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Boomkat Product Review:
Nils Frahm returns with a new album of solo piano improvisations.
The Bells was co-produced with Peter Broderick, who wrote the liner notes for this release and sat in on the recordings, directing Frahm's playing with instructions and the imposition of certain rules and conditions. Broderick would say things like "Make a song that you could imagine me rapping over the top of" and even go so far as to lay himself on top of the piano strings and command: "make a song called 'Peter Is Dead In The Piano". Despite these impish interventions from the Type Records/Bella Union star, Frahm has managed to concoct a sublime set of instantaneous compositions, which although takes a more fragmentary, stream-of-consciousness approach than the perfectly formed Wintermusik album, is no less striking an account of the young pianist's musicianship and instinctively fluent relationship with his instrument.
To be able to produce melodies as refined and beautifully constructed as 'Dedication, Loyalty' or 'Over There, It's Raining' - all on the spot and off the cuff - is a remarkable thing indeed. Upon first hearing Frahm's improvisations Broderick himself was overwhelmed: "I remember thinking to myself as I lay there stunned, that I could spend ten years trying to write an amazing piece of piano music, and still it would never be half as good as these improvisations". Highly recommended.