Frahm

Nils Frahm

Ten minutes into a four-night sold-out Barbican residency, Nils picks
up the microphone lying on a mat at the front of the stage and says: “Hopefully everything works out tonight.

Sometimes things go wrong, sometimes things go better.

But this… I had a very good start to the show, I think.” The Berlin-based composer has long been a pioneer in the realm of soaring, contemporary, classical, glitchy,

experimental, electronica. His seventh studio album, ‘All Melody’, was released last month on Erased Tapes to critical acclaim. Frahm

It’s his most ambitious and inquisitive collection to date, and ‘The Whole Universe Wants To Be Touched’ is a brief,Frahm

ethereal welcome to the evening with choral samples, before the weaving ‘Sunson’ demands complete attention.Frahm


The stage is set in two halves.
To the left, a felt-prepared piano is the centrepiece of a homely-looking picture; to the right,Frahm

a grand piano stretches out beside a god-knows-what line-up of harmoniums and analogue synthesisers.

It’s chaos at best, a key-enthusiast’s fantasy, but the ease and elegance with which Frahm moves between instru

The versatility of the set continues, shifting from Balearic beat in ‘All Melody’ to the balletic ‘My Friend the Forest’.

A lavish light display fades to a single spotlight for a haunting rendition of ‘Forever Changeless’, Frahm’s shadow twisting around him while – to use Frank O’Hara’s line – everyone, and I, stop breathing.


A brief encore includes percussive toilet brushes drumming against
the table-top of the grand piano, before ending on ‘More’, the most unsullied piano work of the evening.

The standing ovation that followed could have lasted
hours.

Durand has spoken in interviews about travel, but in terms of global human
migration rather than gap-year tourism.

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