This was special.
German composer Nils Frahm is a master at combining classical and electronic music to create a new-age experience of the two that keeps fans of both genres irrevocably happy. Sound aside, he is truly a sight to see perform. Acting as a one-man band, running around the stage operating six different synthesisers, a grand piano, and a range of reverb and EQ units, a Frahm live show is like watching a mad scientist at work.
Frahm creates his own sonic universe that is easy to get lost in. His 2018 album, All Melody, was recently followed up by the All Encores compilation LP and subsequent tour. With two nights in a row at Hamer Hall, fans were treated to a range of tracks from these releases as well as 2013’s Spaces.
It was easy to be hooked in straight away with the upbeat opening which flowed ‘The Whole Universe Wants to Be Touched’ into ‘Sunson’, a mixture of intimate piano work and four-to-the-floor electronic beats. The experience was a masterclass in dynamics with things simmering down for the beautiful ‘My Friend the Forest‘ before turning the reserved venue into a near club-like atmosphere with the sequencer and synth-heavy combo of ‘All Melody’ and ‘#2′.
Seeming a little more talkative than in past performances, Frahm jovially discussed sound issues with the previous night’s show and how incurring a foot injury at his hotel was the reason why he was limping around the stage. The composer was also delivered a glass of white wine by a gentleman in a hard hat, which was completely unexplained but seemed reasonable to all on stage.
The closing moments of the set leaned heavily on Spaces with the peak of the performance falling to a combo of ‘Hammers’ and ‘Says’, which exemplifies precisely why Frahm has made such a name for himself in the electronic scene – rarely do you find an electronic artist that melds so many organic sounds in the way Frahm does.
‘Toilet Brushes’, in which Frahm plays the strings of the grand piano with a set of toilet brushes, a move that made him somewhat viral, was the night’s penultimate track. He then finished with the gentle ‘More’, with its natural and beautiful reverb, before rapturous applause rang throughout the venue to close a night of otherworldly, indescribable music exploration.
Highlight: ‘Toilet Brushes’.
Lowlight: Impossible to find a bad moment in Frahm’s flawless musical delivery.
Crowd favourite: The German composer’s humble humour as he explained his set difficulties in between songs.