Nils Frahm - Spaces


1. An Aborted Beginning
2. Says
3. Said and Done
4. Went Missing
5. Familiar
6. Improvisation For Coughs and A Cellphone
7. Hammers
8. For – Peters – Toilet Brushes – More
9. Over There, It’s Raining
10. Unter – Tristana – Ambre
11. Ross’s Harmonium


It is somehow defining for contemporary music to be rather limitless. The old, typically German distinction between E- and U-music (E, meaning roughly “serious” and U “entertaining”) is clearly no longer the structure in which music is felt and made today, although it is still operant, f.e. in terms of public funding. In order to see how ridiculous this is, all you need to do is to look at the work of German producer and artist NILS FRAHM – in a certain way, he perfectly embodies the bridging of classical and experimental music. And he does so by simply denying that there is any difference between those at all. As a classically trained and educated pianist, FRAHM surely brings all the skills and theoretical knowledge with him that are necessary to understand and therefore deconstruct the thing that is often referred to as Neo-Classic. With artists like PETER BRODERICK, ÓLAFUR ARNALDS or NILS FRAHM, there is a whole generation of young and excellent musicians currently working on the neglection of old thought structures. With his seventh record in eight years, FRAHM now strengthens his position in the canon of the aforementioned artists. Spaces is yet another big experiment as much as it is by times a work of simple beauty.

Over the length of two years, FRAHM recorded and produced these songs as something he would call a side-project. Basically, Spaces is a live-album – but one, that is uncoupled from a certain time and space. It is the fascinating experience of NILS FRAHM‘s concerts which have been recorded, rearranged and remastered for something one could call a Best-Of. Be it the radical reduction of Said And Done from his 2009 released record The Bells, or Familiar from 2011s FeltFRAHM is an expert in developing his own songs and sketches into something completely different in the live-environment. As he’s not limited to the piano but loves to work with several synths, analogue equipment and effects he collected over the years, his concerts turn into captivating adventures between playful experiment and formal austerity. Besides the fact that they create soothing and inspiring moments of contemplation. Spaces is the attempt of captioning these experiences from a different angle.

Clearly, this is an album of our time, in the sense that it is hypertextual. FRAHM follows a modular approach in which he collects everything he does, as well as the audiences response and the vibe of the venues he plays in. Then he rearranges, rethinks and therefore evolves his own work with every single time he presents it. “I’m not really a fan of trying to fix things in post-production” FRAHM shortly said and indeed, Spaces feels like a snapshot of his art, which in fact will never be done. But it presents an artist being highly reflective about what he does and amazingly focussed on finding new ways to express himself. NILS FRAHM‘s Spaces is passion in its purest form – a passion for music in total disrespect of limitations.