Album Review: nonkeen – The Gamble

By Daniel Marco, Blogs Editor

[R&S; 2016]

Rating: 3.5/5

The Gamble, a nine track electronic album, is the first release of German trio nonkeen. The group, which is made up of childhood friends Frederic Gmeiner, Sebastian Singwald and acclaimed keyboardist and composer Nils Frahm, spent a total of 27 years creating this record.

The newly reformed group went back and remixed, sampled and re-recorded over many tracks that they had originally created in the early 1990s, most of which now make up this new album, and the results speak for themselves.

The album puts an emphasis on ambience, with some of the best tracks, like “Saddest Continent on Earth” and “Re:Turn,” being mellow rivers of soothing electronic buzzes. One of the other great songs is “Capstan,” a strange tune featuring erratic drumming in the background combined with a calming chime in the forefront. Somehow, these two elements manage to fit together to form an intriguing mixture of sound.

Where the album starts to fall off a tad is when it begins to rely too heavily on the percussion. Songs such as “Animal Farm” and “Chasing God through Palmyra” start off interesting but become boring and stagnant as they drag on through six-minute run times with the same repetitive drum loops. These are, however, not crippling blows to the album as a whole.

The Gamble is an impressive collection of sweeping computerized swells and fun little electronic blurbs and melodies. While it certainly isn’t a perfect record, it hits most of its marks in stride and manages to be an interesting experience all the way through.

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