Label: Erased Tapes Release date: 23/08/10 Link: Myspace If you've been keeping your ear particularly close to the ground as of late, you know that musically speaking, this has been incredibly rewarding year. Not even for a small handful of genres, but several seem to be flourishing at the moment, with critical acclaim bursting from even the most notoriously fickle publications. While it may not be the quickest style to come to mind, the modern classical scene too is pulling its weight as far as stellar new music is concerned, a quick example being Max Richter's astonishing, July-released Infra. While Berlin based composer Nils Frahm doesn't have a full-length of his own to put out quite yet, he's just released ‘Unter | Über‘, a tremendously gorgeous pair of songs that hints at something spectacular in his future. What impresses the most about Frahm's music isn't so much the clear skill that he displays, but the restraint to his playing, and a seemingly effortless nature with which he chooses his notes and how they will play off of one another. While his connection to Pyotr Tchaikovsky may be a somewhat convoluted one (Frahm studied under Nahum Brodski, a student of Tchaikovsky's last scholar), the influence is clear as day. This music emanates the latter day romantic era quite vividly, feeling oddly free of the influence of more modern figures like Philip Glass or Steve Reich. Just listen to how Unter's deceptive listlessness is given such room to breathe that the details, however minute, are fairly immediate, and what initially seems offhanded quickly becomes a bit complex. Its glitched-out Machinefabriek remix is just as appealing, and almost better, if only for its more contemporary flair. The odd loops and pairing of sections gives the piece a whole new face, and feels more lively without losing any of its soul searching nature. The real gem here, however, is B-side ‘Über‘, which carries an inexplicable longing with such simple melancholic melodies, and its brevity only serves to make you want to listen to it again. Speaking of brevity, the three tracks combine to less than six minutes, though this is hardly a fault. Frahm is extremely direct, and his highly emotive playing delivers its impact with a near immediacy, and truly leaves the listener hungry for more. If these tracks are any indication, the scheduled winter release of his next full-length will be impeccably timed, given that they're just about guaranteed to match the mood of the season. The only issue this brings up, of course, is the matter of having to wait. Photobucket