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Boomkat Product Review:
‘Spells’ 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, 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. Why the ear can and should be deceived about the authenticity of instruments. What significance these instruments have within this process, and why the personal perception of balance and sound exclude ultimate truths.”