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 10,000 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
Renowned fusioneers give themselves studio space to play
Yet more outings for essential but oft-reissued albums by two seminal British bands
Crossover jazz star returns to his roots
Beyoncé's personal and political project is dark, visual and deeply spiritual
The Indian raga slide guitar genius talks Hawaii, Brighton, punk rock and more
From Emmylou Harris to German jazz to London techno, all the new vinyl action is here
Legends and up-and-coming stars are recognised at the third Jazz FM Awards
Spectral electronic balladry from rising LA-based Australian talent
An evening of unearthly delights with the Wise Ol' Man of rock'n'roll
Eno paints another masterpiece
Georgian charm and high-quality roots music make for a delightful programme
The Nest Collective celebrates a decade of the best in folk and world music