Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm
All the way back in 1948, artist and seer of great truths Jean Arp abjectly portended that, “Soon silence will have passed into legend.” To be sure, in the sixty-seven years hence, the deafening din of modernity has grown exponentially. The new collection of collaborative works (as the title is keen to note) from composers Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm stands ideologically athwart all that mindless cacophony. Recorded in places like Berlin and Reykjavik—no doubt after long hours spent contemplating brutalist architecture and enduring self-imposed isolation—the compositions have abstract and slightly pretentious titles like “w,” “a2,” and “23:52.” With its turn–of–the–century classicism and squelchy, minimalist electronics, it’s all very Teutonic in its beauty and stern in its demands on our attention. Indeed, silence punctuates the songs—often, it’s more about what you don’t hear. To wit, on “Wide Open,” a haunting, Satie-like piano unexpectedly fades into nothingness. Best enjoy it while you still can.