Nils Frahm – Skala, Bielefeld; April 26th, 2015
Ever since I saw Nils Frahm play at Traumzeit Festival in Duisburg last year, I wanted to see and hear him again, but it took a while before his tour schedule fit in with mine. Rather spontaneously I made my way to Bielefeld on a Sunday night, wondering what to expect. Venturing into a musical style that isn’t something I usually listen to is always a risky business, but at the end of the day it was all worth it.
There was no need to get to the venue early, as most people didn’t arrive until just before they opened. Once inside, almost everyone sat down on the floor in front of the stage so I did the same after admiring the setup of pianos and organs. The support act, Dawn of Midi started about 15 minutes late. Everyone remained seated and listened intently. I liked their music for about ten minutes, but then it got boring to me. They were by no means bad musicians, it just wasn’t my style. When thy finished after 45 Minutes I was glad it was over and hoped it would not take too long until Nils started, because I had to catch the last train towards Dortmund just before 23:00.
When he walked out at around 21:30, he first asked us if we wanted to stand up or remain seated. The people standing in the back voted for standing, those sitting in front, wanted to remain where they were. In the end he just asked us to move forward a bit so those in the back could stand more comfortably and that was that. 🙂
I still have no idea how to describe the music we heard, but he played beautifully, changing from instrument to instrument in the process. He was talkative too, telling us what type of questions people asked and explaining that the “IKEA Billy shelves” were really an organ and how one of the pianos was home built.
Just watching him play was amazing, moving across stage, turning a knob here, hitting a chord there, leaning in and completely absorbed in his music. When he turned to the home built piano, he sat down on the floor in front of it and played it like a harp for a while, before actually hitting the keys. Back at the regular piano he told us how he had sampled a choir, a single voice, a cello and a saxophone to se in his songs and played each in turn. he noted that whenever people remarked how good he was getting at playing the piano he used more samples only to go back to piano playing when people thought he was no classical pianist at all.
Instrumental music is always a bit difficult for me. I usually need a voice to make things interesting in the long run, but this was well worth listening to. Unfortunately I don’t really know his songs so I cannot say what exactly he played. all in all it was a good mix though and I was a bit sad that I had to leave during encores, because I had a train to catch. Hopefully I’ll get to see him again some time.