The incomparable Nils Frahm presents the third and final instalment in his Encores series of EPs, with all three of the compositions available as an 80-minute album titled All Encores. Conceived of as “musical islands” off of the mainland of 2018's album All Melody, the third part is more percussive and electronic than the previous EPs that focussed on piano and ambience.
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The way that some people talk about Nils Frahm would make you think that he was some godly savant heaven-sent to teach us unwashed simpletons about the pure Blisse of Musicke. As he’s phased through a career that has seen him swap from contemporary classical piano pieces to proggy electronics and back again, Frahm’s every move has come accompanied by the sort of gushing, breathless praise that is usually reserved for those ordained as one of the Most Important Artists Of Their Time.
Personally I’ve never exactly been bowled over by any of Frahm’s output, but ‘All Encores’ is pleasant enough. This one compiles the trio of ‘Encores’ EPs that Frahm released across 2018-2019, and as such is split into rather distinct parts.
The first and middle sections, all plink-plonk piano and fluffy Olafur Arnalds-esque formlessness, are the least interesting in my eyes. Things pick up when Frahm stretches out on the longer tracks. ‘All Encores’s long fifth number, a droning composition entitled ‘Harmonium In The Well’, sounds pretty much like what you’d expect from a piece with this title. Elsewhere the William Basinski-esque closer ‘Amirador’ incorporates some interesting tones while ‘All Armed’, the sprightliest track here, draws from Djrum and vintage IDM.
Combining such a decidedly varied set of EPs into one release was always going to make for a slightly disjointed listen, but Frahm at least manages to hang the thing together with a consistent commitment to a vague sonic aesthetic. It’s not going to fix your life, as some Frahmites will doubtless claim, but as a whole 'All Encores' is perfectly acceptable ear-fodder.
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