Nils Frahm – All Encores - Erased Tapes Records – ERATP126LP
Encores 1, 2 & 3 tessellate impressively neatly. The throughline between them has less to do with the instrumental palette – although the fact that all three of them, whilst fundamentally different, are similarly minimalist helps – and instead is more indebted to mood and atmosphere. Encores 1 sets the proverbial stall out – piano, harmonium and not a great deal else – and now, with the benefit of a little bit of distance from its release, feels like a reaction to the density of All Melody.
The progression on Encores 2 is clear; scratchily recorded so as to pick up an underlying layer of ambient noise, there’s a touch more urgency to the compositions, more of a sense of the piano melodies actually leading somewhere. The destination is Encores 3, released now for the first time, and its pointedly experimental approach to electronics – whether that be on the beguiling glitchy vocal interlude ‘Artificially Intelligent’ or either of the quiet behemoths that follow; soft tympanic menace characterises the near-twelve minute ‘All Armed’, whilst ‘Amirador’ plays like the uncertainty after the storm, all murky, barely-there synths. In doing so, it leads us neatly back to where we started with Encores 1, to the ominous hush of wide-open spaces. All Encores demands to be heard in its entirety; this is no companion piece, but a thoughtful progression all its own.