German piano Wunderkind Nils Frahm has finally met a piano to be his equal: the Klavins 370. His newest record, Solo, is recorded on the largest piano in the world. In three days. Taking out his favorite passages of hours and hours of improvisation, Frahm treats us to another peak into the man’s magnificent mind.
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Only Nils Frahm could, with complete sincerity, declare the 88th day of our year Piano Day, and have us all (some of us - Clint) enraptured in the idea. Launching right into celebrations of what is at least objectively the best instrument of all time, Frahm has released ‘Solo’, a record of warmly thrummed, decidedly minimal compositions on a certain instrument that totally isn’t the violin.
Goodness, piano sounds pretty. When it’s played like this, it sounds like the soundtrack to an empty room in a house nobody lives in anymore. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but ‘Solo’ sees Frahm step away from any processed ambient affectations that usually surround his music, instead intonating with deeply sustained chords and choice notes, allowing his sound to take on the neo-classical modesty of Max Richter and then physical aggressions of Hauschka. You can hear him moving his hands around the piano, its keys making light, spring sounds as they’re pressed down on. It’s called ‘Solo’, not ‘Piano’, because it takes two to tango on a record like this: the instrument and its player.
We’re celebrating piano, but maybe we should celebrate sequencing instead: the flow of ‘Solo’ is impeccable, no composition complete with the one before it, all of them flowing into one long, poetic piece of music. With a musician like Frahm behind it, it’s easy to see why pianos are so beloved: their music can go on and on and on and never cease to be beautiful. Happy Day of Pianos, everybody.
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