Nils Frahm – The Bells

Nils Frahm is a german pianist.  He is on the wonderful Erased Tapes label, home to TSP favourites Olafur Arnalds, Finn and Peter Broderick.  Indeed, on this new album he works with Broderick, who apparently took on the roll of a creative director of sorts during the making of this record.  It seems that Broderick would instruct Frahm to write a piece, often on the spot, giving only guidance such as “write something I can rap over” or, in the case of the track ‘Peter Is Dead In The Piano’ making Frahm imagine that Peter was indeed dead inside his piano.  Such is the brilliance of this record that Broderick, himself a highly skilled pianist, recently proclaimed that he could spend 10 years working on a piano track and never achieve the beauty that Frahm has in these improvisational works. 

I’m stunned by this record.  I really am.  If you want to hear somebody who is a master of their instrument then I would suggest you buy this record immediately and turn on the track ‘Down Down’.  Stunning is the only word I can find to describe this work.  Modern Classical?  Maybe, but this is pure and simply somebody playing piano.  There’s no need for other instruments.  It’s just Frahm and his piano.  Sometimes it’s beautiful.  Sometimes the aggression pours from the keys.  As a pianist myself I’m a little in awe of this.  I mean, I know there are plenty of people out there who can probably play piano in this manner and this well.  Many wonderful pianists who can sit down and play highly technical works by the likes of Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.  However, Frahm made all this stuff up himself.  He didn’t sit and score it either as far as I can make out.  He didn’t take loads of time over it.  He just played and played and let the music pour from him.  What he has created is, without doubt, one of my favourite records for a long, long time.  It’s simply stunningly beautiful.  If you do like classical music in any way, then this record is a must.  You can check out Nils Frahm here.  Enjoy