If I ever visit Germany, the first city I will visit is Hamburg. And when I get to Hamburg, the first place I will go is an exhibit called Miniatur Wunderland.
Miniatur Wunderland (which Wikipedia helpfully points out is German for “miniature wonderland”) is the world’s largest miniature railway. It’s a tiny world all its own, with dozens of landscapes, hundreds of trains, 200 000 tiny human figurines, and more than 12km of track. If it existed when I was 8 years old, there’s a good chance I would have run away from home to live there.
As well as being home to this tiny train-topia, Germany is home to musician/composer Nils Frahm, who creates soundscapes as intricate and captivating as Miniatur Wunderland’s models. So if (when) I make it to Hamburg to visit the world’s biggest model train set, my personal soundtrack for the occasion will be “Keep” by Nils Frahm.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. It’s got all kinds of similar yet distinct sounds; piano, glockenspiel, xylophone…sometimes I think I can hear the persistent ding of a level crossing.
2. It’s got crazy cross-rhythms. Threes and fours overlap like points on a railway.
3. It doesn’t fade in or out; it just starts, happens, and stops.
Recommended listening activity:
Standing on a bridge overlooking the tracks.