NE011: An Exclusive Nils Frahm Mix

Nils Frahm

As much as we love extreme music–ear-gouging stuff like the Ben Frost set we saw at (Le) Poisson Rouge the other night–it’s not allowed anywhere near our Sunday morning stereo. That spot is reserved for sedate but stunning records like the spindly piano pieces of Nils Frahm, a young Berliner who’s been cultivating a cult following based on two recent Erased Tapes releases, The Bells and Wintermusik. You can download them both here without paying steep import prices, or you could listen to the following mix to get a glimpse of Frahm’s creative process and chilly record collection.

Meaning: this Needle Exchange set is exactly what you’re gonna want to hear after a long day’s journey into Saturday night, from the delicate orchestral folk of Nick Drake to the visionary soundtracks of Jim Jarmusch. 

1. Vassilis Tsabropoulos, “The Other”
A magical piano composition. I think it is a very good opener for a mellow set. Vassilis also works with the cellist Anja Lechner. I highly recommend his work.

2. David Darlin, “Dawn”
I don’t think anyone can resist this piece of music. I had it on my headphones whilst riding my bike through the snow and it stopped me from freezing.

3. Francois Couturier, “L´Eternel Retour”
Maybe my biggest contemporary piano influence these days. This piece is pretty harmonious, but this man can teach you a lesson in atonal improvisation. It is simply mind-blowing.

4. Alexei Lubimov, Alexander Trstiansky & Kyrill Rybakov, “Spiegel Im Spiegel” (Arvo Pärt Cover)
A wonderful clarinet version of Pärt’s possibly most famous composition.

5. Dictaphone, Nacht EP
One of the reasons why I moved to Berlin. I listened to their music and couldn’t believe just how good their sound is. Their founder, Oliver Döring, is also part of Swod. if you haven’t heard Swod yet, then make sure you don’t miss out!

6. Colleen,”Babies”
One of my favorite Leaf releases.

7. Archivist, “You Are Made of Stardust”
Archivist–better known as the Remote Viewer–was a member of Hood before he focused more on his haunting organic electronica. He’s also released music on the wonderful label City Centre Offices.

8. Erik Levander “Månen Viskar”
He is a wonderful clarinet player and composer. Solid gold.

9. World Standard & Wechsel Garland, “Donde Lion Wine”
Isn’t it nice how this piece picks up the compilation? That’s also the reason why I put it in there.

10. Nick Drake, “River Man”
Hmmmmmmm…let the song speak for itself.

11. Serge Gainsbourg, “Ballade de Melody Nelson”
Aha, now I know where Beck gets his inspiration from. From a huge album (Histoire de Melody Nelson). I never get tired of it.

12. John Lurie, “Bella By Barlight”
Stranger Than Paradise is a great movie, and I think the music plays the main role. The perfect soundtrack for a rainy night in your car.

13. Bill Evans “Bella By Barlight”
A wonderful man who is probably one of the most respected piano players in the world. When I listen to it, it makes me want to stop playing.

14. Valentin Silvestrov, “Bagatellen 2”
This Ukrainian composer released a solo piano album on ECM which changed my playing quite a bit. If I’m allowed to say that, this is the best sounding piano record I have ever heard. Besides that, the music is just brilliant, so subtle and calm.