Nils Frahm’s note perfect new album “Spaces” Sings.

Nils Frahm's Spaces.

Nils Frah­m’s Spaces.

31 year old Ger­man pianist and com­pos­er Nils Frahm has been qui­et­ly build­ing a fan base for a few years now. His lat­est album, Spaces, a col­lec­tion of live record­ings of pieces old and new is the per­fect intro­duc­tion to a sin­gu­lar talent.

Meld­ing Con­tem­po­rary, Jazz and Clas­si­cal, the obvi­ous touch stone here is the impe­ri­ous Kei­th Jar­rett.

Jar­rett is clear­ly evoked in Said and Done (track 3), the near­est thing Frahm has to a sig­na­ture track, which orig­i­nal­ly appeared on The Bells (2009). And the vocals that drift to the sur­face on

Ham­mers (t7) is a con­scious echo­ing of a Jar­rett trope. Although the melody itself seems to be an uncon­scious(?) nod in the direc­tion of the Rolling StonesPaint It Black. And Jar­rett is open­ly acknowl­edged in the know­ing­ly titled Impro­vi­sa­tion for Coughs and Cell Phone (t6).

The imperious though somehow not African American Keith Jarrett.

The impe­ri­ous though some­how not African Amer­i­can Kei­th Jarrett.

It’s not all Jar­rett though. Famil­iar (t5) nods to Philip Glass. Whilst the hyp­not­ic waves of Says (t2) call to mind Van­ge­lis, who also resur­faces for the gen­uine­ly epic For – Peter – Toi­let Brush­es – More (t8).

Jean Michel Jarre and Michael Nyman are also obvi­ous ref­er­ence points, as the boys from Pitch­fork note in their review of it here, where it gets a 7.8.  And you can read what Frahm him­self has to say about his musi­cal fore­bear­ers in the inter­view he did with Tris­tan Bath for The Qui­etus here — though the F word is con­spic­u­ous by its absence.

What’s so impres­sive about Frahm is that he tran­scends all of these ele­ments to pro­duce some­thing that is very much his own sound. As such, he’s con­tin­u­ing the jour­ney begun by Miles Davis, Thelo­nious Monk and Kei­th Jar­rett before him.

You can hear Says here.

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