Nils Frahm: Juno (Erased Tapes)
This absolutely stunning 2-track EP focuses on synthesizer explorations and leaves behind the piano sensibility of Frahm’s previous full-length. Frahm recorded these two sketches on Peter Broderick’s synth after Broderick asked him to take a crack at it. Both tracks are single take, no overdubs or edits. “For” showcases a gorgeous series of delayed, plucked synth chords that takes its time cycling through permutations and variations with a certain elegiac grace. It has beatless DJ mixing possibilities that remind me of late 90s Traum material from Philippe Cam; Max Cooper is a producer who saw this potential and actually made his own custom remixes of both tracks here for a DJ set he did for XLR8R and the Seattle Decibel Festival. (That mix is available as a free download, and it’s totally gorgeous.) “Peter” is on the other end and has a swelling, swooning quality, sounding almost like backwards chords with subtle timbre shifts throughout. Both are simple and gorgeous, a reminder of what a talent Frahm is, even when merely improvising.