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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Nils Frahm review – short on harmony but texture and tone in spades


Nils Frahm review – short on harmony but texture and tone in spades

Delivered... John Lewis | Scene | Fri 23 Feb 2018 12:16 am

Barbican, London
Frahm jokes about his musical limitations, but his piano solos are quiet riots that transport you to a higher plane

He might be the most popular solo pianist on earth at the moment but the Berlin-based “neo-classical” star Nils Frahm will be the first to admit that he’s not a classical pianist of any description. In this two-hour show there is little harmony or chordal development, scarcely any improvisation, and – with the exception of the jagged, nerve-wracking, Michael Nyman-ish piano solo Hammers – little virtuosity. What you get in spades, however, is texture – something that the classical conservatoires and jazz modules have always ignored.

You can buy the sheet music for Frahm’s piano solos, but the notes that he rattles out on his panoply of keyboards are almost incidental. What’s important is the tone; the grain; the satisfying way in which each studio-crafted voicing plonks and zings and bounces around the auditorium.

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