Chaz Knapp
Finger


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
December 28th, 2010 | 61 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist


Chaz Knapp floors me. He slides into his latest album, Finger, effortlessly, with more grace and poise than some musicians twice his age. The whole thing has a feeling of self-awareness and comfort, which comes as quite a shock considering the young man is merely twenty-one years of age. However, this should come as no surprise, as music, and the performance of, has been a very large part of Knapp’s life from a very young age. Picking up the guitar at age nine, the budding musician has been progressing rapidly, touching upon a multitude of genres, and even partaking in other projects as well. Even more intriguing is the fact that Knapp owns his very own label. All this is very impressive, as his accomplishments speak volumes of his capabilities as a musician, and an artist.

With his latest solo album, Finger, Knapp heavily touches upon a more lo-fi, neo-classical sound, which is conducive to some pretty beautiful moments. It’s easy to see his influences however, as there are several obvious nods to the label mates of his post-rock outfit, Our Native Brother. Honestly, there are even some moments where the resemblances are suspicious. For instance, the track “See” has some strange parallels to the Max Richter piece, “On the Nature of Daylight,” from his 2004 effort, The Blue Notebooks. Little splashes of Sigur Ros and Richter are everywhere actually, permeating in both subtle and not so subtle ways. The blatant influences don’t detract too much though, for he’s taking cues from the best in the business.

Like those he wishes to emulate, Chaz Knapp produces some incredibly beautiful music. In fact, damn near everything on Finger is beautiful. It’s execution is quite wonderful, as the album is very relaxing, and surprisingly immiscible. However, the fact that every single second of the album is soothing, chill, and pretty is sort of its undoing. The dynamics in mood, the contrast between light and dark, none of it is really there. The very artists he emulates capture the things that Knapp simply hasn’t, making his work appear to have a weak pallor in comparison. The whole affair comes off as kind of flat because of this, which is rather disappointing because it is clear that the musician has his heart and mind completely in this.

That’s really what makes Finger shine; the passion for music embedded in every note. Sure he doesn’t break down doors or blaze any trails, but Knapp clearly has invested a significant part of himself in the album. The subtle piano, the jovial violin, and every other instrument the guys throws in are all tools to accomplish his ambitions. He utilizes each instrument incredibly well, and with such a wide variety of them, the album ends up being fairly layered without sacrificing the simplistic nature. It isn‘t heavy in the least, with the cello offering most of the album‘s lower tones. The violins can sound slight, yet vigorous, which is actually a nice polarity. Yet it is the piano that steals the show. Knapp is actually a fairly skilled pianist, showcasing some proficiency, yet consistently keeping the sound in check. Rarely does he stray too far from the higher parts of the keyboard, opting for a lighter sound, rather than darker.

Finger is a very lighthearted piece, displaying the cathartic power that music can have, and allowing for the listener to take part. There are plenty of impressive moments to be had, with the more simplistic sound actually assisting the product, rather than depriving the album of depth. The electronic flourishes add a significant touch to the album, giving it the character it would be sorely lacking without them. The static, scratchiness found on “Mind” oddly compliments the frenetic violin solo early on in the track. It’s in these little details that Knapp is able to detract from his weaknesses, making each track a wonderful listen.

On Finger, Chaz Knapp manages to impress, despite the shortcomings of the final product. Parts of it are flat, and at times his inspirations are embarrassingly obvious. Added to that, the album never really transcends, as it seems fully willing to remain a neo-classical, electronic novelty. However, there is evidence of a spark; an ember of genius, just beneath the surface. The young man has aspirations, and Finger, despite its faults and missteps, is a clear indicator of that. However, with everything he does right-the beauty, style, and class, it would be wise to take note; this kid is going to make waves someday.



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user ratings (2)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 28th 2010


10663 Comments


70 reviews, what's up

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


16922 Comments


How can something be "fairly wonderful"? That's like saying, this is "decently amazing"

Other than that small thing which for some reason really irked me (I must be tired lol) this is a fantastic review. Pos'alicious. This kid sounds impressive. He's so young but has accomplished more than a lot of musicians ever will.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


10663 Comments


Haha, thanks for pointing that out. I switched "fairly" to "quite," because you're right, that really is contradictory lol.

Thanks man, appreciate it. I really enjoyed this album, but it's something I would like, so I can understand if some wouldn't, ya know?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


16922 Comments


Is it something I'd like? I'm too lazy to youtube it right now

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


10663 Comments


Thanks Sam.

Honestly I'm not sure Sowing. It's very subtle and pretty so it's kind of hard to outright dislike. But its not as mature or solid as other albums by his contemporaries.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


7321 Comments


Excellent review Xeno. As your 70th (wow, already?!) I find it a veritable tour de force of your skills in descriptive analysis. Good job sir - have a pos.

Yet, IMHO, the best part of it all is that I personally have perceived some clear improvement in your reviewing - particularly over your past ten pieces or so (beginning with Circa Survive). It's not like you were in dire need of it - you were pretty excellent (decently amazing/fairly wonderful? =p) already - but it's always a pleasure to see development, no matter how small.

I actually came on at this hour to post my 22nd review (I've been doing some travels and where I am is 1.5 hours ahead of my usual), but it turns out I'm more tired than I thought and it probably won't happen. Still, getting to read this made getting up worthwhile. (awwww....)

Cheers! =)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


16922 Comments


post it so i have something to do other than spam TDAG thread irving

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


10663 Comments


Irving you always find a way to make me blush ; )
Your constant, helpful criticism has been more wonderful than you can imagine, I really appreciate everything you say, and I mean every word of it. Thank you!

And yes, please post your review, I would love to read a good Irving review!

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


7321 Comments


It's actually pretty crap and poorly fleshed out at the moment - writing at 2.30 in the morning isn't a good idea. I really should have learned that by now lol. But I'll give you guys a teaser (haha way to do a plug! =p) since I love you both to bits:

"(potential) Summary: Introducing Mr James Hillier Blount - James Blunt to his fans and just plain blunt to the rest of us."



SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


16922 Comments


dude no f-ing way i was seriously about to review a james blunt album. i have the fucking intro written but i got tired and stopped

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


10663 Comments


Haha, what a coincidence!

"just plain blunt to the rest of us." Made me laugh haha.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


16922 Comments


irving is the nicest guy ever

yeah i always thought it was seaanemone...then it was me for a while...but irving takes the honor by far

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


10663 Comments


irving is the nicest guy ever


I second that.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


7321 Comments


@ Sowing:

LOL - let's fuck XD (joking, obvs)

Is it for Some Kind of Trouble?

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


10663 Comments


Idk Sowing, you are pretty damn friendly yourself.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


16922 Comments


no it is for his older one - all the lost souls or whatever i gave it like a 1 or a 1.5

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


10663 Comments


I heard James Blunt saved the world once. The whole fucking world.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


16922 Comments


yeah xeno but i can be a dick on rare occassions. even when irving is a dick he still is one in the most upstanding way. haha get it

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


7321 Comments


Double-post.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


7321 Comments


Gee, thanks Sam. And congratulations to Xeno and Sowing, for you have made me turn a shade of pink.

And it's "honoUr", Sowing. Heheh XD



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