Nils Frahm’s work lives in the gray area between ambient, neoclassical, and other gossamer styles of experimental music. The Berlin-based composer and producer’s output tends to recall Philip Glass and Aphex Twin in equal measure, but he has released everything from dubby downtempo to theater scores. Though he performs on a battery of synthesizers, keyboards, and electronic gizmos, he’s most closely associated with the piano, both as a performer—last year’s Old Friends, New Friends was just the latest in a long line of solo piano recordings—and as the founder of Piano Day, an international celebration of the instrument. But his new album, Music for Animals, features no piano at all. Centered on a largely electronic palette, Frahm’s first collection of fresh material in four years is more evocative of Warp Records than it is of Erik Satie.
Fram started recording Music for Animals during the first year of the pandemic,