Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm
Stare


2.5
average

Review

by Jacob Royal STAFF
April 22nd, 2012 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If only the bond these two share had been captured on Stare...

The collaboration between Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm over the last few months has appeared as incredibly promising. As is evident from the live performances, the minimalist fervor of Arnalds' compositions possesses the potential to meld seamlessly with Frahm's ideas splendidly. More frequently, though, the two tango a struggle of initiation, and end up drowning in a meandering river of meaningless atmosphere, location without purpose. This is the case with the duo's latest tangible collaboration, Stare, and its ineffectiveness is all the more frustrating when considering what could have happened here. We catch glimpses of the greatness that should have been predominant in "a2" where the ambiance propels itself upward, swirling higher and higher as it coalesces into the height of poignancy. But more often than not Stare loses itself in the same repeated loops, the same monotonous, mundane tendencies of the creatively stagnant composers Arnalds and Frahms have so successfully broken themselves away from.

It makes one concerned, seeing as Stare contains none of the charming attributes that either artist brings to the table. When compared directly to the musicians' live performances that are filled to the brink with unbridled passion and a keen sense of direction, Stare suffocates itself, coughing out good ideas but letting itself be encroached by them. After all, very few ideas are thoroughly examined on this release - "b2" is more than half of the album, and is just one looped concept - and this absence of progress illustrates the album's failure to express what it intended to. We can't catch more than a glimpse of the two composers that have always shown interest in their art until now, and we can only hope that this indefinite venture into stagnant atmospherics has a more concrete endpoint than Stare itself does.



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user ratings (5)
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3.2
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


10353 Comments


Streaming at Drowned in Sound: http://drownedinsound.com/news/4144798-album-stream--stare-%C3%B3lafur-arnalds-amp-nils-frahms-album-for-record-store-day

I guess I'll just have to stick to these guys' live videos for now.

ThunderNeutral21
April 22nd 2012


3864 Comments


tim hecker is better

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


10353 Comments


I was expecting them to make something interesting, seeing as they're a fun listen live. Do you not like them, Riff?

ThunderNeutral21
April 22nd 2012


3864 Comments


"Do you not like them, Riff?"

riff only listens to isis

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


10353 Comments


Hey man, Isis is pretty fantastic. At least Wavering Radiant is, I mean.

I'm not a Hecker fan honestly, he can build a crazy atmosphere but it's just not something I get any sense of enjoyment from. I do have a penchant for Arnalds' music, and Frahm's stuff seems pretty interesting from what I have heard.

ThunderNeutral21
April 22nd 2012


3864 Comments


yeah he can BUILD a crazy atmosphere but most of the time it ends up pretty wasted

olafur isn't much better but he can make some pretty (if a little too simple) melodies that really stick

ThunderNeutral21
April 22nd 2012


3864 Comments


yeah you keep going to that as a defense or whatever cause im trashing your favorite composer sorry he sucks dick and youre not elite as you thought, even the beherit demos are better!

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


10353 Comments


Yeah Riff, I actually agree with you pretty closely there. Olafur's album '...and They Have Escaped" is one of my favorites though, so many gorgeous melodies. Would you have anything to recommend to me that you love in this genre?

iFghtffyrdmns
April 22nd 2012


7047 Comments


I dig the short review Jake, I think the condensed factor gives your words a lot more potency than some of your more drawn out efforts, though they're good pieces as well. That being said, some of your word choice and sentence structure in here comes off as pretty awkward.

E.g.,
the potential to meld seamlessly with Frahm's ideas splendidly

I'd change it to "the potential to meld seamlessly and splendidly with Frahm's ideas."


end up drowning in a meandering river of meaningless atmosphere, location without purpose

though I know what you're trying to say, "location without purpose" doesn't really make sense... would probably be worth changing your wording here too


It makes one concerned, seeing as Stare contains none of the charming attributes that either artist brings to the table.

Again, just awkwardly worded; I think a better sentence structure would be "The fact that Stare contains neither artist's previously charming attributes is a cause for concern amongst listeners."

Also, italicize your album titles please =)


You're a great writer with a fantastic vocabulary (or just a well-worn thesaurus nearby...), I just think you tend to try to hard to be flowery and different with your language and structure. While careful word choice can make your writing really stand out, just be sure to say what you want to say in a way that your reader's can quickly comprehend it. Big words and fancy metaphors should supplement your review; they shouldn't be the crux of it.

Cheers.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


10353 Comments


Thanks a ton, man. That's one thing I've realized about my writing, and is one attribute I've been trying to watch out for. It's hard to express my thoughts in a manner that others can comprehend easily, but it's getting easier the more that I write. Cheers, and thanks for reading :]

taylormemer
April 22nd 2012


4943 Comments


"If only the bond these two share had been captured on Stare..."

Please tell me this was unintentional.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


2719 Comments


got so close to buying this, quite glad I didn't.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012


10353 Comments


Taylor, you mean the rhyme? I realized it at the time, but didn't think much of it xP

And Stranger, it seems to be a logical fit for Arnalds' latest musical ventures. In other words, not much happens.. at all.

scissorlocked
April 22nd 2012


3511 Comments


heard some of the Arnalds stuff which was cool, haven't checked this collab though

review is well written too-shorties like this are my favorite

Digging: Distance - Outer Limits

Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 22nd 2012


10618 Comments


dig the short review but I think people went into this expecting way more than what it was.

BLUEOmni
April 22nd 2012


684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I expected something more technically sound. I can't get over how simple this release is. You'd think these two would have worked a little harder on their collaboration. That said, I don't think the problem is with the way these two interact musically; they just didn't put any effort into this release.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2012


10353 Comments


Cheers Xenophanes and Scissor :] I'm going to go with more brief reviews for the time being.

And I honestly don't get the point about how we shouldn't have expected anything more from this. I expect these guys to put as much effort into an album as they do into their impromptu performances onstage :P it almost seems as if when they take themselves seriously their music falls flat.



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