Nonkeen is a side project by Nils Frahm and childhood friends Frederic Gmeiner and Sebastian Singwald. The trio first met at primary school in Hamburg and throughout the 90s they would send each other their recordings, meeting each summer to perform their own material. A decade later they have collated hours of sessions, recorded over the years, adding parts to some of their childhood recordings and sampling others. They would pick their favourite passages and bounce them to computer to stitch them together and after eight years they decided they had finally finished an album.
Nonkeen – The Gamble
Nils Frahm is no stranger to experimentation, he is most known for combining classical and electronic music in his compositions, and for an unconventional approach to the piano, in which he mixes a grand piano, upright piano, Rhodes piano, drum machine, and Moog. Mixing modern classical piano into long drawn out ambient drones, with softly sounding looping beats. Nonkeen takes on more of a ‘band’ feel. Having extra creative minds and some live instrument jams to record, mix around, chop up then stitch back together, ‘The Gamble‘ actually has a more organic and cohesive sound than you might have thought. Although recorded from improvisations it really does sound like a band playing as one, all members seemingly knowing exactly what they’re doing and where they’re going.
A far stride away from Frahm’s solo work, involving slightly more rock and experimental-indie rock with maybe some jazz tinges. The Gamble definitely has some trademark Nils Frahm poking through but there is also a real sense of musicians that have played together since childhood (which they have – but it really comes through on the record)
A ‘jam’ record of sorts with a very low-key approach in sound but a very satisfying listen.