Ben Turns 10

Category: music 252

Forward Music Group’s seminal debut, ten years on.

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Ben’s 2007 Release poster.
Mike Nason

Over a decade ago, we’d pack into Fredericton’s small venues to watch five friends play a kind of music we’d never heard. A sort of haunting, austere, electronica written with software and performed with familiar, stringed hardware. A signpost in the space between our scene’s prevalence to “jam” and something otherworldly. Something as urgent and frantic as it was peaceful and comforting.

The Fussy Part (and, later, Force Fields) were revelatory not just here, but in the whole Atlantic region. Their releases were as infrequent as their shows would become. There’s plenty of evidence of their existence, of course. Live recordings, occasional singular track releases, and youtube videos of live performance prove they weren’t ghosts. But their first release, Ben EP, remains a singular physical artifact in the band’s twelve year history.

The EP is as vital today as it was 10 years ago. The tracks are still representative of their body of work. “Dog Food Thumb” – a band staple until the very end – has always had the urgency of a runaway train. “Jesus is my Battery” is both the tranquil eye and the violent hurricane. More importantly, “Near You”, one of only two songs the band ever released with vocals, is – at the risk of extreme hyperbole – probably one of the greatest songs ever released in Atlantic Canada.

This record is more than time or place. It’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s fitting that Forward Music celebrate this release because Forward’s aesthetic as a label is so perfectly represented by The Fussy Part’s music and members. It’s an easy record to revisit. You don’t need the narrative benefit of nostalgia to enjoy it. It aged better than many of us have.

It feels good to be near it.

Mike Nason // young satan in love / fredericton / sometimes grid city

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