Where nonkeen would at first appear to be a new group, the reality is their roots stretch back to a time to before the fall of the Berlin Wall, being as it is a project beginning in 1989, helmed by avant garde classical musician Nils Frahm alongside Frederic Gmeiner and Sebastian Singwald.
With Singwald living on Berlin's east side and both Frahm and Gmeiner on the west, it bore difficulties at the beginning and onwards to 1997 where a freak funfair incident curtailed nonkeen's life. Reportedly, a drunken reunion years later saw them embark on a series of long, experimental self-recorded practice sessions in Singwald's basement. It's these experiments that form the core of this organically grown album.
Eight years in the making, it's a record that mixes those sessions with the initial primitive tape recordings made during their childhoods, with occasional overdubs resulting in an electronically based album rich in its own distinctive character. Funnily enough, what may have once seemed futuristic now sounds deliberately retro.
Rich with repetitive and strangely hypnotic rhythms that continuously ebb forward, The Gamble's nine song body shares some of the same DNA as both Can and Kraftwerk. The sweeping synths that form the body of opener "The Invention Mother" sound ripe for an atmospheric sci-fi soundtrack, before the smooth side step into "Saddest Continent On Earth" arrives with its minimal percussion and melodies. "Ceramic People" with its jazzy drum fills has a touch of Flying Lotus' busyness to its free flowing being, while the hypnotically rich “Animal Farm” and “Chasing God Through Palmyra” are all mechanised heartbeats and circling melodies with a touch of motorik style to their backbone.
In all, the first we've heard from nonkeen is less of a gamble and more of a given cert that will sit comfortably within Frahm's increasingly impressive body of work.