Nils Frahm Late Night Tales Night Time Stories
Somewhere between moody jazz edits and the hollow pling of a piano key is the comforting crackle of a spinning record. It is the sound of Nils Frahms’ addition to the Late Night Tales series, a collection of records, mixed, edited, over-dubbed and remastered to give a soundbite into the Berlin-based composer’s mind.
The matted feel that unites the whole album is perhaps best encapsulated by the nostalgic echoing of Gene Autry’s You’re the Only Star (in My Blue Heaven), whose twanging strings take you back to the seediness of a mid-western diner circa 1947. This is seamlessly transitioned into the sluggishly warped sounds of Boards of Canada’s In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country, which Frahm slows down to a lethargic 33rpm.
From the creaky fairground feel of Victor Silvester’s It’s the Talk of the Town to the wholesome remaster of Nina Simone’s Who Knows Where the Time Goes, there is a fantastical detachment to the collection that is reminiscent of the spaced out mirage of an insomniac. And although a few personal touches creep through the filter – a nine second clip of his girlfriend’s cat Cleo and Frahm’s Them, taken from his recently released film score – it remains altogether tantalisingly out of reach.
With its fine balance of classical, contemporary and electronic frills, the listener is pushed to the stark and sobering finale, In the Morning, a spoken word piece recited by Cillian Murphy. “To sleep through life, to forget so easily the wonder and effort
of how your life is pulled around you,” speaks on both a practical and figurative level. There is a weightiness to Frahm’s tales that, instead of dream weaving sweet nothings into our ears, has a whiskey-swirling heaviness that leaves the listeners contemplating and reevaluating those sleepless, late nights.