Ed Carlsen's followup to his well-received 2016 debut The Journey Tapes offers seven exceptionally pretty pieces for piano, synth, guitar and strings.
Based in Copenhagen, Carlsen is Italian by birth. He cops to a love of classic pop/rock bands from the 1960s and 1970s growing up – The Eagles and The Beatles get specific mention. He began classical piano lessons as a child, and then developed an interest in rock, progressive rock and reggae.
The album's lead track, "Elation," balances synthesizer with piano and wonderful performances by Matias Emil Fyhn on cello, Sofia Kongsgaard Lang on viola and Nanna Treu on violin. The trio's contribution adds real gravitas to Elusive Frames. They stand out even more on the next piece, "Spring." None of this detracts from Carlsen's playing; the sum of all these parts is impressive.
"Kvaelden" is another highlight. One of the more synth-based tracks on the album, it incorporates a subtle, minimalist piano performance. It's dripping with sincerity.
The same can be said for the entire album; Carlsen is still developing as a lead artist, and this work remains a bit too firmly embedded in his early love of traditional forms of music. But as his interests in programming and ambient noise develop — and these early-stage experiments suggest strongly that they will — Carlsen has the potential to be a successful, even important artist. (Moderna Records)