Where is the border between simplicity and complexity of music? When can we speak of schmaltzy romanticism and when is the music sincerely emotional? What are the aspects of smart and sophisticated minimalism and when does it sink into dull nothingness connected by notes like dots lying besides each other to make an ordinary line? And finally, can we speak of contemporary classical composers as of late-minimalists or are do some artists follow the silent calm of Satie just to simplify their job?
Unsurprisingly, answers to these abstract and maybe bit unnecessary questions depend on the particular music that is subject of such examination. As the contemporary scene of pianists and other solo-instrument artists saturates and most of their music even simplifies, two things help to orientate. Reasons for their usage of minimalism – every piece of music should have some reason and goal; aimless music is suspicious of needlessness – which lightens the purpose for the selected aesthetics. Second examination is the artist’s background and insight into the classical music in its complexity.
The purpose of this introduction is to set reasons why Nils Frahm’s new album FELT should not get lost between tons of simple, mediocre piano work that overflows from numerous indie-classical-blogs. First listen to his new composition aptly named Snippet doesn’t show much – easy-going melody accompanied by repetitive left-hand murmur with hisses and rushes of keys hitting the strings of piano. Frequent shifts from major to minor consonances and evolution of the main melody freshen the silent tranquility. The silence itself is the key essence of Snippet emphasizing the fragile, immaculate nature and, at the same time, underlining the ease and simplicity as a concept of the entire album. Even though this is far from being a ground-breaking idea, Snippet transforms it into its greatest asset.