cone magazine

Review /\ Late Night Tales – Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm - Late Night Tales review on cone magazine

Like some New York Jazz cafe, Nils Frahm’ Late Night Tales compilation is smokey, full of character and emphatically mood evoking.

Nills Frahm is irrevocably sensitive, both in his musical output as well as his public demeanour. With such a keen eye to the intricate relationship between sound and emotion, it was unquestionable that his contribution to the well respected compilation series would be one of notable merit.

Frahm explores selections from disciplines as far reaching as classical composition, experimental electronics, jazz, dub techno, soundtracks and soul. Commenting on his experience of making this compilation he says “My flat is now crammed with music media of all stripes, from an old hand-cranked 78 phonograph player to 45s and albums on vinyl, my beloved old cassette tape collection, even mini-disks and, lately, WAV and MP3s”. 

Like any compilation, the curator is trying to create a journey. Frahm’ is one of childhood innocence, love, heartbreak, loss. It evokes a delicate closeness to your own sanctuary, and yet manages to relieve itself from any ownership. This is as much his as it is yours – despite his girlfriends cat Cleo holding the mic for her own little cameo.

“I hope it will be a nice journey for your mind and heart.”Nils Frahm

Frahm has added many of his own edits to this including some overdubbing of Rhythm & Sound’s ‘Mango Drive’, some choral dissections to Miles Davis’ ‘Générique’ and a chugging tempo change to Boards Of Canada’s ‘In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country’.

Frahm takes you into places of imagery with his selections. The splashy tribalistic dance of Baka Forest People Of South East Cameroon feels like your heads being tossed around a pond. The eerie whaling of Gene Autry sounds like a record player broadcasting onto a deserted North Korean municipal. A cat and mouse pursuit from the classical compositions of Vladimir Horowitz. Stock footage of your grandparents wedding would be suitably soundtracked by Victor Silvester’s – It’s the Talk of the Town. And of course, that aforementioned late 50’s New York jazz cafe would be the suitable setting for Miles Davis – whom Frahm quite rightly pays abundant homage to.

“I’ve really got off on working on compilations lately. It’s such a wonderful way to delve deep into your music collection.” – Nils Frahm

But amidst the nostalgia, Frahm consistently reigns you back into broken beak, contemporary electronica and rhythm, with appearances from Four Tet, System and Rhythm & Sound. I love how he delicatly folds these transitions in, clensing your palette, before drawing your attention back to those delicates places within Frahms imagination.

The acoustic elements of this compilation is equally commendable. The innocence of Penguin Cafe’s Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter  is a charming backing track for the contemplating adlib of Nina Simone’s heart rendering Who Knows Where The Time Goes. As the two songs fade over, the quivering final words of some wise old lady laying to rest in a state of sombre rumination, allow the listener to daydream in pensive inertia.

This is a compilation to meditate over. It’s something that will always be there you, a songbook to contemplate over childhood memories. A place to connect with those delicate places in your soul. Its beautifully simple, yet emblematic of thoughtful planning, much deliberation and blatant scrutiny. For a man of only 32 years young, this careful curation affirms maturity far beyond his years.


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