It’s hard for Nils Frahm to resist the pull of a good concept. For 2011’s Felt, the German pianist draped a heavy cloth over the strings of his instrument—a gesture of respect for his neighbors that yielded an alluringly tactile sound. The following year’s Screws, written and recorded with a broken thumb, comprised nine songs for nine fingers. And the year after that, to capture the grandeur of his live shows—neoclassical, post-techno, maximally minimalist affairs performed on multiple acoustic and electronic keyboard instruments, in the spread-eagled style of the progressive-rock keyboardists of yore—he collaged Spaces out of two years’ worth of thrumming, rippling concert recordings. But a recent collaboration with the German musician F.S. Blumm proved that he’s just as good, if not better, without a big conceptual framework to prop him up. Their album Tag Eins Tag Zwei is a wonderfully low-key set of improvisations. 7.8 Pitchfork
For Nils Frahm’s tenth solo album, the German composer has delivered a solid gold case study in pared-back progressive electronica, and confirmed himself – if there was any doubt – as the premier name in that field. It’s a Michelin star feast of elegant tones playing out terse melodies amid concert hall sized production, and it should find its way onto year end lists come December. 9/10 The Line Of Best Fit
Nils Frahm fans have been waiting two years for their favourite pianist-composer to retrofit Saal 3, Funkhaus, in Berlin with a new studio. Here Frahm recorded All Melody, his 8th album set to be released on January 26, 2018. The same week, Frahm will begin his first world tour since 2015. Tickets to the Danforth Music Hall show in Toronto on March 23, 2018 — less than a week before Frahm’s beloved Piano Day on March 29 — are nearly sold out. And for good reason.
As a pianist, to receive a preview of All Melody was an incredible gift. I rushed home, excited to hear more of the composer’s stunning command of percussive melodies interspersed with hushed, rich harmonies on prepared and regular pianos.
Not so with All Melody. **** Spill Magazine
Pianist Nils Frahm is practically a household name these days and while his latest album All Melody definitely delivers on what you’d hope for, it’s also an introspective exploration of just what makes a guy like Frahm tick.
In truth, calling him a pianist is barely viable at this point. After building his own studio over the course of two years in East Germany’s Funkhaus building, where he created everything from a pipe organ to the woodwork, it’s no surprise to find these earthy tones throughout All Melody. There’s no grand concept here as with records like Felt and Screws, just a guy exploring new possibilities with new toys. 8/10 The Four Oh Five
Nils Frahm is an artist to behold. He has made a name for himself as one of the most prolific and consistent ambient producers today and it’d be at the very least silly to deny his talents. But when you become that consistent, you risk reducing people’s ability to define your work. And I am afraid that Nils has reached that point in his career, where all that could be said was said already, so one has to retract to simply saying: “This is a great album, as expected of Nils Frahm.” That sentence sums it all up. There is barely anything else to say. Perhaps a brief analysis of each track, or at least the highlights, is possible, but not much more than that. 4.5 Superb – Sputnik Mag