Fink Fink Meets The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on Import 2LP + Download
Fink is testament to how much can be achieved when a huge talent combines with a huge appetite for work. Tirelessly creative, he's won hearts and minds over four stunning albums of his singular, 21st Century blues – as informed by the urban music of his background as the fiery, singer-songwriter template he works within.
And all this hard work is paying bigger and bigger dividends for him and his fans. In 2012, Fink performed a concert with one of the world's best symphony orchestras – the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Fink's music was rearranged for the orchestra by composer and orchestrator Jules Buckley, one of the most in-demand arrangers in Europe. He is Music Director of the Heritage Orchestra and has worked with The Cinematic Orchestra, Basement Jaxx and Arctic Monkeys, amongst others. His instinctive understanding of how to harness the huge power of an orchestra to play songs by contemporary musicians verges on the genius. Now, Ninja Tune is releasing the staggering results.
Fink's drummer Tim Thornton puts the feeling you get hearing opener "Berlin Sunrise" better than anyone. "Nothing will ever beat the first time the RCO kicked-in behind me, on that first rehearsal day. The best analogy I can come up with is this: imagine sitting in your car, pressing down the accelerator, and instead of the whirr and buzz of your ten-year-old Toyota Corolla, you get the sound and rumble of a Boeing 747 jet engine. That's what it felt like for me."
And that's what we hear as listeners to this remarkable album. Fink's raw, emotive, percussive songs have had a vast, ocean-deep power added to them. The music swells, rises, drives us forward, Fink's vocal swirling within it, guitar, bass and drums becoming elements of a giant, perfect mechanism. This is no naff fusion of disparate artforms, but rather an astonishingly effective, entirely new piece of art.
Thornton continues: "Jules Buckley's epic arrangements find intense passion in the songs, they tweak out melodies you never knew existed, they tug at heart-strings you didn't know you had." There's a truly awesome emotional power at play in this music, with songs such as "Yesterday Was Hard On All Of Us" and the classic "Sort Of Revolution" becoming things of vast beauty.
The album includes Fink songs performed with the unaccompanied band on the night, such as "This Is The Thing," and the orchestra gets its own chance to shine, performing Rouse's "The Infernal Machine" and Ives' "The Unanswered Question." The album will, like most Fink releases, come in a beautiful, high-value package that matches the music. With a booklet of photographs by Tommy N Lance, documenting the experience of putting together such a huge, complex concert, as well as liner notes by Thornton and Fink himself.