Max Cooper’s remixes of the Olafur Arnald tracks “partial” and “ypsilon” unearth and enhance the percussive, electronic drive of the two tracks. A sound that was only hinted at it in the original versions, on Olafur Arnald’s album “re:member.”
The partial remix is true techno with repetitive driving drums taking over the piece, whilst the melody of the original piece slowly develops, oozing its way through the cracks in the track’s percussion.
Alternatively, the ypsilon remix gives more space to the melodic elements of the original track. They open and drive the piece, whilst the percussion shuffles its way around them, seemingly shunning the limelight.
Both tracks provide a fresh take on the originals, and show the strengths of both acts; specifically Olafur Arnald’s abilities in expert sound design and Max Cooper’s percussive prowess:
As the year comes to an end It was time to celebrate my favourite music of the year with my list and a brief review of my favourite five albums. they are in no particular order (excluding the album of the year). Feel free to click the links below and give them a read.
On 28th of July 2015 composers/multi instrumentalists Olafur Arnalds and Nils Fram met at Nils’s Durton Studio In Berlin with documentarian Alexander Schneider to play and record an evening of music and film the event. The outcome of which was this album Trance Frendz. It features no over dubbing (added instrumentation) so you don’t get the complexity found in any of the other albums on my list. What you do get though is a direct connection to the artists through their instruments. No elaboration or extension, just the raw, Improvised idea. The moment of creation in its purest form, recorded for all to hear and see.
The instrumentation features a different collection of pianos, keys, Synths and a glockensphiel. Although they are limited to only a couple of instruments a track. Each one has its own unique character and sound which subtly gives them an individuality. It’s this focus on detail that really exemplifies the record. Instruments are recorded naturally with plenty of room ambience which becomes a key feature in the organic and pure nature of the work.
Both artists have collaborated previously and have the same styles in their music. So they complement each other perfectly on these collection of duets. Creating a sound that varies from the light and playful to the darker more powerful tracks which feature prominent synthesis. However all of these tracks are chameleons. They seem to blend into many atmospheres. At quiet levels they can work as ambient pieces to play in the background of many settings, however turn up the volume and they immerse you in the sound of their world.
The hybrid nature of this release has made it quite hard to pin down to a year. Although the album was recorded and was available to view online last year. The distribution of the work on Vinal and CD box set, with their other collaboration work Loon, was staggered internationally with a UK release of this year. This is a mark of the times in many ways. Smaller artists and labels have to improvise in the distribution of hard copies but the digital domain allows a new and creative form of distribution. The ability to watch the live creation of this album on YouTube is another welcome addition to the music. Giving you and in depth look at how it was made, but also a further understanding behind he artists creating the work.
In a year of chaos and instability, times of self reflection and concentration have been a regular occurrence for me and this album has been its soundtrack. An escape from the surroundings into a simple but beautiful world. A demonstration of creativity in its purest most exiting form. It shows the positivity and wonder that we can achieve, even on the spur of the moment and if that isn’t the best thing to take with us into 2017 I don’t know what is:
The Chopin Project is a fantastic album where a selection of Chopin’s work are mixed together with new instrumentation to provide a flowing, evolving whole which culminates in his most famous work and my track of the week, Prelude in D Flat Major (“Raindrop”).
Chopin is one of my favourite composers because his music often communicates with me emotionally as well as intellectually. His pieces manage to convey a bitter sweetness that epitomise the romantic movement with Prelude in D Flat Major (“raindrop”) being a perfect example.
Alice Sara Ott performs this solo piece for piano beautifully, taking us on an emotional rollercoaster. The piece starts with an uplifting melody that slowly becomes more mournful until the darker bass elements bring a sense of dread before they turn even more aggressive. Over six minutes these melodies are interwoven to portray a wide variety of feelings for the listener. The Piece is wonderful in any version but Olafur Arnalds production and Alice Sara Otts performance elevate it even further. The album is fantastic and its finale is the icing on the cake a truly wonderful piece of work:
Frederic Chopin, Olafur Arnalds, Alice Sara Ott_Prelude in D Flat Major (“Raindrop”):
After speaking Highly of Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm on my Track of the Week this week, a video of them making it came to my attention on youtube and shows the whole process of making the album over one night in Nils Frahms studio in Berlin.
It’s a great document to the album and well worth your time so I thought I should bring it to your attention as a special bonus for this week:
After listening to the EP “Loon” by Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm a few months ago and really enjoying the sparse soundscapes created by the experimental artists collaboration, I decided to dig deeper into some of their other works.
“Trance Frendz” came out this year and the sound of minimal organic instrumentation blended with strongly synthetic elements is still here, but this time with a stronger structure in terms of an album. The longer playtime allows them to create an overall mood that slowly shifts between the tracks which when played as a complete piece become more than the sum of their parts.
23:52 comes right in the middle of the “Trance Frendz” and provides this powerful, awe inspiring force that gives the album a sense of scope grander then the more insular music found on “Loon”.
Although fairly simple in structure the sound design is complex and rich and as the filters on the synth open they reveal more and more layers of design until the scale of the track reaches cosmic levels. Simple yet incredibly powerful work from two artists who are quickly becoming some of my favourites working in electronic music today:
I first heard Nils Frahm from his fantastic EP -solo- which featured a collection of tracks for piano that were beautifully constructed. On this EP he has collaborated Olafur Arlands another purveyor of music which mangle piano with electronics. Togehter they have created a great collection of tracks that exist in their own world of organic and electric.
Four is my favourite track from this collection, although the soundscape is fairly minimal on the track each sound has been carefully thought about giving it the space for its dynamics to really shine. As soon as you mix a bitter-sweet melody which electronics ill be a happy man and this track is no exception:
Spotify (TOTW Playlist)
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