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Nils Frahm – Solo (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Nils Frahm – Solo (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 42:46 minutes | 785 MB | Genre: Experimental
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: | Front cover | © Erased Tapes Records

2015 album from German pianist & composer, recorded on the world’s largest piano as an improvised single take with no overdubs. During its best moments it brings to mind some of the work of Harold Budd, where melody and mood become two sides of the same coin.

Sometimes solo piano albums can get too sentimental, and can begin to sound like bad TV cues; sometimes they can be a little dry and academic, and can come over like an instrumental exercise. This one mostly fits into “just right” territory, balancing general loveliness with space and suggestion. Frahm’s piano is creaky and there’s a percussive tone coursing through some of these tracks, an extra “pling” that marks time with every keystroke. That extra texture gives a piece like “Merry” a tiny bit of grit to offset a gorgeous melody that might otherwise be overbearing, and gives the more downcast “Some” an extra ounce of dark weight.

The album’s second half finds Frahm playing more with form, but oddly the variety, rather than being welcome, actually breaks the spell of the album’s first half. “Wall” is a loud, pulsing piece that is interesting enough on its own but derails the album’s gentle mood, while “Immerse!” leans toward meandering abstraction, foregoing melody and in no way justifying its almost 11-minute length. Still, for a free album that sounds very nice in a room, Solo mostly delivers, tapping into that very specific identification with the solo piano as an expression of wistful sadness.

01 – Ode
02 – Some
03 – Circling
04 – Merry
05 – Chant
06 – Wall
07 – Immerse!
08 – Four Hands


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