NILS FRAHM: Felt (Erased Tapes)


Posted on Sep 20th 2011 01:24 am

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (0)

Nils Frahm: Felt

Erased Tapes 2011
09 Tracks. 43mins14secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD

How close does one need to be to an instrument to appreciate it fully? With his latest album, Berlin-based pianist and composer Nils Frahm uncovers a world of miniature sounds and noises which remain usually unheard, and places them at the core of this compositions, working with, and purposely seeking imperfections and defects to give his music a deeply organic feel.

This album was recorded at Durton Studio, the facility he runs in Berlin, for the most part late into the night. Careful to preserve the peaceful nocturnal atmosphere, and more pragmatically, avoid disturbing his neighbours, he muted the sound of his piano by placing felt between the hammers and the strings, and resolved to be as light-fingered as the music allowed. This revealed an entirely new sonic space, filled not only with notes and melodies, but also with tiny alien noises and sounds, from hammers hitting the strings or fingers brushing against the keys to the strings resonating inside the body of the instrument or the wood reacting to the variations in the intensity of the music.

These peripheral noises are usually hidden by the music they help create, yet, captured in their bare state, they give a totally different dimension to the resulting recordings. It feels as if one is lying so close to the piano that even Frahm’s breathing can at times be heard clearly. Each sound becomes texture, blended with the music to underline its most delicate features or reveal the tiniest shifts in mood or tone. Usually, these imperfections would be treated as junk and erased from the recordings as not to alter the music itself, but this is exactly the effect Frahm is looking for, and it is a process which serves his compositions beautifully.

The overall mood of the record is somewhat subdued and introspective, but Frahm carves here some of his most memorable compositions, from the breezy effervescence of Keep and More or the beautifully impressionist Familiar or Snippet to the more introspective Unter or Kind to the autumnal Less or Old Thoughts. While the piano remains the main instrument here, Frahm regularly adds other textures and layers, from celesta or xylophone to field recordings and electronics, to expand the scope of his compositions.

In the last couple of years, Frahm has become a ubiquitous figure on the modern classical circuit. Not only has he released a number of records in quite a short time, including collaborative efforts with Anne Müller, F.S. Blumm, Machinefabriek, Peter Broderick and many more, but he has also contributed to a considerable number of records by the likes of Greg Haines, Simon Scott, Kreng or Deaf Center to name but a few. With this new album, he reaffirms his position as one of the brightest talents of his generation, his unusual approach and deep understanding of his instrument making this a truly magnificent collection.


Nils Frahm | Nils Frahm (MySpace) | Erased Tapes
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD


Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (0)

Comments are closed.