Toilet brushes and vacuum cleaners turn musical in hands of Nils Frahm

Fri May 29, 2015 9:55am EDT
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By Anastasia Gorelova

LONDON (Reuters) - Three pianos, a wood pipe organ, a synthesizer and toilet brushes are the standard setup for a show by German experimental composer Nils Frahm.

He navigated masterfully between the instruments this week during his second sold-out show at London’s Roundhouse venue, playing lush compositions drawing on the electronica of Aphex Twin and the melodious patterns of Chopin.

The organ of wood and vacuum cleaner tubes and the piano muffled with strips of felt were custom made, highlighting Frahm's unconventional approach to classical music.

"Sometimes it is easier to create your own instrument and probably cheaper and it is also fun," he explained. "It is great to use something which isn't out there."

Toilet brushes are Frahm's rhythm instrument.

"It looks ridiculous but sounds so cool," he said.

Berlin-based Frahm, 32, will play big festivals around Europe this summer, including the BBC Proms 120th anniversary show at The Royal Albert Hall on Aug 5.

He has been playing the piano since childhood and was trained by Nahum Brodski, a student of Tchaikovsky's last protégé. Frahm gained international recognition after releasing his album "Felt" in 2011, whose distinctive deep piano sound creates a feeling of being inside the instrument.   Continued...

German composer Nils Frahm rehearses on stage at The Roundhouse in London, Britain May 25, 2015. REUTERS/Anastasia Gorelova