F.S. Blumm & Nils Frahm
LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management
Across the last decade Nils Frahm and F.S. Blumm have got together on four separate occasions to make albums; remarkable enough but actually rather staggering when you consider that they each have busy solo careers and wear many hats. Frahm is a film composer and touring artist with several side-hustle ventures including working in music as a technician and record producer outside and awayr fom his own records. Blumm (b. Frank Schültge) is also a producer, has a solo career and is an author.
Yet in and around their various works the mutual admiration binds them. And this latest one was actually recorded back in 2016 – some of the tracks even stem from the same sessions that were ostensibly for the previous record. Anyway, both composer/producers have experience writing and creating for theatre and film score and much of this feels like it could soundtrack a set of images or movements. It’s also a dubbed-out affair, lovely and wafty and trippy and relaxed. Warm and also so very inviting. Don’t let my language fool you, there’s nothing lazy or off-the-cuff about this – it’s a deep listening experience that you can also just have on repeat, create your own loops out of the looping, loping music they’ve made for you.
Opener, Desert Mule, instantly sets the tone with lots of reverb and synth wash in and around a reggae feel. From there it’s to the hooky groove of President Tub with its deep oscillations, the largely beat-less creep of Puddle Drop which manages to still groove deep thanks to a bassline that goes for days and the crepuscular Buddy Hop. It’s a great first half of the record.
But side two, or the second half carries on in much the same vein, although Sarah & Eve stretches out even further, the album’s longest track at 13 minutes. Frahm enjoys being very minimalist here vamping on the same chord progression. Elements of Raw Chef feel more like sound-design than ‘music’; again it’s welcome. And then the closer, Neckrub, fuses dub with vestiges of very old trance and techno for a big, squelchy, vibration-filled wash replete with some Ribot-sounding guitar and choral voices. It closes the record perfectly.
This was always going to be a welcome addition, but arriving, as it did, the same week that Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry boarded the spaceship to go to ‘wherever’ next it feels like the right sort of musical hug.