Published Nov 15, 2013If you've ever caught Nils Frahm live, you can attest not only to what a powerful experience it can be, but also how much his use of improvisation and the performance space can change the sound of his pieces from albums like Screws and Felt. As a response to fans wanting to take a piece of that magic home — many of whom he met at 30-plus shows over the past two years — Frahm decided to put out a live album. Spaces, however, is not your traditional live album, having been recorded on a variety of media — including reel-to-reel and cassette — and in wildly differing setups at venues across the globe.
The album includes many unreleased pieces that range from his stunning Juno-heavy track "Says" to the prepared piano and romantic pieces he's more widely known for. The warmth and resonance of the recordings highlight the various spaces as much as the pieces, and the inclusion of aural "blemishes" —minor errors and audience noises, such as coughing and creaking chairs — demonstrate Frahm's humble and unpretentious nature, not to mention his Cage-ian confidence in the imperfect sometimes being perfect.
Spaces is in turn haunting, energizing and overwhelmingly emotive, and a must-have for fans of the young German pianist, whether or not they've caught him live yet. (Erased Tapes)