10 Jan

Nils Frahm – You

wpid-nils-frahm_2.jpgToday is going to be a little different. I did have a commute, but I am not going to split the post into the usual two sections as. today is about an entire album and its effect on the journey.
The album in question is Nils Frahm’s ‘Screws’. I am not overly familiar with Frahm or this genre of minimalist composing/piano. I have albums by peers (Peter Broderick) and collaborators (FS Blumm) but this is the first time I have got into his work. The story goes that he fell out of bed and broke his thumb – not optimal for a pianist. When his hand came out of cast, he was told not to play while it finished healing. He promptly ignored the advice and decided to record a track each night before he went to bed – 9 tracks for each of his working fingers. It’s astonishing that such a simple album can have so much depth. It is a short album at around 20 minutes, recorded in his flat with a single mic and a dampened piano. It sounds like it was recorded on an old cassette deck – you can hear the floor boards creak, the pedals of the piano and other sounds and the whole thing is wrapped in a haze. This all adds to the emotion and beauty of the pieces, to create something incredibly intimate. 

Last night I stayed in a hotel: I never sleep well when I have to and I miss my wife and boy a lot. I decided to put on my headphones and skipped through some things I had recently bought, finally  setting on this. I started listening and was amazed at how good it was and the emotion it created.…after a while, I drifted off to sleep. In the morning, still thinking about the music. I decided to listen to the album as I travelled into the office. No free paper, no facebook and twitter, just the music and the journey. This blog, in the main, is all about music and how it fits and affects your journey so nothing new there, but sometimes I think it is good to be reminded of how much music can affect us and affect how we interpret our surroundings.

As I walked to the DLR station the opening keys of the beautiful ‘You’ came on (the track I have posted up): Creating a kind of peace to fit with the crispness of the morning as I walked past the beautiful old buildings with a glimmer of frost. I watched the train glide in to ‘Do’ and the people silently move in and out of the train. I don’t think the couple next to me had been together long and the opening keys of’ Mi’ reminded me of that feeling when you are so happy to be with someone – Again, I missed being home. I seemed to naturally pick out different faces as more melancholic tracks like ‘Sol’ and ‘La’ changed the mood. People who looked stressed, worried, concerned. Maybe not, maybe just the music making it look that way. You hope people are ok and happy. Leaving the train I stopped to buy some breakfast and stopped the music – kiss FM, Rita Ora Justin Bieber amongst other things, a harsh sound – got my breakfast, back to my headphones and instantly pulled back in by the beautiful track ‘Si. Into my building and into the lift with many people, but isolated by the lovely last track on the album ‘Me’. The final keys of the track accompanying me as I leave the lift and the doors close.
It’s an album well worth checking out and you can find more on Frahm here: http://www.durtonstudio.com/projects/detail/project/63

For maly and bongo.

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