Nils Frahm at Le Poisson Rouge
Music Between Minimalist and Electronic Conglomerate.
By: Djurdjija Vucinic - 12/02/2013
Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleeker Street
New York, NY 10012
November 25, 2013
The concert featuring the music of Nils Frahm was sold out at Le Poisson Rouge. His combination of ambient modern classical falls somewhere between minimalist and electronic conglomerate.
This program opened with the trio Dawn of midi, which relies on the intersection between electronic and acoustic sounds. However, at their performance at Le poisson, prepared piano represented the electronic media.
The interesting trio established a notable percussive and rhythmic basis in all three instruments in which the rhythmical base breathed life over the time span, with every layer they built in every circle of ostinato.
The result was mesmerizing and hypnotic. The listener is fully involved in the creation of the music, following carefully every note and rising of the "story". Despite long repetitive segments, these three guys are not afraid of to be flat and monotonous. Piano, bass and drums introduce each other gradually to change of rhythmic situations, the music's scenario and consciousness.
Their story takes fifty minutes to tell and the audience was rapt, tracking every tone and emotion.
The central point of the evening was dedicated to the star of the night, Nils Frahm. This Berlin-based artist is well known to the public. This was not his first appearance at Le Poisson Rouge, or in New York. Just a couple of days after his album Spaces was released, we encountered a new musical world, or better perhaps, different musical worlds.
As one who is familiar with the work and has listened to him in concerts, I find great pleasure in hearing Frahm live and in an intimate setting. The audience was breathing and feeling with him. Accompanying every sound he makes.
Frahm presented himself onstage with two pianos, the Rhodes keyboard and electronics. The concert itself was subtly divided into electronic and acoustic. Samples, loops and pads are the cornerstone of his new music expression in which he engages piano in a dialogue with an electronic world.
In the composition Says this dialogue responds in the restless synth loop, which starts as a quiet, sentimental melody, or a vibration from afar. Towards the end, this developed and then predominated the entire picture in both volume and its expression.
In his older works like Said and done, from the second part of his program, he involves the Rhodes in duplicating the melodic line. In the almost 17 minute long composition For-Peter-Toilet Brushes-MoreI, Frahm walks through different sound spaces that capture his whole album. Electronic sounds that cover most of this piece are leading into rhythmical, catharsis which at one point takes over music part presented in electronic earlier.
This circles the entire piece and the entire performance. This Circle was absorbed and felt by everyone in Le Poisson Rouge, who gave Frahm a standing ovation.