Nils Frahm, born on September 20th 1982, had an early introduction to music. During his childhood he was taught to play piano by Nahum Brodski – a student of the last scholar of Tschaikowski. It was through this that Nils began to immerse himself in the styles of the classical pianists before him as well as contemporary composers.
Today Nils Frahm works as an accomplished composer and producer from his Berlin-based Durton Studio, where he has worked and collaborated with many contemporaries such as Peter Broderick, Ólafur Arnalds, Anne Müller, Deaf Center, Efterklang and Dustin O’Halloran amongst other fellow musicians. His unconventional approach to an age-old instrument, played contemplatively and intimately, has won him many fans around the world.
For a musician this early in his career, Frahm displays an incredibly developed sense of control and restraint in his work, catching the ear of many fans including Thom Yorke, who featured one of Nils’ songs in Radiohead’s HQ office chart. As the recognition continues to grow for his previous solo piano works ‘Wintermusik’ (2009) and ‘The Bells’ (2009), October 10th 2011 saw the release of his most acclaimed album to date: ‘Felt’.
Having recorded his last album live in a large, reverberant church, Nils Frahm now invites you to put on your headphones and dive into a world of microscopic and delicate sounds – so intimate that you could be sitting beside him.
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.’
Captivated by this sonic exposition, he placed the microphones so deep inside the piano that they were almost touching the strings. This brought a host of external sounds to the recordings which most producers would try their hardest to hide:
‘I hear myself breathing and panting, the scraping sound of the piano’s action and the creaking of my wooden floorboards – all equally as loud as the music. The music becomes a contingency, a chance, an accident within all this rustling. My heart opens and I wonder what exactly it is that makes me feel so happy.’
‘Felt’ creates its own personal microcosm, offering a refuge of tender and honest beauty.