Nils Frahm – Felt (Erased Tapes)
First of all, I don’t think I’ve heard an album from Nils Frahm that didn’t impress me. Ever since I heard The Bells (Kning Disk, 2009) and Wintermusik (Sonic Pieces, 2009), I’ve hungrily consumed everything by this Berlin based modern classical composer. Both of the above, as well as Unter | Über release, and now Felt have been picked up by the wonderful Erased Tapes Records, home to Ólafur Arnalds, Peter Broderick and A Winged Victory For The Sullen. Oh, and while I’m going through Frahm’s discography, don’t forget his collaboration with Anne Müller on 7fingers - one of my all time favorite glitchy modern classical albums!
For Felt, we find Nils back behind the piano, playing solo pieces that are hauntingly beautiful, dangerously gorgeous and melancholy elated. The microphones on the recording appear to be placed very closely to the hammers, keys, and pedals. So close that I could hear every breath, stroke and creaking of the instrument. The album is so personal, intimate and cozy that there is no doubt that Frahm has fused his fingers with his piano, and became inseparably one. The melodies warm up, slowly rise into the air, evaporate and immediately become classic. The consecutive plays of the album only reassure their permanence in the contemporary and neo classical world.
“Recorded late at night in the reflective solitude and silence of his studio in Berlin, Frahm uncovers a new sound and source of inspiration within these peaceful moments: “Originally I wanted to do my neighbours a favour by damping the sound of my piano. If I want to play piano during the quiet of the night, the only respectful way is by layering thick felt in front of the strings and using very gentle fingers. It was then that I discovered that my piano sounds beautiful with the damper.”
This accidental finding unraveled a deeply affectionate space, allowing the instrument to whisper its secrets through the hands of the player, sharing the music through the physical act of playing, as eloquently captured on the album. This is a piece that only Frahm could make and it could only have been released by Erased Tapes. Felt receives our highest possible praise and is featured on our Best of 2011 list, Music For Watching The Snow Slowly Fall In The Moonlight. Can not recommend this enough…
p.s. Every time I listen to the album and “Old Thought” comes on, there’s a part where the bells come in, and my dog always jumps off the couch and runs towards the door. Even when completely asleep! It’s hilarious and I just wanted to share that…
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Tags: modern classical, neo classical, piano