SW RECOMMENDS: NILS FRAHM
Who is he? A young German pianist (born 1982) that is part of a new wave of musicians combining neo-classical music, improvisation, ambient music, and electronica. He’s primarily a piano player, but there are also synthesisers and electronic treatments used on his albums. He records for UK label Erased Tapes, along with similarly inclined artists such as A Winged Victory for the Sullen and Ólafur Arnalds.
What Steven says: Some of the most gorgeous music I’ve heard in recent years. I think of him as being perhaps like a modern equivalent to Keith Jarrett, but one who has grown up in the age of electronic music and DJ culture. His music is unselfconsciously beautiful and unforced, without any of the pomposity that “serious” music can sometimes have for listeners more used to rock music.
My number one track by Frahm is “Says” from his live album Spaces, which I can listen to endlessly on repeat. But my favorite album by is Felt, where he deliberately accentuates the usually unwanted sounds of the felt hammers hitting the piano strings inside the instrument. Those mechanical sounds give the pieces an incredibly intimate and touching quality, where the flaws in the instrument and recording process become part of the fabric of the music.
What should I listen to? Start with the piece “Says” from his 2013 live album Spaces, then move on to the albums Wintermusik (2009) and Felt (2011).
You might like this if you like: Keith Jarrett’s solo piano music, Eno’s albums with Harold Budd, Boards of Canada, Tangerine Dream, Arvo Pärt, Max Richter, classic ECM recordings.
For more information visit nilsfrahm.com.