- Black Vinyl
Day may come as a surprise to those who, over the last decade, have watched Frahm shift slowly away from the piano compositions with which he first made his name in favour of a nonetheless still-distinctive approach that’s considerably more instrumentally complex and intricately arranged. In addition, in 2021, having spent the early part of the pandemic arranging his archives, he released the 80 minute, 23-track Old Friends New Friends, a compilation of previously unreleased piano music intended to enable him to ”start over” with a clean slate. Judging from the extended, ambient nature of Music For Animals, it proved a successful gambit, but Frahm has never been able to resist returning to his first love, and those who enjoyed earlier acclaimed albums like The Bells, Felt and Screws will once again revel in Day’s familiar, personal style.
Day, which contains six tracks, three over the six-minute mark, is the first in a pair of albums Frahm has lined up for 2024. In keeping with their nature, however, he won’t be making a song and dance about the release. Instead, he’ll resume his ongoing world tour, which has already included fifteen sold-out dates at Berlin’s Funkhaus as well as a show at Athen’s Acropolis. It will continue with shows all over the world, among them several sold-out dates at London’s Barbican in July 2024, where he previously curated a weekend of music, film and art, Possibly Colliding, in 2016.
The album is best enjoyed in the manner in which it was recorded, in the intimacy of a peaceful, cosy room. There are muffled pedal creaks on the cyclical, quietly jazzy ‘You Name It’ and, during the palliative ripples of ‘Butter Notes’’ arpeggios, the sound of dogs barking in the streets outside. The compassionate, hesitant ‘Tuesdays’ and emotionally ambiguous ‘Towards Zero’ linger with the poignant persistence of Harold Budd’s earliest work, while ‘Hands On’ is a sometimes brighter, airier tune that sets its own, deliberate pace, and, as he has on occasions before, ‘Changes’ sees Frahm employing elements of his instrument’s construction in a ‘prepared piano’ fashion.
Characterised by its confidential mood, Day confirms that, while Frahm is arguably now best known for elaborate, celebratory concerts calling upon an arsenal of pianos, organs, keyboards, synths, even a glass harmonica, he’s still a prolific master of affecting simplicity, tenderness and romance.
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