Nils Frahm at Albert Hall

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Alexander Schneider

Nils Frahm at Albert Hall, City Centre 17 February 2019 Tickets from £33 — Book now

Erased Tapes’ darling Nils Frahm is a leading light of the booming neo-classical movement. Having built a steady following over a decade, his 2018 album All Melody was met with a surge of unprecedented acclaim, and as such he’s been touring it non-stop for a year. Having played Manchester’s Albert Hall back in February, he’s now circling back to our drizzly city shortly before his world tour comes to a close. If Frahm’s second performance is anything like his first, then we’re in for something very special indeed.

Nils Frahm set out his stall with 2009’s Wintermusic and The Bells. These records were filled with devastating piano tracks, written and played with sensitivity and restraint. It was Frahm’s 2011 album Felt, though, in which his signature sound blossomed. An ASMR delight, the piano recordings on this record are incredibly detailed, with Frahm holding the instrument’s tiny mechanical movements in equal importance to the compositions. The felt-covered hammers thrumming the strings, the dampeners lifting, the aching pedal, the creaking stool, even Frahm’s breath – all of this imbues Felt’s wistful tracks with extra magic.

Felt was followed by Frahm’s Juno EP which saw him widen his sonic scope and explore the Juno synthesiser. Next came 2012’s Screws, a record of charmingly simple piano tracks recorded whilst recovering from a broken thumb. Then it was 2013’s live album Spaces. Testament to the unique beauty of his live shows, this quickly became a fan favourite. In a prolific period, Frahm then released the aptly-named Solo, a number of collaborative records with the likes of Ólafur Arnalds and F.S Blumm, and an award winning movie score. He also launched Piano Day, an official global body to celebrate the piano via various innovative, piano-related projects around the world – the first being the construction of the tallest ever piano.

Then, everything went silent. Something was cooking.

For two years, Frahm worked away in the depths of the historical 1950’s East German Funkhaus, building the studio of his dreams. From the cabling to the woodwork, the pipe organ to the custom mixing desk, Frahm had his hand in everything, personalising the space to the finest detail so as to best realise the music inside his head. The result was All Melody. His grandest musical statement yet, the album sees Frahm expand his usual arsenal of keyboard instruments to include strings, trumpet, timpani, gongs, bass marimba and a choir. Despite the ambition of the record though, All Melody is executed with masterful control.

The overall tone of the record is melancholy and contemplative, with 12 neoclassical-meets-ambient-techno tracks that morph into a single, cohesive whole – flaunting the singular power of the album as a format. Characterised by warm and detailed textures, a handful of melodies are interwoven through the record, hopping instruments or adopting different emphases each time they appear. The result is both enchanting and disorientating. The second track ‘Sunson’ hits with particular profundity, morphing from a breathy organ sketch to a techno-leaning synth track – a clever microcosm of the sonic development that the album represents for Frahm.

The title track, which falls mid-way through All Melody, takes the techno side of the record to its outer reaches. Its hypnotic blend of programmed and improvised electronic music calls to mind the softer side of Floating Points’ Elaenia. Elsewhere, we find tracks reminiscent of Frahm’s solo piano output. ‘My Friend the Forest’ and ‘Forever Changeless’ feel like uncovered secrets in amongst All Melody’s intricate soundworld. Perhaps the most stunning track on the record, though, is ‘Human Range’. Opening with a glacial synth pad, a vocal-inflected trumpet sighs into oblivion, before a choir and string section root the track to their gorgeous harmonies and whimsical melodies.

Not to give anything away about how all of this is delivered live, Frahm’s performance of All Melody at Manchester’s Albert Hall earlier this year was phenomenal – surely one of the venue’s finest gigs of 2018. With a rare second chance to catch the show, it’s currently sitting at the top of our musical to-do list for 2019, and should probably be at the top of yours, too.

Nils Frahm at Albert Hall, City Centre 17 February 2019 Tickets from £33 Book now

What's on at Albert Hall

Manchester Psych Fest 2024

Manchester Psych Fest, the UK’s trailblazing psychedelic music and arts festival has announced a massive bill for its 2024 edition.

from £45.20

Where to go near Nils Frahm at Albert Hall

NQ64 Manchester Peter St
NQ64 Manchester Peter St

NQ64 Peter Street is the latest venue from the team behind the original (and excellent) NQ bar, offering up video games, high-quality drinks and a great, friendly atmosphere.

City Centre

Right next to Manchester’s Albert Hall, Sakana is a casual Japanese restaurant downstairs, with a fancier Pan Asian on the first floor.

Rudy's Neapolitan Pizza
Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza

Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza serve up pizza which has received worldwide acclaim and now have six branches across the UK including this on Peter Street.

The French - One of Manchester's finest restaurants - Creative Tourist
City Centre
Adam Reid
at The French

The French is one of Manchester’s most highly regarded restaurants. Head chef Adam Reid has a real grasp on what makes Manchester tick. A less fussy, more relaxed, and, at times, gloriously silly restaurant.


Forty-Seven is a luxury boutique hotel on Peter Street in Manchester city centre, above the high-end Indian restaurant Asha’s.


Asha’s serves modern north-west Indian cuisine in luxurious surroundings.

Manchester Smokehouse | Bars and Restaurants in Manchester
City Centre
Whiskey Down Manchester

Spread across two levels beneath Lloyd Street, enter Whiskey Down Manchester through a sunken iconic purple door into the Cabaret Lounge, where over 100 Whiskeys from all over the world are served. 

What's on: Music

Open Deck at Band on the Wall

Bring your records for a spin at our Open Deck session this Saturday! If you’ve bought some new vinyl from a local record shop this week, just show your receipt at the bar to get yourself a free 9” pizza!

the artist
Waxahatchee at New Century

Mercurial singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield AKA Waxahatchee performs at New Century in support of her new album, Tigers Blood.

from £29
Festivo Winds
Festivo Winds at Low Four

One of the UK’s most exciting young wind quintet’s brings an eclectic programme to Low Four studios.

from £5.00

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.