nils frahm

NEWS: Stream the new mini-album by Woodkid and Nils Frahm, featuring Robert De Niro

Ahead of the official release of their soundtrack for Ellis on Friday (8th July), producers Woodkid and Nils Frahm are streaming the mini-album via SoundCloud.  The film itself, directed by artist JR and written by Eric Roth, takes place in the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital, and stars Robert De Niro as a migrant in America.  De Niro features quite heavily on Woodkid and Frahm’s soundtrack, as he narrates across harmonium swells on ‘Winter Morning II.’  The two tracks form a perfect, contemplative backdrop to the film.  Listen below.

Frahm spoke about how the album came about at length:  “The opportunity to work on JR´s fantastic short film Ellis came through my good friend Yoann, aka Woodkid.  We agreed on recording the piano parts in my studio in Berlin and so it happened that JR and Woodkid were guests at Durton studio on a wonderful late summer’s day in 2015.  We managed to record all the crucial elements that day.  The music fell into our laps and melted with the images: a wonderful experience.  The film has stuck in my head ever since; it moved my heart and changed my soul.”

He continued:  “A couple of weeks later I had to cancel a trip to Brussels because of a terror warning; all events got cancelled and I stayed home, having an unexpected day off.  I felt rather depressed that day, thinking that the Europe I knew was already gone.  I sat down at the harmonium, listened to Robert De Niro’s voice and played for the rest of the day.  The result is ‘Winter Morning II,’ the B-side of the Ellis soundtrack release.  Robert says it all in 17 minutes.  We are not facing a refugee crisis.  We are facing a crisis because we do not embrace, we do not sympathise and we cannot give up fear.  Art can encourage so I hope this project will help fight the fear in all of us.”

Woodkid said:  “Ellis is my second collaboration with JR after the New York City Ballet piece for Les Bosquets.  I initially wanted this piece to sound like it was recorded on an old piano that we found in the ruins of Ellis Island, in the restricted area that is not open to the public, where JR pasted the pictures on the walls for the film Ellis.”  

He went on to say: “I had worked with Nils before and I wanted him to create a sound for this piano part that I composed that was extremely gentle and organic.  I wanted the listener to hear the mechanisms, the breathing of the instrument.  I wanted it to be imperfect, to sound like a ruin, a trace, an echo, the way the pastings on the walls seem to be ghosts, almost imperceptible.”

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.