Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm: Music for Animals Album Overview

Nils Frahm’s work lives within the grey space between ambient, neoclassical, and different gossamer kinds of experimental music. The Berlin-based composer and producer’s output tends to recall Philip Glass and Aphex Twin in equal measure, however he has launched all the things from dubby downtempo to theater scores. Although he performs on a battery of synthesizers, keyboards, and digital gizmos, he’s most intently related to the piano, each as a performer—final yr’s Outdated Mates, New Mates was simply the most recent in an extended line of solo piano recordings—and because the founding father of Piano Day, a world celebration of the instrument. However his new album, Music for Animals, options no piano in any respect. Centered on a largely digital palette, Frahm’s first assortment of recent materials in 4 years is extra evocative of Warp Data than it’s of Erik Satie.

Frahm started recording Music for Animals in the course of the first yr of the pandemic, when lockdowns put a lot of each day life on maintain, and he appears to have discovered inspiration within the solitude. His tempos are uniformly gradual, his observe lengths lengthy—4 songs run greater than 20 minutes apiece—and his patterns repetitive; he’s clearly in no hurry to get wherever. His persistence is palpable on “Stepping Stone,” the place ethereal drones are layered with jagged washes of glass harmonica performed by his spouse, Nina. Her contributions inject a welcome spirit of collaboration into the in any other case introverted endeavor, which generally dangers enjoying prefer it was conceived with out an viewers in thoughts.

As is the case with most of Frahm’s music, the items listed here are elegant and eminently tasteful, if sometimes just a little too buttoned up. “Sheep in Black and White” demonstrates his penchant for tranquility, stretching out a tentative synth riff that slowly disintegrates over the course of 24 minutes. “World of Squares” offsets lush monophonic synths with cloudy strings in a method that’s paying homage to a very refined pressure of ’90s ambient techno. Music For Animals is meditative and sprawling. However an essence of one thing cinematically sinister darts beneath its frosty floor, and this darkish edge proves to be considered one of its extra alluring facets.

Nonetheless, at greater than three hours lengthy, Music for Animals is troublesome to digest in its entirety; there’s a nice line between affected person and uninteresting. Frahm’s prolonged observe lengths are presumably meant to foster immersion, however after some time, they arrive to appear indulgent. For all of the sumptuousness of his supplies, there’s not sufficient occurring to advantage stretching them out so lengthy; sitting with Frahm’s airtight album can really feel like watching exquisitely hued paint dry.

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Nils Frahm: Music for Animals

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