Why this record?
The Quietus in 2013, Nils Frahm was asked what percentage of the live performances that make up Spaces was rehearsed and what percentage was improvised. He responded by saying, “No, I don’t write stuff down, but I remember well. I was never good at sheet music reading – so classical lessons were hard. I would always listen to the original pieces and then learn it bar by bar, just by muscle memory. The version of ‘Said And Done’ on The Bells for example was created that night. There were two nights of improvising, and that song just happened to be on there, only this one take of it. It wasn’t even something I considered to record twice, it was basically just brainstorming, going with the flow, and there’s something nice about not paying a piece ten times, because then it doesn’t feel forced or stressed.”
While it’s hard to capture fully the genius of Nils, that quote does give you a small window into one of the great musical minds of our time. There’s something in both his compositions and his live performances that feel a bit like a miracle. You just can’t fully explain what you’ve just heard or seen. When we had the chance to go to one of his shows in London in May, it was a no brainer. We had already agreed to terms to feature Spaces but we wanted to see what all the fuss was about for ourselves and so off we went. Suffice to say, we were stunned by the show and left knowing that we were right to be sending each of you a copy of his work. Nils and his albums are special, and they have a way of waking you up that can’t be fully explained or quantified. Get ready to spend quite a bit of time with this record, and make sure you give it the space it needs to do what it’s so excellent at doing.