Vinyl Me, Please December Edition: Nils Frahm – Spaces
Vinyl Me, What? Vinyl Me, Please!!
Good things come in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, the mad geniuses behind Vinyl Me, Please operate under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives. With a carefully curated catalog and lovingly assembled album art, the subscription service is more than just a record club … it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month. And in their living room.
Here’s how it works. Stay with me now, cause this may get complicated. You supply the Vinyl Me, Please crew with $23 a month and they supply you with one meticulously selected album worthy of your time and attention. Oh wait … that’s stupid easy, right? That custom pressing (anywhere from 140g to 180g vinyl) comes in a gorgeously designed sleeve complete with digital download, original 12″x12″ inch artwork, and even an album-inspired cocktail recipe. You’ll also get the VMP weekly newsletter The Standard, featuring music news, playlists, downloads, interviews, and other member-exclusive content. Not enough? The Vinyl Me, Please team gives away free swag at an alarming rate and your name automatically goes on their “friend” list. Still not convinced? How’s access to the VMP members-only online store sound? The January store is now open, giving you a chance to grab a copy of every previous VMP selection from the archives plus additional rare or special edition vinyl. January features include: Oneohtrix Point Never’s beautifully brooding Garden Of Delete, Elliott Smith’s devastating self-titled release, and even Eels’ landmark album Electro-Shock Blues. Try and contain yourselves
Yep, the Vinyl Me, Please team have thought of pretty much everything. Nothing left for you to do but submit and sign up. But first, let’s have a look at what’s inside this month’s box.
For the Love of Music, Please DO NOT BEND
December finds VMP’s ambitious release of Nils Frahm’s magnificently meandering album, Spaces. You will not find catchy pop songs or clever hooks anywhere on Spaces. You won’t find any lyrics either – just the sounds of a human soul ever at odds with the beauty and bleakness it breeds. It’s hardly an easy sell, but it’s absolutely worth buying. Simultaneously loose and hyper-focused, Spaces is the sound of a restless artist who believes that songs are never really finished – especially when you perform them in a different space. Taking its title from Frahm’s desire to record songs in various locales, Spaces sees the composer cobbling together two years of improvisational recordings into a surprisingly cohesive whole. Daring and playful and inventive, the result is something akin to genuine magic or really good jazz. As an album, there’s simply nothing quite like Spaces. Every moment is unique and forever etched in wax. I can’t/won’t tell you which songs stand out or what each song makes me feel. Spaces is not an album to dissect, it’s an album to absorb – and you’ll take exactly as much from it as you put into it. I’ll simply advise you to drop the needle, close your eyes and listen to the inner life of music. That’s the truest space of all.
But What’s in the Box?!
I should neither confirm or deny that I screamed like a teenage girl when I heard that VMP was putting a Nils Frahm album in the December box. But yeah, I totally did. Prying open that lovely cardboard mailer this month, I was floored by the beauty of the Spaces cover. Passionate, playful, minimalist, and adventurous, this marvelous cover conveys everything that makes Frahm such a compelling artist and beautifully sets the tone for the music inside. Wow.
As always, the album comes partially wrapped in an outer-sleeve chock full of important information like the artist’s name, the album’s title, month of issue … and even the initials of the person who packaged your disc. Thanks, TC.
Peel that sleeve back and you’ll find the recipe for Spaces’ companion cocktail – Ivory Sour – courtesy of KOVAL Distillery in Chicago, IL. I didn’t have all the ingredients, but it features four grain whiskey and lightly peated scotch. I have a hard time thinking this one will be anything but delicious.
Digging deeper, you’ll find two hidden gems – lovely poetic ramblings from VMP’s Tyler Barstow and an original 12″x12″ print from the insanely-multi-talented artist Michael Salu – both inspired by Frahm and his music. There’s even a separate write-up from Salu explaining his process in creating this work.
And all of this before you even peel the shrink wrap off of your record. Extras galore this month with two gorgeous, interchangeable photographs to slide into the super-fancy die-cut sleeve. Flip each photo over and you’ll find a letter to Music Lovers from Frahm detailing his approach to live composition, the Spaces album, the shared experience of live music, and a short blurb detailing how and why each song was recorded for this release. Rarely do fans get such intriguing insight into an artist’s process.
No colored vinyl this month, but you really should take notice of the killer photographs labeling sides 1 – 4 of the album. Who needs colored vinyl when all four sides of the album come with their own work of art?
And I hope it looked that good under all of your trees.
How’s it sound? Like you’re stuck inside a recurring dream and you can’t wait to wake up so you can tell your lover all about it … but you may just keep sleeping.
Give It A Spin, Eh?
Vinyl Me, Please has an acute understanding that music is discovery. Nils Frahm deserves discovering. Lush and rambling and devastatingly graceful, Spaces is a one-of-a-kind album from a one-of-a-kind talent. Every sound exists inside of a song, exists outside of the album, and dares to push your heart and your mind into the delicate spaces between light, dark, love, and longing. And it’s all wrapped inside of an exceptionally pretty package. Vinyl Me, Please has absolutely knocked this one out of the park. High-five to the VMP team for recognizing the recent rise of neoclassical composers and embracing the movement by releasing this gem on vinyl. Don’t panic if you missed the sign-up for December, Spaces is currently up for grabs in the Member Store (while supplies last). Start your subscription today and don’t risk missing out on another Vinyl Me, Please treasure. Of course, you may not always love the music VMP sends your way, but it will always be an experience … and that’s the whole point of music.