Nils Frahm has announced Music For Animals, his first album since All Melody in 2018. Scheduled for release on September 23, it stands out for its three-hour duration and the total absence of the piano, the instrument that
Said to take place “at a leisurely, meditative pace in a celebration of tone, timbre and texture”, Music For Animals was recorded between 2020 and 2022 at Frahm’s studio in Berlin’s Funkhaus complex.
“My constant inspiration was something as mesmerizing as watching a large waterfall or the leaves of a tree in a storm,” Frahm explains. “It’s good that we have symphonies and music where there is a development, but a waterfall doesn’t need an act 1, 2, 3, then a denouement, not more than the leaves of a tree in a storm. Some people like to watch the leaves rustle and the branches move. This record is for them.
Given its recording length, Music For Animals is inevitably a product of the pandemic, and also the first record on which Frahm has collaborated with his wife, Nina.
“Like everyone else, Nina had to spend a lot more time alone at home,” he recalls. “One day she brought a picnic to the studio, and we opened a bottle of wine, and then I showed her my new instrument, a glass harmonica. When she tried to play it sounded amazing, and I recorded that first interaction.
“Afterwards, she came a few times a week, and each time I prepared a short sequence to jam. She has no musical training, but she played with such determination and care. This is very useful, just play the few notes you really feel and otherwise play nothing.
This sense of space is something that is typical of the album as a whole, and Frahm says he was careful not to overload the pudding of the arrangement. “A lot of music, in my humble opinion, is over-decorated like a Christmas tree,” Frahm explains. “I just want to have the tree. I don’t know why there is more decoration on the tree every year, or why a song has to be a little more compact, denser and more digestible.
“That, to me, feels more and more unnatural. I prefer to give an idea of what might be there but isn’t there for the listener to start creating the composition in their head.
“For me, this is a central element of my music: that you, the listener, find yourself inside the music. On this album, there remains a particularly important place where it’s not too tight or rushed.
What about the album title, though? It turns out to be an ironic nod to 1950s concept records, such as Raymond Scott’s Music For Babies, and the rise of “functional” playlists on music platforms. streaming.
“I feel some frustration with the functional use of music these days, all these playlists with names like Music for Sleeping, Music for Focus, Music for Masturbation,” Frahm jokes. “Music always seems to need to do something useful. It’s a very client-centric logic: the client needs something, the music has to provide it, otherwise “You’re Fired!” With this album, there was no specific audience in mind, nor was it suited for any particular purpose. But actually, it seemed to please the animals I’ve spent a lot of time with over the past few months, so, you know: if you can’t beat them, join them…!”
Right Right Right, the first single from Music For Animals, is out today, and the album can be pre-ordered now (opens in a new tab). It will be available digitally and in 3-CD and 4-LP sets. You can check the tour dates on Nils Frahm (opens in a new tab) website.