A hypnotic voyage through modern and classical composition, experimental electronics, jazz, dub techno, soundtracks and soul; Frahm’s Late Night Tales haunts and beguiles. It’s not mixing, so much as gently layering, like a particularly fluffy goose-down duvet folding in on itself, the folds part of the attraction, the layers part of the overall picture being painted.
Many of the tracks have been edited, effected and re-made. The subtly overdubbed parts on Rhythm & Sound‘s ‘Mango Drive’ adding to the haunting hypnosis, while choral interruptions aid Miles Davis’ ‘Générique’ on its journey towards the light. Meanwhile, on Boards Of Canada’s ‘In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country’, the tempo is somewhat sluggish, the organs slurred, as Frahm slows it down to a funereal 33rpm that nevertheless fits perfectly. The purring of his girlfriend’s cat Cleo transitions playfully between Nina Simone‘s definitive version of ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’ and unearthing the gentle electronics of Dub Tractor.
Eddy Arnold’s ‘You’re The Only Star’, a country tune that sounds like its transmitting from a mid-west diner wireless circa 1947, is straight from the soundtrack to an imaginary David Lynch movie, comforting and dismaying all at once. This crackly reality abounds, as on Finnish band Gentleman Losers’ ‘Honey Bunch’, that adds an unsettling texture, with a sound that is modern but as nostalgic.
Frahm’s own tracks bookend the mix, opening with an inspired “rework” of the infamous silent John Cage piece ‘4:33’ (“I sat at the piano in silence and worked from there. I listened and took in the atmosphere and this is what came out of it”) and ending with a solo piano version of ‘Them’, taken from his recently released score of the film ‘Victoria’. The traditional Late Night Tales spoken word epilogue is voiced by actor Cillian Murphy (Inception, Batman, 28 Days Later), reading a short story by Edna Walsh (Hunger, Disco Pigs).
“I’ve really got off on working on compilations lately. It’s such a wonderful way to delve deep into your music collection. 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. It’s all music to me. After spending hours recording from all of these diverse sources, I started to play around with the tunes, layering them, sampling, looping certain parts, extracting phrases and using all the freedom that this allowed me. If I got a little carried away or stepped on anyone’s toes in my quest to do something interesting and original, then I apologise. Some things may have accidentally landed on the wrong speed, while other spooky happening have occurred along the way, whether it’s ghostly additions of reverb and delay or simply subtle edits or reproductions, they’ve all gone into the magical stew I’ve tried to create for your pleasure and edification. I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had creating this compilation for you but, suffice to say, I hope it will be a nice journey for your mind and heart.”
– Nils Frahm, May 2015
CD Version (incl. unmixed tracks via download as mp3/wav)
1. Nils Frahm – 4:33 (Exclusive John Cage Cover Version)
2. The Baka Forest People Of South-East Cameroon – Liquindi 2
3. Carl Oesterhelt/Johannes Enders – Divertimento Für Tenorsaxophon Und Kleines Ensemble Part 4
4. Four Tet – 0181 (excerpt)
5. Gene Autry – You’re The Only Star (Nils Frahm 78’ Recording)
6. Boards of Canada – In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country
7. Bibio – It Was Willow
8. Dictaphone – Peaks
9. Vladimir Horowitz – The Flight Of The Bumble Bee
10. Miles Davis – Concierto de Aranjuez
11. Victor Silvester – It’s The Talk Of The Town (Nils Frahm’s ’78’ Rec.)
12. System – SK20
13. Rhythm & Sound – Mango Drive
14. Miles Davis – Générique
15. Dinu Lipatti – O Herr Bleibet Meine Freunde, BWV 147
16. Colin Stetson – The Righteous Wrath Of An Honorable Man
17. Penguin Café Orchestra – Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter
18. Nina Simone – Who Knows Where The Time Goes
19. Nina Jurisch – Cleo The Cat (Exclusive Track)
20. Dub Tractor – Cirkel
21. The Gentlemen Losers – Honey Bunch
22. Nils Frahm – Them (Solo Piano Edit Exclusive Version)
23. Cillian Murphy – In The Morning (Exclusive Spoken Word)