘Time Steps’. A lighter colour emerges, and its appearance ushers in a rosy ambient tone, taking the eerie experiments away. It’s the cute bunny with the big, round eyes and the quivering nose. Aww! ‘Care of Motion’, though…well, that is something entirely different. Innocence has gone, the cute corrupts and the lighter ambient atmosphere has been thrown into the fire. It’s a dreamy world, but one not without its terror. You can feel the silky fur of a creature tickling – no, stroking – the back of your palm as you walk through fields of no particular colour; monochrome tones against an angelic female vocal hide an indistinct vocal path that keeps the rest of its holy harmony hidden. Rhythms reverse, as if they were trying to back-track or to somehow wrestle from sleep, from the nightmare. The controlling menace doesn’t seem to mind. And just as we try to find an exit, the music turns into a house (or forest) of mirrors, where every possible door holds nothing behind it apart from prison bars, and the only cabin in sight is made out of confectionary.

The coda seems to change its tune halfway through; Finger blends the angelic vocal, the stuttering electronic rhythm and the lines of synth, bringing them together in a fascinating climax, with the final chance of escape as a reward and a mad dash towards the only door remaining. You lost the bet. Like a beloved trick from a sadistic magician, the music starts to evaporate in an inflating cloud of smoke and – poof! – it disappears.

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