Nils Frahm

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Nils Frahm
Nils Frahm (2015)
Frahm in 2015
Background information
Born (1982-09-20) 20 September 1982 (age 38)
OriginHamburg, Germany
GenresContemporary classical, ambient, electronic
LabelsErased Tapes
Associated actsNonkeen, Peter Broderick, Ólafur Arnalds, Anne Müller, F.S. Blumm
Websitenilsfrahm.com

Nils Frahm (born 20 September 1982) is a German musician, composer, and record producer based in Berlin. He is known for combining classical and electronic music and for an unconventional approach to the piano in which he mixes a grand piano, upright piano, Roland Juno-60, Rhodes piano, drum machines, and Moog Taurus.

In addition to his solo work, Frahm has released collaborations with such notable performers as Ólafur Arnalds, F. S. Blumm, Anne Müller and Woodkid. With Frederic Gmeiner and Sebastian Singwald he records and performs as Nonkeen.[1]

Biography[edit]

Frahm had an early introduction to music. His father, Klaus Frahm, was a photographer who also designed covers for ECM Records.[2] He grew up near Hamburg, where he learned the styles of the classical pianists as well as contemporary composers.[3] At school he used mixing boards and was very interested in the quality of recorded sound.[4] He studied classical piano for 8 years under Nahum Brodsky, the protégé[citation needed] of the protégé[citation needed] of Tchaikovsky, who lived in a neighbouring village. In 2006, rather than pursue an orchestra career, Frahm moved to Berlin as a jobbing technician.[5]

Frahm's earlier solo piano works Wintermusik (2009) and The Bells (2009) gained him attention, but it was his 2011 release Felt that was met with critical acclaim. It was his first studio album on Erased Tapes, which has released his music since. It was followed by the solo synthesizer EP Juno; and by Screws (2012), recorded while Frahm was recovering from a thumb injury, and which was offered as a free download to fans on his birthday.[6] His follow-up to Juno, titled Juno Reworked (2013), featured guest reworks by Luke Abbott and Chris Clark.

Frahm's album Spaces (2013) was made of live recordings from various venues spanning two years.[2]

In December 2013, Frahm released his first music book, Sheets Eins (Sheets One), published by Manners McDade.[7] In 2016 the follow-up Sheets Zwei was released.[8]

In 2014, Frahm announced his new piano "Una Corda", specially designed and made for him by David Klavins. It weighs under 100 kg and has one string per key.[9] (Standard pianos have from one to three strings per key.)

His album Solo (2015), an improvised single take with no overdubs, was later recorded on the "Modell 370", a 370 cm high vertical piano also made by David Klavins.[10] It was one of 19 records nominated for the IMPALA Album of the Year Award.[11]

A condensed version of Frahm's single "More" was featured in the trailer for the video game Assassin's Creed Unity gamescom.[12]

In 2015, Frahm composed his first original film score, for the German film Victoria, a 140-minute continuous take directed by Sebastian Schipper.[13] He also collaborated with Woodkid on the critically acclaimed short film ELLIS[14] directed by JR which was released in October 2015.

In the same year, Frahm created "Piano Day", celebrated on the 88th day of the year (due to the standard piano's 88 keys). The event's first project was the construction, with David Klavins, of the Modell 450 piano, the successor to the Modell 370.

In February 2016, Frahm released The Gamble, followed by its companion release Oddments of the Gamble in August 2016.[1] Pitchfork described the album as "charmingly patched together and messy as it is well-paced and dynamic".[15] The material was recorded over eight years while the artwork was produced by Frahm's father.[16]

In 2016 Frahm curated Possibly Colliding at the Barbican Centre in London, featuring a weekend of music, art and films.[17]

Core attitudes[edit]

Frahm has said "I’m interested in how human beings react in certain situations, and what music does to people’s emotions. How we can change people’s attitudes with tones. After I’ve played a good concert, people leave the room happy. This is something we can give back to the world. When people feel down and like it’s all going to shit, at least we can give them some music and change their attitude so people don’t think it’s all shit... That’s my religion."[4]

Equipment[edit]

Nils Frahm and the Una Corda (front), Roland Juno-60 (behind him), Fender Rhodes (under the Juno-60), Roland RE-501 (on top behind the Juno-60), Moog Taurus (on the floor behind him) and other equipment.

Frahm is known for using vintage gear on his songs and live performances. This is a list of some of his main equipment:[18]

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

  • Streichelfisch (2005, AtelierMusik)
  • Electric Piano (2008, AtelierMusik)
  • The Bells (2009, Kning Disk, Erased Tapes)
  • Felt (2011, Erased Tapes)
  • Screws (2012, Erased Tapes)
  • Spaces (2013, Erased Tapes)
  • Solo (2015, Erased Tapes)
  • All Melody (2018, Erased Tapes)
  • All Encores (2019, Erased Tapes)
  • Empty (2020, Erased Tapes)[19]
  • Tripping with Nils Frahm (2020, Erased Tapes)

EPs[edit]

  • My First EP (2008, AtelierMusik)
  • Wintermusik (2009, AtelierMusik)
  • Unter/Über (2010, Erased Tapes)
  • Juno (2011, Erased Tapes)
  • Encores 1 (2018, Erased Tapes)
  • Encores 2 (2019, Erased Tapes)[20]
  • Encores 3 (2019, Erased Tapes)

Compilation albums[edit]

Soundtrack albums[edit]

  • Music for the Motion Picture Victoria (2015, Erased Tapes)
  • ELLIS (2016, Erased Tape, with Woodkid)

Collaborations[edit]

  • Dauw (Split) (2009, Dekorder, with Machinefabriek)
  • Music for lovers Music versus time (2010, Sonic Pieces, with F.S. Blumm)
  • 7Fingers (2010, HUSH, Erased Tapes, with Anne Müller)
  • Mort Aux Vaches (2011, Staalplaat, with Peter Broderick, Machinefabriek, Romke Kleefstra, Anne-Chris Bakker, Jan Kleefstra)
  • Stare (2012, Erased Tapes, with Ólafur Arnalds)
  • Music for wobbling Music versus gravity (2013, Sonic Pieces, with F.S. Blumm)
  • Life Story Love And Glory (Erased Tapes, with Ólafur Arnalds)
  • Loon (2015, Erased Tapes, with Ólafur Arnalds)
  • Collaborative Works (2015, Erased Tapes, with Ólafur Arnalds)
  • Trance Frendz (2016, Erased Tapes, with Ólafur Arnalds)
  • The Gamble (2016, Durton Studio, with Frederic Gmeiner and Sebastian Singwald)
  • Tag Eins Tag Zwei (2016, Sonic Pieces, with F.S.Blumm)
  • Bergschrund (2016, Mass Appeal, with DJ Shadow)

Theatre collaborations[edit]

Print[edit]

  • Sheets Eins (2013, Manners Mcdade/Erased Tapes)
  • Sheets Zwei (2016, Manners Mcdade/Erased Tapes)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Simpson, Paul. "Nonkeen | Biography & History". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b Andrew Male (9 October 2013). "Nils Frahm Flaunts the Imperfection". Mojo Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  3. ^ Rachel Wakefield (30 April 2010). ""The music I play inspires my life": Nils Frahm". Wessex Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b "The Quietus - Features - A Quietus Interview - The Listener Is The Key: Nils Frahm Interviewed".
  5. ^ Jones, Charlie Robin (28 June 2016). "Nils Frahm: 'My music can be quite heavy. Some people faint'". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  6. ^ Ro Cemm (6 December 2013). "Album Reviews: Nils Frahm - Screws". The Line of Best Fit. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  7. ^ "SHEETS by Nils Frahm". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  8. ^ SHEETS ZWEI by Nils Frahm. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  9. ^ Peter Kirn (16 June 2014). "Acoustic Revelation: Inside the Una Corda, the 100kg, 21st Century Piano Built for Nils Frahm". Create Digital Music. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  10. ^ "SOLO | Nils Frahm". www.nilsfrahm.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Young labels featured in shortlist for IMPALA Album of the Year Award". sur impalamusic.org. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  12. ^ "'Assassin's Creed: Unity:' Brand New Trailer Released At Gamescom 2014 [VIDEO]". 15 August 2014. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Music for the Motion Picture Victoria | Nils Frahm". www.nilsfrahm.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  14. ^ "ELLIS". www.ellis-themovie.com. Archived from the original on 9 May 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  15. ^ Cook-Wilson, Winston (9 February 2016). "nonkeen: The Gamble Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Friends First: An Interview with nonkeen". thefourohfive.com. Archived from the original on 3 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Possibly Colliding: a weekend curated by Nils Frahm". Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  18. ^ Inc., Equipboard. "Nils Frahm's Equipboard". Equipboard. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  19. ^ Bloom, Madison (28 March 2020). "Nils Frahm Shares New Album Empty: Listen". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 28 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Encores 2 – EP by Nils Frahm on Apple Music". Apple Music. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.

External links[edit]