The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Music Is Not Sport: Nils Frahm's Favourite Albums
Karl Smith , September 10th, 2015 14:05

Before he releases his Late Night Tales compilation, the pianist, composer and new classical ("I never liked it, but I'm stuck with it now; give me something cool like 'neo jazz'") pioneer gives Karl Smith a tour of his favourite overlooked records, by musicians "that deserve a little afterglow"

Emahoy_tsegu_-maryam_gu_brou_1441893558_resize_460x400

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou - Ethiopiques Vol 21
I had to pick a solo piano record, right? Really there's so many. I could have made a list of just 13 solo piano records I love. I don't even know what she's doing - if she's even still alive or not - but I hope she gets some royalties when people buy her record.

I mean, it's a little on the edge because I sometimes have a problem with these kind of lost-and-found, hide-and-seek records. We live in a time when we're so unsatisfied with the stuff that we're putting out today that we look in the desert and dig a hole and see if we can find something from the past that nobody knows, because it sounds cool.

But, despite that, this is really good: it's a similar feeling to The Necks - just a certain touch, and she plays certain chords and certain arpeggios, which you think is a good opening to a track, then she does it again and again and again. And then you realise: "This is just her technique, this is her style." You can tell she never had piano lessons, she probably only had a piano by accident and taught herself, but then she just got better and better. She developed this very distinct sound and style, and when I put this record on, I'm happy.

Sometimes it turns out that being not that well prepared offers something that you'd lose if you really had that education. Sometimes there's just something in your bones, like Thelonious Monk, something special.


If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.