Frank Pahl

Music for Desserts

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Frank Pahl's albums are usually populated by various collaborators, but this is his first CD dedicated to one such collaboration. The French duet Klimperei (Françoise and Christophe Petchanatz) follows the teachings of Pascal Comelade in the art of naïve melody and the use of toy-like instruments. Their music is 100 percent compatible with Pahl's sound world. A gifted melodist himself, the latter focused on his automatons. In each track listeners hear strange rhythms, motifs, or textures produced by homemade automatic instruments like the autoglock or the binary air organ quartet. Combined they create enticing soundscapes -- an ensemble of small, clumsy machines. Klimperei's piano, keyboards, guitars, flutes, and percussion and Pahl's euphonium, ukuleles, and distinctive whistling are responsible for the melodies and main accompaniment. This music stands at the crossroads of contemporary soundcraft and childish amusement, the avant-garde (through unusual instruments, some very atonal or microtonal) and disarming simplicity. Singling out highlights would not do justice to this constantly captivating album. Even die-hard fans of Pahl will be surprised at the richness and seductive power of these pieces. An all-instrumental affair like Remove the Cork, Music for Desserts skips the hodgepodge quality of his other releases to offer a more focused meal. Selecting names of fancy desserts for track titles is icing on the cake.

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