Nils Frahm’s 2018 album All Melody neatly summarized both the Berlin musician’s formidable chops and his sprawling musical interests: Recorded at his custom studio in Berlin’s famous Funkhaus complex, it paired hushed solo piano pieces with throbbing, groove-heavy electronic fusions. To achieve the album’s final form, Frahm pursued a number of tangential paths, then released those as the Encores trio of EPs, collected here as All Encores.
The first four songs are quiet neoclassical etudes that showcase Frahm at his most intimate, the mic so close that the action of the keys and the creaking of the pedals are plainly audible. “Sweet Little Lie” and “A Walking Embrace” add tape hiss and reverb, playing up the elegiac qualities of his music, while “Harmonium in the Well” and “Talisman” are pure ambient. The long, winding “Spells” and “All Armed” both revisit the swelling, multitracked arpeggios that marked All Melody’s most dramatic peaks, but it’s the closing “Amirador” that feels the most like something we’ve never heard from Frahm before. Slow, beatless, and contemplative, it’s simple in form but as texturally complex as anything he’s done. It’s as though, once Frahm has summited “All Armed,” a new horizon is suddenly visible, along with a road map for where his work might take him next.