German composer and pianist Nils Frahm broke his silence again for the celebration of Piano Day 2021 with a new album called Graz which is out now via Erased Tapes. According to the press release, The album is a moment of time at the very beginning of Nils’ quiet revolution. It was recorded in 2009, pre-dating Frahm’s Erased Tapes debut of Felt, which came out in 2011. Graz is an unheard snapshot of a young Nils recorded at Mumuth, the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, in 2009 as part of the thesis Conversations for Piano and Room produced by Thomas Geiger.
While at the time it was decided to keep the grand piano recordings from the Graz sessions locked away and instead focus on his close mic’ed, dampened piano explorations which would become his acclaimed studio album Felt in 2011, two of the pieces — most notably Hammers — lived on as part of his live set, and were expanded on and re-recorded as part of his breakthrough 2013 record Spaces (a collage of field recordings from concerts which broke the Fourth Wall and included audience coughs). Over his mercurial career, Nils has pushed and pulled at the boundaries and parameters of his prolific work like that. He’s physically changed his piano (the softened prepared strings of Felt) played with a modified body (Screws recorded with 9 fingers and a broken thumb) played with scale (Solo recorded on the 3.7 metre high Klavins M370) and with the different layers of formats (last year’s Tripping with Nils Frahm nested his studio setup inside a live performance, concert film and live album). Now with Graz he has found the final frontier for play: time itself and his own discography.