Music for Animals Nils Frahm

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  • 1The Dog with 1000 Faces26:21
  • 2Mussel Memory13:27
  • 3Seagull Scene13:09
  • 4Sheep in Black and White24:47
  • 5Stepping Stone18:15
  • 6Briefly27:02
  • 7Right Right Right07:25
  • 8World of Squares15:02
  • 9Lemon Day18:31
  • 10Do Dream22:36
  • Total Runtime03:06:35

Info for Music for Animals

Nils Frahm returns with an expansive new album, ‘Music For Animals’, his first fresh studio material since 2018’s ‘All Melody’ and 2019’s associated ‘All Encores’, and his first full length album of brand-new music for LEITER. Containing ten tracks and clocking in at over three hours long, it’s an ambitious and compelling set different to anything Frahm’s released to date – in fact, it finds the Piano Day founder declining to use a piano – but at the same time retains many of the qualities that have set the influential musician’s work apart over much of the last two decades.

Unfolding at an unhurried, meditative pace in a celebration of tone, timbre and texture – and thus of sound itself – ‘Music For Animals’ offers an unusually immersive experience. Nonetheless, it also functions as what Erik Satie once called ‘Furniture Music,’ inviting a listener to wander in and out at their leisure. “My constant inspiration,” Frahm explains, “was something as mesmerising as watching a great waterfall or the leaves on a tree in a storm. It’s good we have symphonies and music where there’s a development, but a waterfall doesn’t need an Act 1, 2, 3, then an outcome, and nor do the leaves on a tree in a storm. Some people like watching the leaves rustle and the branches move. This record is for them”.

Inevitably, ‘Music For Animals’ is a product – and indeed a document – of the pandemic and of long, lonely hours spent in Frahm’s East Berlin studio. “Nothing was happening,” he recalls, “and I felt like this was a special time which needed a special kind of music.” Such solitude, though, wasn’t the only unfamiliar aspect to the album’s making. It’s also the first record on which he worked, albeit idiosyncratically, with his wife. “Like everyone, Nina had to spend much more time on her own at home,” he recalls. “One day she brought a picnic over to the studio, and we opened a bottle of wine, then I showed her my new instrument, a glass harmonica. When she tried playing it, it sounded amazing, and I recorded that first interaction. Afterwards she came a couple of times a week, and each time I’d prepare a little sequence to jam on. She’s not musically trained, but she was playing with so much purpose and care. That’s very helpful, just playing the few notes you really feel and otherwise not playing anything.”

This reminder of Mark Hollis’ famous instruction – “Before you play two notes, learn how to play one note… and don’t play one note unless you’ve got a reason to play it” – subtly underlines ‘Music For Animals’ quiet but inconspicuous affinity with Talk Talk’s later, spacious albums. “A lot of music, in my humble opinion, is over-decorated like a Christmas tree,” Frahm continues. “I just want to have the tree. I don’t know why there’s more decoration on the tree each year, nor why a song has to be a little more compact, denser and more digested. This, to me, feels more and more unnatural. I’d prefer to give an idea of what could be there but isn’t there so that the listener starts creating the composition in their mind. For me that’s a core element of my music: that you, the listener, find yourself inside the music. On this album there’s an especially big place left where it’s not too tight or squeezed.”

As a title, ‘Music For Animals’ is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the conceptual albums of the 1950s – like Raymond Scott’s ‘Music For Babies’ – as well as to contemporary playlist habits. “I feel a certain frustration with the functional use of music these days, all these playlists with names like Music for Sleeping, Music for Focus, Music for Masturbation,” Frahm laughs. “Music always seems to need to do something useful. That’s a very client-driven logic: the client needs something, the music should deliver that, otherwise ‘You’re Fired!’ With this album, there was no specific audience in mind, and nor was it adapted to any particular purpose. But in fact, it seemed to please the animals I’ve spent a lot of time with these last months, so, you know: if you can’t beat them, join them…!”

At three hours long, ‘Music For Animals’ might seem initially intimidating, but the truth is that this substantial collection encourages listeners to bask in its tranquility at their chosen depth, demanding only as much attention as they wish to contribute. As Frahm himself happily points out, “It all comes back to that waterfall. If you want to watch it, watch it. If you don’t, then you don’t have to. It will always be the same, yet never quite the same.” Indeed, that’s ‘Music For Animals’ greatest strength. Instantly recognisable, it’s still like nothing else.

Berlin-based contemporary composer Nils Frahm has built a steady reputation for his intimate, poignant piano recordings, yet they so far only showed a fragment of what to expect from a Nils Frahm concert. Frahm’s heart lies in improvisation, in the magic of a moment where, inspired by the space and the audience, his fingers can create new compositions loosely based around his familiar melodies.

Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm
was born in 1982 and from a very young age, he really enjoyed piano lessons, amongst others those given by Nahum Brodski, one of Tchaikowsky ́s last pupils. In his early days he also discovered Keith Jarrett ́s epochal improvisational music and the boundary-pushing musical worlds of the exceptional label ECM. Classical and jazz music have since become equal sources of inspiration for the pianist, alongside minimalist music and pop.

Nils Frahm had an early introduction to music. During his childhood he was taught to play piano. 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. 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.

As the recognition continues to grow for his previous solo piano works 'Wintermusik' (2009) and ‘The Bells’ (2009), 2011 saw the release of his critically acclaimed record 'Felt' on Erased Tapes Records. The album was followed by the solo synthesiser EP 'Juno' and 'Screws' (2012) – a birthday gift to his fans he recorded while recovering from a thumb injury. Nils released his follow up to Juno titled 'Juno Reworked' (2013) with guest reworks by Luke Abbott and Clark.

Nils returned with his new album 'Spaces' in 2013, expressing his love for experimentation and answering the call from his fans for a record that truly reflects what they have witnessed during his concerts.

In 2013 Nils Frahm released his first music book, entitled 'Sheets Eins'. Nils is currently on his worldwide 'Spaces Tour 2014'.

This album contains no booklet.

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