There are some records that we appreciate for the songs they contain, while others release all their value when we consider them as a single work, articulated perhaps into different tracks but in any case oeprating as correlated elements within the same music score. All Melody, which is the last work by German composer Nils Frahm, belongs to this second category. The experience that I had with this album can be summarized as follows: the first time I listened to it, this work left me quite indifferent: there were for sure a few moments of great elegance and delicacy, but there was no song that generated any particular emotion. I left the record playing in background (in repeat mode) while I was busy preparing some document, and after a while I started to realize that part of my thoughts were turned to the music, carried away and enjoying all the whispered melodies that this album is plenty of. And at that time, all of a sudden, the crystalline beauty of this work was finally revealed to me. And I eventually understood the meaning of the title of the LP. These are pure melodies, rarefied musical lines that slowly and gently emerge from the white noise that surrounds us. Like that phenomenon of lateral vision which makes our eyes susceptible to movements that occur outside the field of view, in the same way these tender notes gather together in a perfect melody only when the focus of our mind is not completely focused on the musical structure of the song.
From a musical point of view, this album by Nils Frahm is characterized by very slow rhythms and an extremely minimal approach to composition. The typical elements of his music, which are the combination of analog and digital instruments and the perfect fusion of electronic and modern classical styles, are all present, but the architecture of this work is so bare and essential as we didn’t hear for long his discography. But be careful, if the compositional structure is so essential, the tonal and dynamic aspects of the songs are absolutely rich. The sounds that come from the album are warm, soft, absolutely engaging. The artist has used a large number of different keyboard instruments, a few of them generated synthetically, and in global terms we observe here a progressive distancing from the simple piano – which has been for long at the heart of Frahm’s music – to embrace an extremely wider and articulated palette of sounds. One of the typical characteristics of Frahm’s music – which is here exalted in an astonishing way, almost magical in some points – is the capacity of this musican to transform, gently and impercetibly, conventional piano and organ sounds into electronic elements. The picture is then completed with the nice and original introduction of choirs and wind instruments.
In the broader context of Nils Frahm’s discography, All Melody is the first one produced after the construction of a special recording studio inside an art house in Berlin (which was so important for the album that it’s the subject of the LP’s cover). It took two years of work to complete the preparation of this room according to what were the strict requirements of Frahm, and if this album is the first result of the project, we can only wait with expectation and excitement to the upcoming albums that will be made there.
Since the day Nils first encountered the impressive studio of a family friend, he had envisioned to create one of his own at such a large scale. Fast forward to the present day and Nils is now the proud host of Saal 3, part of the historical 1950s East German Funkhaus building beside the River Spree. It is here where he has spent most of his time deconstructing and reconstructing the entire space from the cabling and electricity to the woodwork, before moving on to the finer elements; building a pipe organ and creating a mixing desk all from scratch with the help of his friends. This is somewhere music can be nurtured and not neglected, and where he can somewhat fulfil his pursuit of presenting music to the world as close to his imagination as possible. (Bandcamp)
Funkhaus Studios, Berlin.
All Melody was released on January 26th, 2018, by Erase Tape Records