- An aborted beginning
- Said and done
- Went missing
- Improvisation for coughs and a cellphone
- For-Peter-Toilet brushes-More
- Over there, it's raining
- Ross's harmonium
Nils Frahm is a pianist and composer based in Berlin. Maybe because of this, and the fact that he uses analog synthesizers in some of his compositions, he has been mistakenly labeled sometimes as a member of the "Berlin School of Electronic Music". But Frahm is mainly a classically trained pianist, although his music is rather unconventional. In fact, his first published albums, Wintermusic and The Bells (both in 2009) were pieces for piano solo, and this instrument has an absolute prominence in Spaces.
Spaces gathers selected pieces from a series of more than thirty concerts offered over two years, in what Frahm defines as "a field recording, more than a live album". Those are absorbent compositions and improvisations, settled on Philip Glass' minimalism tradition with touches of Thomas Fehlman electronics.
In 'Says', the German manages the time, letting the electronic sequences to naturally evolve, imperceptibly but also inevitably, while the piano notes float over arpeggios. Slowly, the track swells towards a magnificent and awesome climax. 'Said and done' is an exercise of instrumental virtuosity and 'Went mising' an example of pensive contention. Spaces is an album diverse as a whole, balancing from the crystaline romanticism of 'Familiar' to the ambient darkness of 'Ross's Harmonium'.
'For-Peter-Toilet Brushes-More', a long suite in four parts, starts with deep analog sounding chords, slowly adding unconventional percussive elements which opens the space to Frahm's piano, again developping minimalistic arpeggios and almost-epic melodies, in debt with the most cinematographic Michael Nyman.
Spaces confirms Nils Frahm as one of the most interesting proposals in contemporary classical music, and a bridge between that clasicism and the new and liberalizing forms of approaching composition. It doesn't reach the perplexing experimentation of John Cage (another recognized influence), but it keeps a wide capacity to astonish.