Erased Tapes

Nils Frahm - Graz

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Erased Tapes debut. Wait, what? How? Anyone who has seenthe trail blazing sonic pioneer live will know Nils likes todeadpan a joke. Graz is in fact the first studio album herecorded for the label back in 2009, that somehow remained asecret… until now.Nils Frahm has quietly changed the musical landscape,reincarnating the centuries old figure of a pianist-composer for anew generation of music fans. As Nils’
word-of-mouth popularitygrew and grew, so did the pop-culture profile of his instrument. Hefounded Piano Day with a team of like-minded friends in 2015 tohelp that process, some years releasing an album of pianorecordings to celebrate one of humankind’s greatest inventions.Graz is one such record; an unheard snapshot of a young Nilsrecorded at Mumuth, the University of Music and Performing ArtsGraz, in 2009 as part of the thesis Conversations for Piano andRoom produced by Thomas Geiger, which received an award inthe Classical Surround Recording category at the 127th AESConvention in New York.Whilst at the time it was decided to keep the grand pianorecordings from the Graz sessions locked away and instead focuson his close mic’ed, dampened piano explorations which wouldbecome his acclaimed studio album Felt in 2011, two of the pieces— most notably Hammers — lived on as part of his live set, andwere expanded on and re-recorded as part of his breakthrough2013 record Spaces (a collage of field recordings from concertswhich broke the Fourth Wall and included audience coughs). Overhis mercurial career, Nils has pushed and pulled at the boundariesand parameters of his prolific work like that. He’s physicallychanged his piano (the softened prepared strings of Felt) playedwith a modified body (Screws recorded with 9 fingers and a brokenthumb) played with scale (Solo recorded on the 3.7 metre highKlavins M370) and with the different layers of formats (last year’sTripping with Nils Frahm nested his studio setup inside a liveperformance, concert film and live album). Now with Graz he hasfound the final frontier for play: time itself and his own discography.Graz is a moment of time at the very beginning of Nils’ quietrevolution. The essential genius is already evident; the harmoniclanguage of classical, and the immediacy of jazz. Nils seems topull down each idea moment by moment, gently, to not scare awaythe muse. He describes: “sometimes when you hear a piano, youmight think it’s a conversation between a woman and a man. Atthe same time, it can hint at shapes of the universe and describehow a black hole looks. You can make sounds that have no relationto anything we can measure.”
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