(born 20 September 1982) is a German musician, composer and record
producer based in Berlin. He is known for combining classical and
electronic music and for an unconventional approach to the piano in
which he mixes a grand piano, upright piano, Roland Juno-60, Rhodes
piano, drum machines, and Moog Taurus. As well as his solo work, Frahm
has released collaborations with such notable performers as Anne Müller,
Ólafur Arnalds, F. S. Blumm and Woodkid. Together with Frederic Gmeiner
and Sebastian Singwald he records and performs as Nonkeen.
Frahm had an early introduction to music. His father, Klaus Frahm, was a
photographer who also designed covers for ECM Records. He grew up near
Hamburg, where he learned the styles of the classical pianists as well
as contemporary composers. At school he used mixing boards and was very
interested in the quality of recorded sound. Frahm's earlier solo piano
works Wintermusik (2009) and The Bells (2009) gained him attention, but
it was his 2011 release Felt that was met with critical acclaim. It was
his first studio album on Erased Tapes, which has been releasing his
music since. The album was followed by the solo synthesiser EP Juno and
by Screws (2012), recorded while Frahm was recovering from a thumb
injury, and offered as a free download to fans on his birthday. His
follow-up to Juno, titled Juno Reworked (2013), featured guest reworks
by Luke Abbott and Chris Clark.
Frahm's album, Spaces (2013), was made of live recordings from various
venues spanning over two years. In December 2013, Frahm released his
first music book, Sheets Eins, published by Manners McDade. In 2016 the
follow-up Sheets Zwei was released. In 2014, Frahm announced his new
piano "Una Corda", specially designed and made for him by David Klavins.
The piano weighs under 100 kg and has one string per key, rather than
the commonly used three strings. His album Solo (2015), an improvisation
single take without any overdubs, was later recorded on the "Modell
370", a 370cm high vertical piano also made by David Klavins. It was one
of the 19 records nominated for the IMPALA Album of the Year Award. A
condensed version of his single "More" was featured in the Assassin's
Creed Unity gamescom trailer.
In 2015 Frahm composed his first original score for the German film
"Victoria" which is a 140-minute continuous take directed by Sebastian
Schipper. Nils Frahm also collaborated with Woodkid on the critically
acclaimed short film ELLIS directed by JR which was released in October
2015. In the same year Nils Frahm created the "Piano Day" which is
celebrated at the 88th day of the year (due to the 88 keys of a standard
piano) The first project was the construction of the "Modell 450"
together with David Klavins. It is the successor of the "Modell 370". In
February 2016 Frahm released The Gamble, followed by its companion
release Oddments of the Gamble in August 2016. Pitchfork.com described
the album "as charmingly patched together and messy as it is well-paced
and dynamic". The material was recorded over eight years while the
artwork was produced by Frahm's father.