Another installment of the intimate improvisational collaboration series between Erased Tapes figureheads Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm. The material on Loon came about from a couple of days spent with some new synthesisers and a few effects units. The results are delicate, beautiful and explorative. 12” on Erased Tapes.
7/10 Laurie Staff review, 30 September 2015
On Loon, ol-buddy-ol-pals Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm take a break from celebrating piano day/year, using the fat stacks gained from the last 7” to splash out on some new synths. Woohoo! New stuff! Knobs! Except that this was made a year ago now, so they’re probably gathering dust while being crushed under the weight of a mini grand. U guyz.
The pieces here are all suitably emotional electronic miniatures, featuring some very melodic synth use, none of that abstract noise nonsense. 2nd track ‘Three’ is a hazy wall of more or less a single chord, a blissful one at that, with some simple repetitive clicking and throbbing moving it forward. Next track ‘Wide Open’ sees Frahm & Arnalds doing their best impression of labelmate Rival Consoles, albeit less daring and more desolate. The harmonic progression is nice but they could have done something better production-wise, especially when they’re encroaching on the territory of a fledgling electronic master. Let’s see what the B has to say. A deep arp akin to Raica’s ‘Tiwie’ kicks off what becomes a minimal techno tune - I forget that they’ve kinda got that in common. They start to get evocative again with those chords (are they the same ones every time?) but it doesn’t really develop much… Same goes for the even slower final track, I mean, the sounds are quite nice but there’s a lot missing, evolution, subtle complexity, etc.
It’s all good to stay calm all the time, but if you’re venturing into the world of beats, you’ve got to watch yourself, because the calm beat world is hard to keep apart from the calm boredom world. That being said there’s some nice stuff on here, particularly the first side, and fans of the two and associated projects will be right at home in their gentle embrace.
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- Loon by Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm
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