Monday, March 30, 2015
Listen: Nils Frahm - "Wall"
With all the International holidays popping up out of the blue I was surprised to find that something as simple as Piano Day did not already exist. In fact, its only equivalent is a day-long festival that happens every year on the longest day of the year in Make Music NY. And yet, German contemporary pianist Nils Frahm took it upon himself to rectify that through the declaration that from heretofore the 88th day of this year and every year thereafter shall be known as Piano Day. That declaration has been generally well received with the aid of Frahm's label Erased Tapes and worldwide celebrations popping up in London at Rough Trade East, New York City at Rough Trade West, and in Los Angeles at Touch Vinyl.
It seems that Frahm's edict wasn't merely a spur of the minute decision however. Piano Day also is the day Frahm decided to release a surprise album - Solo for free. The album continues in a long line of Frahm's album that suspend the notion of genre and feature Frahm's immersive solo piano music although Solo does so with a bit of a twist. The album was recorded on a prototype of a model of piano which Frahm hopes to fund through the sale of the physical versions of the new record and donations. "Wall", recorded on the KlavinsM370 is the introduction and a sneak peek at the super piano Frahm hopes to fund in piano builder David Klavins' KlavinsM450. The hope is to unveil the creation at festival to celebrate Piano Day in Berlin in 2017.
If you've heard any of Frahm's music before - especially the adventurous take on a live album Spaces, it's hard to believe the man could make his music any more engaging and yet "Wall" with the aid of the KlavinsM370 is like hearing Frahm in surround sound. Beginning with repetitive staccato figures - its starling immense, cavernous, a deluge of sound that's both space-conscious and an absolute inundation. Frahm is no stranger to the magic found in the use of space and yet still, "Wall" takes it to a logical progression - in the pure power of the gargantuan size of the 3.7 meter height of the KlavinsM370. But Frahm's touch is delicate, the new piano has the effortless ability to swallow up everything that Frahm appropriately balances. "Wall" is an all-consuming surge but one that Frahm navigates with his characteristic mastery of space for a piece that balances epic grandeur with intimate charm.
Nils Frahm's new album Solo is available for download now. To read more about Piano Day, the Klavins M370, KlavinsM450, and/or to support its creation go here.