Nils Frahm – Felt
Label: Erased Tapes
Buy: LP / CD / Digital
Nils Frahm on Felt is breathing new life into the piano. The recording process of Felt is extremely interesting and alluring – Frahm, playing in his home recording studio felt that he did not want to disturb his neighbours playing late into the night and so he made some alterations to his piano. Lining felt inside the piano to dampen the resonates of his playing contributes to a unique sound that he captures on this recording. Not only that, he also inserted microphones inside and around the piano so that he captured every single sound, perfect or imperfect.
Everything is captured in beautiful detail, Nils breathing as he records, the hammers inside the piano clicking away as he adjusts positions, his seat creaking, the warm static of the sounds decaying. It’s more than an album of piano but a recording of an epoch of time where a man sat down to record sounds onto tape. It is intimate and dark at times and at others it is solemn. ‘Less’ captures each detail of what is happening inside the piano while still being able to translate the absolutely touching notes as they reach one’s ear and then drift away. The album is not entirely of piano though, with Frahm adding bells here and there along with some other instruments – but it is always minimal and focused on producing that imperfect sound, that grace of error and disruption.
Felt is high up as one of my favourite releases this year, not only for its method but also for its execution. It is a record I can come back to time and time again and get lost in – immerse myself and sit right with Frahm as he plays to me. And that is a rare thing to capture in recorded sound.