CD: Nils Frahm – Spaces | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Nils Frahm – Spaces
Germany’s minimalist reveals his full range on unconventional live album
Although most readily pigeonholed as a minimalist pianist whose compositions are as much about the space between the notes as what he actually plays, Germany's Nils Frahm has also worked with the Juno synthesiser and released pieces which edge towards techno. Until now, he hasn't made it easy to get a handle on his full scope. Spaces is the first release to capture this. A live album which doesn’t sound live, it includes compositions which never been released before. Despite occasional bursts of applause, it feels like a studio album.
At his last London performance, at St John at Hackney in July this year, after setting the scene on the church’s organ he played “Says”, a powerful synthesiser piece which, as it pulsed, evoked Atem-era Tangerine Dream and even Vangelis. But it didn’t sound like either – it was totally fresh and as enfolding as his piano works. The evening moved through piano pieces with high-speed, cyclic playing to the delicate works which might have been expected. Spaces captures the arc and atmosphere of his live shows.
What it is not, though, is a conventional live album. It’s a new creation. Frahm took disparate live recordings, some of old pieces which didn’t fit with anything else, and took them into his Durton Studio to create a seamless whole. A title like “Improvisation for Coughs and a Cell Phone” might suggest Spaces is a collection of scraps, but the reality is that this album is Frahm’s first cohesive showcase for the full range of his talents and captures a power his previous releases haven't. If an entry point is needed, it’s this.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Bastille's breakthrough gig was a well-mannered affair without a trace of bad blood
Triumphant return of Neue Slowenische Kunst
The musical undead walk amongst us in this prog-rock evocation of dark London
Cinematic Arab vistas with a rock sensibility
The superstar diva from Houston, Texas, thunders into London in epic style
Southern rockers find their country soul again
Sublime pairing of virtuoso guitarists who bestride much of jazz and related genres
Musical recluse returns with a nearly decent album
Can Belgians resurrect a much-maligned British style?
The band's songwriter on their 12th album and more
British indie band threatens to break through with sumptuously crafted observational noir
One-time Brit-hopper returns to solo arena on top form