Friday, 8 January 2010

Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit - Secret Rhythms 2

Second installment in an ongoing (and hopefully endless) series of collaborations between sound designer/genius Burnt Friedman and Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit. Although this would probably be classified as electronica, there are other musicians on this disc - notably reed player Hayden Chisholm, who I recognise from a number of other Friedman records - and the sound is definitely one of a band, although it's very hard to categorise the exact sound. It's a mellow and spacy blend of electronica, jazz and post rock. The instrumentalists provide backing, and, presumably, sound sources for Friedman to manipulate - there is always a shimmering haze of morphing and drifting ambience behind the picked acoustic guitar, reeds, vibes, and Jaki Liebezeit's springy drums. The temptation is always to describe this awesome drummer as metronomic, as he so often was in Can, but many of the tracks on this disc are in strange time signatures, and he plays around the beat, often adding an accent on unexpected drum hits.
David Sylvian sings on 'The Librarian' (also on the Nine Horses album), and this is probably the most traditional track - a sung song. The following track 'Mikrokasper' shows the other end of the spectrum - very electronic, delicate and beautiful, it sounds like it was created almost entirely in post production from samples. The next track, 'Niedrige Decken', perfectly sums up the rest of the album. Pattering along in 9/8 time, after an introduction by sombre and elegant clarinet, which continues throughout; melodica, and a mesh of intricate samples and picked guitar harmonics. For me these tracks conjure up images of sun-blasted landscapes, with an unreal blue sky, and powerful heat haze distorting the edges of visible reality. Strangely laid back and intense at the same time.
Volume 1 is also great, volume 3 is amazing, and volume 4 is due out this year. Also highly recommended is any release by Burnt Friedman & The Nu Dub Players, and 'First Night Forever', just by Burnt Friedman. This last one features a selection of excellent vocals, creating a weird kind of acid fried electronic soul. Check out all these releases at, and support the artist!


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