Nils Frahm: All Melody (Erased Tapes) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Nils Frahm

All Melody

Erased Tapes

Jan 26, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It might be best to think of Nils Frahm’s new work as a passageway that you’re willing to go down just to see where it leads. Passive listening yields to Frahm’s wandering transmissions. In the way appreciation for some things gradually builds as you release resistance, like the opera for some, Frahm’s long patient recordings (six of the twelve tracks eclipse seven minutes) sneak through to mingle with your inner thoughts.

The opera reference can be extended further, where All Melody can be looked at as bordering acts of three songs of a constant shade of genre or melodic pattern and tone. After an extended mood setting intro, we follow Frahm into a vacuum where the kind of solo piano sojourn that Bill Evans would take and free jazz trumpet sketches quietly reverberate on “My Friend the Forest” and “Human Range” respectively. A defining and pleasing characteristic of a Nils Frahm piano solo are the audible noises of a human playing it, with the creaks of wood and plucks of petals and struck strings.

The most entrancing act of the journey is through “All Melody,” “#2,” and “Momentum,” where Frahm’s audio becomes visual. Transitions feel like those between scenes in a film. Tracks leave trails that can be followed into zones that connect ones that follow. Here, his spool of smooth single-tempo surface doesn’t stop unrolling. He watches it in motion, quietly considering how to alter its course or imbue scenery, throwing in expressions of keys and winds of ambience.

You can just picture Frahm locked in the domain of his own fountain. As ever he is occupied with the lingering presence of notes and how they cling to the faint threads of sound before dissolving. Eddies that circulate in their own essence. In the cravasses formed by his metronomic ambience twirls rhythm, at times with a Latin sense. But drums are not useful to Frahm. Instead, syncopated phantom suggestions of percussion forms a rhythmic trampoline of sorts, where melodies can high step.

These are nocturnes that cover ground like a true tracker. Frahm can get a little lost in his acreage and compositions might benefit from the fences of editing but transportation requires a sense of adventure and following Nils Frahm has hidden rewards. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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