Erased Tapes was an endlessly inspiring label in 2014. With a singular, understated focus on quality and music orbiting the keyboard, the acoustic, and minimal post-classical introspection, they were a calming counterpart to the year’s steroid-pumped festival commercialism. And first and foremost, they were about records — not fancy design accessories, not “throw everything at a wall and see what sticks” experiments in distribution. (There’s a place for that, yes, but a record label about records was nonetheless refreshing.)
And Nils Frahm was a consistent star amidst all of this, a favorite live performer cutting across genres, wrangling keys electronic and strung. Mr. Frahm, having topped various 2014 lists, is off on an even-bigger 2015 tour.
And that’s why we kept crossing paths, from a deep dive into a possible future of the acoustic grand with Nils Frahm to hosting and meeting the innovative Greg Gives Peter Space.
So, it’s fitting to share as our first mix of 2015 a free mid-winter compilation that brings together some of the best, most delicate, most dream-inducing music of the label’s current releases.
Here, there’s the label’s unmistakably intimate approach to the grand piano, in immaculate, living room-cosy recordings. And there’s also the sense of electronic chamber music in the more ambient and wired synthesized outings, too. Putting them all together, you feel the computer and synthesizer (analog or digital) have been invited into that chamber with the piano and strings. This is popular classic music in the age after minimalism and generated sound.
It’s all capped off with Clark’s masterful remix of Nils Frahm, which launches all that acoustic craft into digital space – your easy chair and all the comforts of home in the latest rock shuttle to Andromeda. (The just-released Clark and Greg Gives Peter Space cuts alone are worth surrendering your contact information to grab the free download.)
You get Lubomyr Melnyk, Peter Broderick, Rival Consoles, Douglas Dare, Nils Frahm, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Kiasmos and Michael Price, plus Greg Gives Peter Space and the Clark remix.
So, let’s gorge ourselves on these treats.
Lest you expect CDM is going all-acoustic-piano here, watch Kiasmos’ beautiful video for Held, a visual etude in fog and smoke by director Michael Zoidis:
Kiamos, the ideal collaboration forged between Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen, is now touring a new AV show and is also a 2014 highlight release for me.
A Winged Victory for the Sullen, with their clouds of gorgeous ambience and joining Stars of the Lid’s Adam Wiltzie with composer/pianist Dustin O’Halloran, is another 2014 stand-out:
If you haven’t managed to find Nils Frahm live, the Boiler Room performance gives a solid impression of how he works:
Over Christmas, he also gave us a rendition of the epic Terry Riley masterpiece ‘In C’:
Image at top: album art, by Gregory Euclide.
More on the compilation release:
HAPPY NEW YEAR | Erased Tapes Compilation VI