By Björk Óskarsdóttir
Encores 2, released on January 25th, 2019, is a second EP out of two in following up Nils Frahm´s 2018 album, All Melody. Frahm is known to be very productive, so it hardly comes as a surprise that the album ended up bigger than planned. In the composer’s own words:
Encores 1 and 2 being separate entities is intriguing, both stem from the same musical creation but the former consists of 5 tracks for harmonium and solo piano. Encores 2 thus sets a different mood, we have four ambient tracks starting with serene, piano-arpeggio based Sweet Little Lie and building up to the 12-and-a-half minute-long Spells. The nicely titled, disarming track A Walking Embrace is a personal favorite. As was the case with All Melody, listening to this music is like glancing upon an impressionist painting and while stepping closer, realizing how fluid and yet distinct it is, how something that gave a simple effect at first has in fact been manipulated from its original tone into a whole other creature, a familiar sound which still can’t instantaneously be perceived and identified as a single musical instrument. The layers create a dimension that is rare to acheive without coming off as saturated, but that is just one of Frahm´s rare talents. One reason possibly being the religious use of organic sound, no matter how he ends up maneuvering it. This trilogy of releases, in fact, includes a human choir, but utilized very much like a human-made instrument. If the secret to the perfect fabrication is to throw an inch of truth to it, Nils Frahm does the same in his soundscape by surrounding the maneuvered with the raw while finely cleaning up the borders of the two. Another reason is the impressively perfected dynamics when there is a lot going on in the music (which, although not always comprehensible at first is actually, always), the instinct that Frahm seems to have been born with, knowing every time, exactly just up to what point a voice needs to come through. A beautiful 4-track release worth every bit the same attention as All Melody and Encores 1.