Erased Tapes

Nils Frahm - Graz

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Erased Tapes debut. Wait, what? How? Anyone who has seen
the trail blazing sonic pioneer live will know Nils likes to
deadpan a joke. Graz is in fact the first studio album he
recorded for the label back in 2009, that somehow remained a
secret… until now.

Nils Frahm has quietly changed the musical landscape,
reincarnating the centuries old figure of a pianist-composer for a
new generation of music fans. As Nils’ word-of-mouth popularity
grew and grew, so did the pop-culture profile of his instrument. He
founded Piano Day with a team of like-minded friends in 2015 to
help that process, some years releasing an album of piano
recordings to celebrate one of humankind’s greatest inventions.
Graz is one such record; an unheard snapshot of a young Nils
recorded at Mumuth, the University of Music and Performing Arts
Graz, in 2009 as part of the thesis Conversations for Piano and
Room produced by Thomas Geiger, which received an award in
the Classical Surround Recording category at the 127th AES
Convention in New York.
Whilst at the time it was decided to keep the grand piano
recordings from the Graz sessions locked away and instead focus
on his close mic’ed, dampened piano explorations which would
become his acclaimed studio album Felt in 2011, two of the pieces
— most notably Hammers — lived on as part of his live set, and
were expanded on and re-recorded as part of his breakthrough
2013 record Spaces (a collage of field recordings from concerts
which broke the Fourth Wall and included audience coughs). Over
his mercurial career, Nils has pushed and pulled at the boundaries
and parameters of his prolific work like that. He’s physically
changed his piano (the softened prepared strings of Felt) played
with a modified body (Screws recorded with 9 fingers and a broken
thumb) played with scale (Solo recorded on the 3.7 metre high
Klavins M370) and with the different layers of formats (last year’s
Tripping with Nils Frahm nested his studio setup inside a live
performance, concert film and live album). Now with Graz he has
found the final frontier for play: time itself and his own discography.
Graz is a moment of time at the very beginning of Nils’ quiet
revolution. The essential genius is already evident; the harmonic
language of classical, and the immediacy of jazz. Nils seems to
pull down each idea moment by moment, gently, to not scare away
the muse. He describes: “sometimes when you hear a piano, you
might think it’s a conversation between a woman and a man. At
the same time, it can hint at shapes of the universe and describe
how a black hole looks. You can make sounds that have no relation
to anything we can measure.”