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Nils Frahm|Music for Animals

Music for Animals

Nils Frahm

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Nils Frahm's Music for Animals is a three-hour work meant to evoke an experience similar to spending time in nature and staring at flora or bodies of water -- something without a specific progression or outcome. Its title riffs on the proliferation of functional playlists on streaming services, and society's insistence on attaching a purpose to music and grouping recordings by certain listening habits. Of course, ambient music is generally used as a soundtrack for sleeping, meditation, or any number of daily activities, and Music for Animals works on those levels as well, but Frahm isn't suggesting how the audience is supposed to engage with the release. He's simply presenting it and saying that it exists, just like mountains, or forests, or rivers. The album's ten compositions are lengthy and minimal, with several coming close to half an hour each. None of them feature acoustic pianos, but it's hard to tell if the sounds are entirely generated by synthesizers or if other instruments are involved -- the fragile, wheezing "Do Dream" was almost certainly created using a harmonium. Like much of Frahm's work, the music embraces the ambiance of his surroundings, with incidental noises present, and his playing is spontaneous, even as everything feels slowed down to a glacial blur. A few pieces make excellent usage of Berlin School-style rippling pulsations, with "Sheep in Black and White" very slowly and subtly evolving and fluctuating in intensity. "Right Right Right" is the only track under ten minutes, and its flickering echoes and melancholy synth shades bring to mind Loscil's more dub-informed work. "World of Squares" is perhaps the coldest and most foreboding piece, going nowhere yet giving the impression of sinking deeper and deeper. Music for Animals might seem daunting due to its length and starkness, but it's actually one of Frahm's most listenable albums, rewarding immersion and half-ignored background placement alike.

© Paul Simpson /TiVo

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Music for Animals

Nils Frahm

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1
The Dog with 1000 Faces
00:26:21

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

2
Mussel Memory
00:13:27

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

3
Seagull Scene
00:13:09

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

4
Sheep in Black and White
00:24:47

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

5
Stepping Stone
00:18:15

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

6
Briefly
00:27:02

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

7
Right Right Right
00:07:25

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

8
World of Squares
00:15:02

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

9
Lemon Day
00:18:31

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

10
Do Dream
00:22:36

Nils Frahm, Composer, Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Zino Mikorey, Engineer

© 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH ℗ 2022 LEITER Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, in cooperation with BMG Rights Management GmbH

Album review

Nils Frahm's Music for Animals is a three-hour work meant to evoke an experience similar to spending time in nature and staring at flora or bodies of water -- something without a specific progression or outcome. Its title riffs on the proliferation of functional playlists on streaming services, and society's insistence on attaching a purpose to music and grouping recordings by certain listening habits. Of course, ambient music is generally used as a soundtrack for sleeping, meditation, or any number of daily activities, and Music for Animals works on those levels as well, but Frahm isn't suggesting how the audience is supposed to engage with the release. He's simply presenting it and saying that it exists, just like mountains, or forests, or rivers. The album's ten compositions are lengthy and minimal, with several coming close to half an hour each. None of them feature acoustic pianos, but it's hard to tell if the sounds are entirely generated by synthesizers or if other instruments are involved -- the fragile, wheezing "Do Dream" was almost certainly created using a harmonium. Like much of Frahm's work, the music embraces the ambiance of his surroundings, with incidental noises present, and his playing is spontaneous, even as everything feels slowed down to a glacial blur. A few pieces make excellent usage of Berlin School-style rippling pulsations, with "Sheep in Black and White" very slowly and subtly evolving and fluctuating in intensity. "Right Right Right" is the only track under ten minutes, and its flickering echoes and melancholy synth shades bring to mind Loscil's more dub-informed work. "World of Squares" is perhaps the coldest and most foreboding piece, going nowhere yet giving the impression of sinking deeper and deeper. Music for Animals might seem daunting due to its length and starkness, but it's actually one of Frahm's most listenable albums, rewarding immersion and half-ignored background placement alike.

© Paul Simpson /TiVo

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