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Nils Frahm and Woodkid are to release a new mini-album featuring spoken word from actor Robert De Niro, inspired by the current refugee crisis and with proceeds going to the charity Sea Watch.

Ellis, out on Erased Tapes on July 8, is the pair’s soundtrack to a new short film directed by artist JR, starring the Oscar-winner as an immigrant venturing through the crumbling hallways of New York’s abandoned Ellis Island hospital complex.

“The opportunity to work on JR´s fantastic short film came through my good friend Yoann aka Woodkid,” says contemporary classical favourite Frahm. “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 summers 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.

“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.”

Watch a trailer above and listen to a teaser below. Nils Frahm’s last album, Solo, was released via Erased Tapes in 2015 while Woodkid’s The Golden Age debut album was released in 2013.



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