It's a well-known fact that artist/orchestra collaborations have about a fifty-fifty shot at success; too often the former can't resist the temptation of over-elaboration offered by the latter. For Fink - AKA Fin Greenall - we're pleased to say that here quite the reverse has ended up being true. Brought up in the West Country but via University of Leeds, Fink is one of the original pioneers of 'intelligent' dance music which began in the early nineties. A career spanning two decades has seen a distinct refinement of his sound into something profoundly earthly, his smoke dripping vocals and world weary acoustics leaving the narrow horizons of laptronica a world behind.
When offered the chance to work with Holland's revered Royal Concertbebouw Orchestra, it seemed like an opportunity to take the introspection that had flecked 2011's 'Perfect Darkness' album and broaden its spectrum; part concert, part multimedia event, the evening's work is captured here on something as humble as the good old CD.
In format, the evening wasn't solely Fink's, with half a dozen of his own songs (arranged by Jules Buckley of the Heritage Orchestra) accompanied by two pieces from the Dutch collective themselves, along with a versioning of Henry Purcell's 'What Power Art Thou'. Whilst it might seem a little churlish to describe them as instrumentals, those pieces on which Greenall is absent are much more for the purist; 'The Infernal Machine' spiralling into quiet/loud phases alive with menace and crescendo, whilst 'The Unanswered Question' is more indebted to richer atmospherics and a sultry mood.
Continue reading: Fink - Fink Meets The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Live Album Review
Fin 'Fink' Greenall is signed to Ninja Tune, used to be a trip-hop DJ, and now crafts quavering guitar-based music, which means that all critics are mandatorily required to refer his music as 'folktronica'. Between you and me, this is a little misleading: his songs owe little to electronica, aside from the odd synthesised swish or functional, unobtrusive beat. Greenall's principal influences seem, rather, to be unadulterated folkies, the old school dreamy strummers rather than the beat-generating machine-melded new school. Those bearded reference points, all of them aged in oak casks and one hundred percent organic, include Nick Drake and, most obviously, John Martyn circa the wonderful 'Solid Air'. Martyn's rolling, blues-inflected vocals, at once dark and soothing, his drifting, circling guitar, and his fusing of blues and English folk are faithfully replicated throughout Perfect Darkness (although Greenall finds no room for piano or saxophone). It's a good replica, and if you're not familiar with the songs which have inspired Fink this album might sound revelatory, but if you've spent time with his influences you're more likely to sigh at the over-familiarity of the musical ground being covered.
Continue reading: Fink, Perfect Darkness Album Review
Distance and Time
Fink is Fin Greenall, a singer-songwriter and DJ from Brighton, whose mahogany voice recalls a more serious Jack Johnson, a Dave Matthews, a funkier John Martyn or a deeper, more soulful Jose Gonzalez. Distance and Time itself recalls the more recent, more mellow, Dave Matthews a great deal - as a singer-songwriter, Greenall's soulful voice draws the listener in with its hypnotic rhythms below. If anything, Distance and Time has a lot more in it than any recent Matthews release - the songs come strong and deep. Opener Trouble's What You're In, This Is The Thing (used perfectly in a Mastercard ad), If Only and Blueberry Pancakes is a run of songs matched by very few British singer-songwriters these past few years.
Lyrically, there is a great Lilly Allen edge to the realism - Blueberry Pancakes touches on some heartfelt honesty in its recollections. If there is a criticism, it is that the album runs the same vibe throughout - there isn't much change of pace or slackening of the tension. Distance and Time is Fink's most mainstream album, and his best - this is an album that should enjoy a wider audience.
Continue reading: Fink, Distance and Time Album Review
Distance and Time
Fink is back with a new album 'Distance And Time'. Indeed the success of his first album 'Biscuits For Breakfast' propelled this outfit to fame out of nothing. I'm sure he couldn't have predicted playing a plethora of great gigs and festivals and supporting Zero 7 without ever having played a gig with his band before. It must have been quite overwhelming.
Obviously one would learn a lot as a band playing to huge crowds and watching the reaction of the music lovers. This album is all about a live band sound that could play to a large crowd. 'Distance And Time' is though a wonderful collection of songs that have sweet serenity and honest conviction. There's genuine folk soul and moody blues. The lyrics are warm and have a positive vibe yet questioning perspective. It's very much from the Jose Gonzalez skool of thought. The music is subtle yet engrossing that focuses on acoustic sounds with the attitude of John Martyn and also a dub element from the soundsystem. It's all good.
Yes I'll say it again Fink is all good. There's no denying there's some genuine soul coming through on 'Distance And Time'. It's all very soothing, real and the honesty of this outfit is too original to ignore.