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Keyboardist and vibraphonist from Koeln (Germany), Burnt Friedman
(real name Bernd Friedmann) is known by a number of aliases, having
recorded as Drome, Flanger (with Atom Heart), Non Place Urban Field and
Bernie The Bolt. Friedman debuted with the moniker Some More Crime that
released a few albums: Ohnmacht (ZZO, 1990), Code Opera (ZZO, 1991),
Another Domestic Drama (ZZO, 1993), Fuzzy Sets (ZZO, 1995).
Drome was an ambient "chill-out" project. Anachronism (Silent,
1992), Final Corporate Colonization Of The Unconscious (Wigwam, 1993 -
Ninja Tune, 1994), one of the first recordings to incorporate hip-hip
breaks into chill-out grooves, and Dromed (Kiff, 1995) are works of
manic assemblage that often match the complexity of Edgar Varese's
avantgarde piece. Nonplace Urban Field's music has been dubbed
"ghost-town electronica". The albums Nonplace Urban Field (Wigwam,
1993) and NUF Said (Incoming, 1994) toyed with dance music, gothic
music and jazz. The idea matured with the mini-album Raum Fuer Notizen
(Incoming, 1996) and the album Golden Star (Incoming, 1996). The latter
alternates Squarepusher-style incursions in jazz (Plane Spotting,
Plusminus 30) and old-fashioned tracks of minimalist techno
In between came the solo Bernd Friedmann Leisure Zones (Ash, 1996), that expands on his Drome-period ambient texturing. Then Friedmann worked in Chile with Uwe Schmidt under the moniker Flanger. Friedman had already founded the Nu-Dub Players in 1996 during a vacation in New Zealand (precisely, the Great Barrier Island off the coast of Auckland). The album Just Landed (Scape, 1999), released years later, was the product of a painful process of cut up. While the sounds as heard on record were assembled in studio, the source was a set of live group performances. Therefore, Friedman's "nu dub" is true to the original live sound of Perry and Tuwby and sounds very unlike the digital dub collages of modern pursuers of the genre like Bill Laswell. Hut Selector, Just Landed, Cassock Attack, Worldwide Watchdog Peepshow, The Big Black Other, Railway Palace, Melbourne, Hohoura Head Far North, I Shot The Fashion Victim, It's Thunder, Dub To The Music (Note: the tracklist on the CD is wrong as it omits The Big Black Other).
Always fascinated by majestic nature, Friedman recorded Con Ritmo
(Nonplace, 2000) in Argentina. Again, the album is the outcome of jam
sessions with a group of real musicians, the Disposable Rhythm Section.
This time it is jazz (a latin-tinged jazz, needless to say) that
Friedman deconstructs, not dub. Horns, vibe and percussions embellish
Octrahedal Spherical Caffufle, Demolition Derby, Los Corraleros ,
Destination Unknown. But the highlights are probably the tracks that
leasu stick to the dogma: the ambient dub/funk of Platin Tundra and the
surreal world-music of Escape the Night (somewhat reminiscent of Herbie
Hancock). Friedman's cyber-jazz is a descendent of Weather Report's
jazz-rock, as proven by the eleven-minute Das Wesen aus der
Milchstrasse (with Uwe Schmidt on synth).
Plays Love Songs (Nonplace, 2000) is an eclectic divertissment, that
was four years in the making. Friedman, aided by guitarist Joseph
Suchy, alternates between swing, funk and ambient. The singing rules:
Fucking Long Time, It hurts, I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm. A piano
figure in Conjoined or a jazzy rhythm in I Go With You do the rest.
Secret Rhythms (Nonplace, 2002) and Secret Rhythms 2 (2005), two
collaborations with Can legend Jaki Liebezeit, yielded mildly
entertaining, but not too innovative, jazz-rock jams for drums, bass,
guitar, keyboards and vibraphones. The psychedelic dub of Shades of
Soddin Orion and the lengthy psycho-ambient suite Obscured by 5 are the
highlights of the former.
Nu-Dub Players' second album, Can't Cool (2003) is another intellectual divertissment. Condensed (Nonplace, 2003) collects material from 1995-2002.
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