Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm: Stare (Erased Tapes)
This EP puts the various talents of performers Arnalds & Frahm together. It’s nicely understated compared to the melodrama of some of their respective releases in the past… closer to the subtlety of Frahm’s Felt album last year, but with a distinctly different vibe. There’s a bubbling undercurrent to “A1” that propels it forward, even as it’s quite understated on the whole. 7 minutes of delicate arpeggio synth and swelling chords move things along nicely, recalling just how graceful each artist’s touch can be. The other two tracks are lush and slowly-evolving as well. “A2” has patient lilt in its largo chords, tragically beautiful in its patient grace. “B1” is the longest track, built primarily around a repetitious pattern of synths and reverberated bass thuds, with some nice string playing over it. The synth patterns persist and provide momentum over a much slower, gloomier lament on the strings that is truly gorgeous. It’s a short and sweet reminder of the raw talent involved, and how powerful they are as a duo.