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  • Nathan Yoder

Album of the Week - Nils Frahm - Empty

It's been said that when Nils Frahm takes his show on the road, he brings so much equipment that auditorium stages literally sag under the weight of his gear. But if this master composer were to ever tour behind Empty, his surprise release for Piano Day 2020, only a single instrument would be required. The eight minimalist recordings found on Empty capture Frahm's delicate playing, but also plenty of ambient noise, making the listener feel like a fly on the wall during one of his rehearsals. When sitting with the album, you can really feel the unique moods conveyed by each piece, which contributes to the intimate nature of the compositions. The arpeggiating major-scale flits on No Step on Wing feel like soaring, and by contrast, the stark, minor-key melodies on both Defeat tracks give the impression of plodding along on a slow, doomed march. The album is exceptional through and through, and proves that Nils Frahm is worthy of his Piano Day ambassadorship.