Mr. Fingers - Cerebral Hemispheres
Larry Heard is already a House Music legend and his Mr. Fingers moniker needs little introduction. This new record however switches things up and really digs in to the atmosphere creating to a super high degree. Instead of just putting breaks on the floor and getting the party rolling Mr. Fingers is more concerned with cultivating a vibe that is as beautiful as it is dancable. This album creates almost elevated lounge music, or elevator music that is palatable for everyone while still including some beats that house heads will recognize. The arrangements are jazzy and complex complete with clean guitar lines and saxophone to ease you into submission. The thing about Cerebral Hemispheres is it is so insanely boring. It lulls you to sleep from almost the first note. It is infinitely pleasant. but does nothing to surprise you or even try to keep your interest. The album is so content to stay at this one note, with just occasional vocal punctuation. Sometimes a synth will come in and go on a run like on "A Day in Portugal" but that is about the only exciting, or really even interesting thing. The thing about this record however is that it is impossibly long at an hour and forty minutes. Nothing shifts or changes throughout, just a constant barrage of the same lounge music over and over again. This would work in the corner of a hip hotel, or on some easy listening station, but as a record you will find yourself going back to again and again, not so much. The more techy songs like the title track still lack a depth to really set them apart and what you are left with is some background music that is fine as long as you don't have to focus on it.
It takes until about the tenth track before you finally find some solid techno, something to make you feel like this music has some relations to Mr. Fingers at all. That's a hell of a long time to wait just to get to some juicy nuggets. The second half of the record is far more exciting and diverse, but by this point you are lulled to sleep it's hard to even give a shit. The hype is only momentary lasting only a few tracks before it slips back into some neo-jazz or some kind of weird vibe. The album is just overwhelming in it's monotony. I'm sure you could take a deep dive on what Mr. Fingers is trying to do, the genres he's exploring and the atmosphere he creates, but you have to wade through a mile of muck just to get there. None of it is worth it and the highs are not nearly satisfying enough to make up for the bewildering middles. This is an album from someone who really things they have a knack for making sophisticated music, but in the end it's all to heady to truly enjoy. There may be some people who can enjoy this record for all of it's "cerebral" mystique, but I am not one of them. I don't think you are either.
5.0 out of 10