Benjamin Finger – Less One Knows

Benjamin Finger’s guitar compositions are washed in and stained with multiple effects. Not all of these sounds fit into the loose clothing of ‘ambient’, but Less One Knows is still able to come across as a calm and methodical record. As early as the opening track, reverb-soaked notes are swallowed up by a stinging overdrive. Distortion prickles the music with its barbed, spiky sound, making for an interesting – and unexpected – opening.

Appearing beside the guitar are electronic textures, and they help to illuminate the album. The guitar’s cleaner notes offer an artificial light – turning on a porch-light as twilight descends – because its notes are slightly off-colour and sick. Bathed in electronic torchlight, some of the textures are eerie, and other guitar-shaped wanderings appear to lean closer to shoegaze – but only lightly, as if grazing shoulders.

Vocals enter as if through a ghost box or a radio transmission, coated in a thin cloud of lo-fi static. Other tracks slide and bend, as if in a mirage – ‘Still Dreaming Green’, for example. Through its reversing background soundscapes, dispersed melodic phrases, and strangely-muffled improvisations – which are intentionally muted and held back on a leash for their own safety – Less One Knows is an interesting, curious album. Its strummed chords, improvised melodies, and leftfield vocal arrangements, which are concealed in a thick fog, are obscured by dense textures and aural anomalies. At times, it feels like a psychedelic release. Less One Knows is a versatile album. His curiosity knows no bounds, and that’s good news for listeners.

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