Review: Iceland's Olafur Arnalds (Kiasmos) and German multi-instrumentalist Nils Frahm team up again for some breathtaking excursions in classical/ambient crossover bliss. Frahm's sombre piano passages gently dance over Arnalds' serene soundscapes and eerie field recordings on this bittersweet and emotive journey. What was meant to be a one hour video recording of the duo in action turned out to be an eight hour long improvisation session and these are some of the segments of the wonderful marathon recording. We particularly enjoyed the gorgeously haunting electronic soul captured on "23:52" where those analogue synth strings just rise and rise to an epic climax.
Review: Classically trained pianist turned experimental composer Nils Frahm has previously been fairly prolific, so it's a surprise to find that Solo is his first album is some two years. As the title suggests, Solo is a wonderfully minimal, stripped back affair, full of rich, echo-laden recordings of Frahm sat playing his own piano compositions. He's a past master at creating evocative pieces with the minimal of instrumentation, and Solo is packed full of this kind of yearning, often melancholic fare. He doffs a cap to Steve Reich on the booming, circular chords and slowly shifting refrains of "Wall", while the soft focus "Immerse" is a 10-minute delight.
Review: Given his ubiquity over the last 12 months, it would be fair to call 2015 'the year of Nils Frahm'. His first release of 2016 is something of a curveball, featuring as it does new remixes of tracks from his 2012 full-length, Screws, an album that the artist says was inspired by "fans and friends". Fittingly, Screws Reworked not only contains Frahm's original album - a heartfelt, poignant collection of evocative piano compositions - but also a new disc of interpretations submitted by fans. By and large, these are excellent, and veer from dusty, spaced-out ambience (see Bug Lover's remix of "You", and Helios' string-drenched version of "Re") and hushed dub techno (the Soul Channel remake of "Mi"), to lilting modern classical (Sebastian Freij's take on "La"), and glistening, stripped-back electronica (the superb Analogue Dear interpretation of "Me").
Review: Coming from a classical piano background, Nils Frahm has certainly turned into one dark dude! Having already released plenty of works on a myriad of labels, he lands on London-based Erase Tapes with what is probably one of his wildest pieces of music to date. Spanning 12 tracks in total, Frahm goes from joyful odes to the piano over to psychedelic synth improvisations to what sound like intricate tape manipulations, nutty drum-machine programming and a bag full o'field recordings. If you're into the idea of Tchaikovsky on some serious amounts of stimulants then look no further, this guy is shaping the way pianos are played...