nonkeen, “the gamble”

Nonkeen-2016-The_Gamble_cover_hi_resnonkeen
the gamble
R&S
7/10

In the hands of German composer Nils Frahm, even the most minimalist sound can be manipulated into a moving and grand piece of music. Nonkeen—a project decades in the making—showcases this meticulous penchant for sonic details as Frahm and childhood friends (Frederic Gmeiner and Sebastian Singwald) layer, blend, and warp various glitches, buzzes, and chimes into a dynamic and whole album. The trio plays with textures well, adding depth through layers within tracks like “ceramic people” and “chasing god through palmyra.” Even the quietest moments of “capstan” capture a chilling sensation with slow and distorted fragments of sound. While the gamble can feel a bit empty without Frahm’s piano skills at times, it still manages to make a haunting impression. Though not as elaborate, “saddest continent on earth” seems to linger the longest after the LP is finished—with little more than a piano, guitar, and some white noise to captivate.

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