Benni Hemm Hemm could be forgiven for thinking I’d taken against him, given he has lived in Edinburgh for something like two years now, has been playing and releasing pretty much as an Edinburgh artist, and plays exactly the kind of music I love and… I’ve written nothing about him at all.
Not that I have any obligation, but it seems strange to me. I’ve known of him, I really like the guy, and for some reason I’ve never really seriously made the time to sit down and really try and engage with his music. Sometimes all it takes is a hook, or a trigger.
This EP, I am pretty certain, is that trigger. It’s really lovely, and I have just ordered it on vinyl, for extra listening pleasure. Piano and subtly layered harmonies form the base of most of these songs, and they either remain as downbeat introspections such as Blood of My Blood or Church Loft, but other build into gentle crescendoes, instrumentally driven and far from urgent, but with a depth and insistence that slowly and softly turns the screw until you finally realise that you’ve been gripped.
It’s a bit like boiling a frog actually. The music is so gentle and raises its intensity so slowly that it’s actually surprising how loud some of the more powerful moments are, because they emerge from such a languid beginning.
It could even be Scottish, honestly, as could many North Sea and Baltic releases. There are definitely differences, obviously, but there seems nevertheless to be a kinship between the various kinds of music. Maybe it’s the dark, maybe the cold. Portland shares a similar kinship with Scotland if you ask me, which I tend to think might be related to the rain.
All the more shame on me, then, for being so slow to pick up on this.
Photo Credit: Benni Hemm Hemm