Music for Animals

Nils Frahm

Music for Animals

The piano is at the heart of Nils Frahm’s music. The Berlin musician’s earliest releases were solo piano affairs. On 2011’s Felt, he applied preparations to hammers and strings; in 2015, he founded Piano Day, a celebration of the instrument. But on Music for Animals, which follows 2021’s solo piano record Old Friends New Friends, Frahm closes the cover on his keyboard and, instead, busies himself with his studio full of vintage and analog synthesizers. Begun during the first year of the pandemic, when the world pressed pause on daily life, it basks in an almost reverent sense of calm. Chords unfurl patiently against a backdrop of velvety reverb. There are few distractions and little harmonic development—just abiding quiet and sparkling focus. The pinging arpeggios of “Sheep in Black and White” recall the clockworks of Frahm’s live shows rendered in slow motion and zero gravity; the languid “Do Dream” drapes a wheezing pump organ in negative space. Three hours long and soft as a whisper, Music for Animals is a breathtakingly beautiful ode to stillness and solitude.

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