It’s impossible to get Nils Frahm to sit still. If he’s not recording a solo album on the world’s biggest piano, he’s together with childhood friends Frederic Gmeiner and Sepp Singwald making lush and spacious ambient rock as nonkeen. Having recorded so many good songs they couldn’t fit them on one album, the trio decided to release two. The gods of coin-flipping favored the Gamble, but now the other tracks are available as well. Here are the Oddments Of The Gamble.
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In which Nils Frahm, Sebastian Singwald and Frederic Gmeiner continue to plunder themselves plundering their little selves. If you see what I mean.... No? Well, back at the beginning-ish (February?) of this unforgettable year we know as 2016, mess(e)rs Frahm and chums released a post-rock-electronic album which they called 'The Gamble', under their Nonkeen alias. The record was an unqualified delight in a downbeaty sort of way, but drew from tunes they made as tots. I believe. Anyway, 'Oddments of The Gamble' collects what was discarded from the cutting room floor and presumably re-splices them together.. from the meisterkassettentapes [citation required-ed]. They most likely planned the two albums all along, the little tinkerers. Anyhow -- so far, so logical. And also, so far, so post-rock; so post-electronic, so post-piano, so post-almost-everything. And also, so playful.
Opening with the pretty, airy and light 'Kassettenkarussell', you can absolutely picture the young Nils, Sebastien and Frederic whirling round on the referential fairground wheel and planning jaunty tunes to record to their little sanyo tape recorders, getting all giddy int' process. Quavery keyboards and glockenspiel jostle for position amongst the jazzy, four tet-like drums. A great start. 'The Journey of Hello Peter' follows similar terrain to their previous disc's Talk Talk moments. Ambience pierced through with slinky bass, shuffling drums and exploratory effects-laden rhodes and guitar, it's all rather pleasant. 'Diving Platform' comes across like a jazzier, instrumentally looser Doves or Pink Floyd.. or a more ambient, watercolour-washed version of Broadcast. Take your pick, really.
The (haunto-logical) keys of 'Happy Juno' bubble and melt seamlessly into the 60s sci-fi movie synth of 'Back and Forth', creating a swirling, vividly shaded tapestry for your mind. Mmm, floaty. Towards the back end of the record, psych-funk-rock jams like 'Obviously Algebra', the sun-shiny jazz and trip hop moves of 'Copy of the Crazy' and 'Monkey in the Machine' all highlight Nils at his lightest and most fun. Best Frahm. A kind of flip side to his more austere piano-fixated solo pieces and Arnalds collabs. Which I sometimes like to call 'Frahmite'. Ho ho. It all ends on a hazy high, with 'Schwertfisch', a blissful floating moment. In summary, then: good -- and even -- oddments.
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