[above image credit: Nils Frahm]
When it comes to making music, Nils Frahm does not play by the rules. Each of his releases (spanning a career of over a decade since his first release) showcases a unique style and a different approach. Whether this is by self-modifying his piano for his 2011 LP ‘Felt’ (for which he added felt to the hammers of his piano) or through his 2015 launch of ‘Piano Day’, a global and annual initiative to celebrate piano music, Frahm has so often worked to challenge our everyday expectations of the pianist’s stereotype.
Perhaps this is what makes his music, and in particular his personality that shows through it, so enjoyable. In an age where the listener is so often bombarded with monotony, Frahm’s stubbornness to conform provides relief and renewed faith in the system.
Recorded at the Funkhaus Studio in Berlin, the largest studio complex in the world, Frahm has created a masterpiece in ‘All Melody’, his latest full length release. Rising and falling from track to track, it journeys effortlessly through periods of tranquility one moment to sharpness and fragility the next. In his own words, “All Melody attacks you sometimes”. We couldn’t agree more. Whilst there are parts of the album that can lull the listener into a daydream, you can be sure that an imminent change of direction will bring you rapidly back to reality.
Our highlight is the track ‘Sunson’, which seems to combine all of these emotions into one seamless flow. It can, at times, be almost too easy to listen to. The effect is hypnotic as the keyboard loops rise and fall, making it easy to forget your purpose. That is, until the tempo changes ever so slightly, creating an off-beat so subtle that it gently carries you back to consciousness.
This is more than music. It is an experience.