Style: Electronica. On his new album, Berlin-based composer, producer and sound designer Ben Lukas Boysen, merges programmed piano pieces with live instruments, combining the controllable technical world and the often unpredictable aspects of live improvisation. In some ways it continues where his underground debut ‘Gravity’ left off, though a lot of weight is lifted, making room for a lighter and more energetic listen. Friend and fellow Erased Tapes artist Nils Frahm mixed and mastered both albums. Ben is not a master pianist like his dear friend, but his sound collages are so meticulously designed that after hearing the result an impressed Nils declared: “from now on, if anyone asks – this is a real piano”. His intricate, humanised programming – enhanced by drummer Achim Färber (ex-Die Krupps, Project Pitchfork), cellist Anton Peisakhov and harpist Lara Somogyi, and a considerate selection of echoes, delays and compressors – has been used to create a hybrid sound that intends to deceive, question and challenge existing listening habits. Utilising the contrast between reduction and decoration, ‘Spells’ can be seen as a quest to find out how much or how little composition is required to constitute a song. The first digital single, ‘Golden Times 1’, received a world premiere by BBC 6 Music’s Mary Anne Hobbs, proclaiming it as "incredible." An alternative version of ‘Sleepers Beat Theme’ – composed for the soundtrack to a short film about the Trans-Siberian Express – opened Jon Hopkins’ Late Night Tales album from 2015, who noted “I thought it was such a calming and sensitive piece that sounded to me like the beginning of something... the warmth and depth of the sound entrances me every time”.
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