Nov 16, 2006

Burnt Friedman

Optical jpg


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.

Burnt Friedman has become an unavoidable maverick over the last few years. His many musical incarnations, from his jazz-fuelled collaboration with Atom™ to the electronic perversions of some of his solo projects, rarely help to create a complete portrait of the man. Beside his musical activities, the 41 year old German also heads Nonplace Records, has produced numerous records and is responsible for collecting his favourite tracks from both Atom™, on last year’s Replicant Rumba Rockers, and very recently, from Freeform on Condensed.
Born in 1965 in Kassel, Germany, Friedman confesses being influenced by German progressive rock, Gary Numan, Iron Maiden and Tangerine Dream in his formative years, and this might be key to the variety of his recordings. Flatly refusing the anonymity of the electronic movement, he has dropped his numerous aliases to step into the light in 2000 when he released his first album with the Nu Dub Players, Just Landed.

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 (Platikthai, Whimp).
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. Friedmans extensive discography

Drome - The Final Corporate Colonisation Of The Unconscious 1993

Electronic, dub, downtempo, ambient, leftfield trance

The Final Corporate Colonisation Of The Unconscious back sees heavy dubbed out washes of sound and bass clash occasionally with speeding breakbeats , the odd soundbite, and explorations into the realms of digital dub. Samplers offer timestretching and sound manipulation possibilities without end, Bernd elaborates; "I used to play drums in the early Eighties when music , in general, was taking up most of my leisure time, and of course I loved to drum so-called 'breakbeats'. The first cheap drum machines didn't allow you to program those tricky, highly dynamic snares and 'atmos' but nowadays software like 'recycling' and sampling technology enables musicians to automatically generate them. However history reveals that no remarkable artistic progress has been derived solely from technical enhancements - to have the choice does not make the musician . . . .

Drome - The Final Corporate Colonisation Of The Unconscious* (flac 357mb)

1 - Age Of Affordable Retina (7:50)
2 - Hinterland, Kassler Kessel (6:55)
3 - Squirrel (0:55)
4 - Down At Heels (6:43)
5 - Hoax! What Did You Got? (5:24)
6 - Steel Lung, Buy One (6:39)
7 - Marathon / Texas 4.33 (4:33)
8 - Nuzzling (6:44)
9 - Wonderland (12:12)

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Nonplace Urban Field - Nuf Said

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. This NUF project is dence ambient-dub-house with sprinklings of breakbeat and jazz. The overwhelming dancefloor orientation of much of the material can make extended listening somewhat taxing, but the production is tops and Friedmann's knack for unlikely combinations is impressive.

Nonplace Urban Field - Nuf Said   (flac 364mb)

01 - Intro (1:54)
02 - Chilled #6 (6:27)
03 - Stupid Little Automatic Servants (3:54)
04 - L Is An Accident (4:54)
05 - Nuf Luf (4:36)
06 - Psyche (5:38)
07 - Nuf Dub (1:46)
08 - Western Dub (3:13)
09 - Hinnennuss (6:30)
10 - Gamma Disco Dub (12:58)
11 - Chilled #7 (11:14)

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Burnt Friedman & The Nu Dub Players - Can't Cool (2003)

Following Just Landed, this second excursion into dub sees Friedman giving his machines a rest and getting no less than twenty musicians from Australia, South Africa, South America and Germany on board instead. Can’t Cool opens with the afro-funk Fuck Back, with singer and performing artist Theo Altenberg. Followed by the Fly Your Kite, setting Can’t Cool on its soul/dub course, the song combines classic jamaican style with a deep soul approach, making it one of the outstanding tracks here. Pater Noster and Dublab Alert, which follow, continue on the same wavelength, although Friedman emphasises on the impression of space and fluidity of the dub elements more. The great Lee Perry seems to hover in the background, keeping a watchful eye on the goings-on. Can’t Cool reaches its emotional peak with the cover of the magnificent His Name Is Alive song Someday My Blues Will Cover The Earth. No other singer than HNIA vocalist Lovetta Pippen could do this song favour, so Friedman invited her to come and revisit it for him.
As on his work with Flanger where Burnt Friedman adopted jazz as sole vector of communication, he gives up all other genres here to develop once again a convincing performance in his dubful guise. Can’t Cool is heart-warming and catchy without being overwhelming or pretentious.

Burnt Friedman and The Nu Dub Players - Can't Cool   (flac 255mb)

01 - Fuck Back (4:27)
02 - Fly Your Kite (3:48)
03 - Pater Noster (3:51)
04 - Dublab Alert (3:18)
05 - Life Is Worth Dying For (2:55)
06 - Get Things Strait (3:48)
07 - Real Abstraction (2:48)
08 - Someday My Blues Will Cover The Earth (2:58)
09 - Designer Groove (3:29)
10 - Get Things Strait Dub (2:39)
11 - Five Star Group Travel (3:44)
12 - Consider A Bigger Wallet (4:22)

End of Burnt Friedman part 1, next time i'll post collaborations with atomz- Flanger, Jaki Liebezeit (ex-Can) and David Sylvian, Nine Horses aswell as the excellent Nonplace sampler "Difficult easy listening".

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Xao Seffcheque - Ja-Nein-Vielleicht (Yes-No-Maybe) (1981)
Electronic Future Jazz

In 1980, an amazing compilation hit the German streets, under the title sehr gut kommt sehr gut (something like "real good hits real good"). It featured well-known bands like Kraftwerk, DAF, Der Plan, Mittagspause, and KFC, but it also had some mysterious unknown names like the band Nachdenkliche Wehrpflichtige (Thoughtful Draftees), contributing the song "Ist Free-Jazz heilbar?" (Is Free Jazz Curable?). As you might have guessed, it was all a prank, recorded by Xao Seffcheque, with the help of some musicians of the bands listed. It was meant as a satire of the K-Tel style compilations of Neue Deutsche Welle(new german wave), still, many people believed it was a genuine compilation. That year Xao with Fehlfarben recorded their classic Monarchie und Alltag aswell.
In '81 Xao,whilst not letting go of his sense of humor, turned to future jazz/electro, with 2 covers - Tunisia/ o Lui (Armstrong)and some speedy electro cuts that make DAF and Daft P sound geriatric, he made his mark and moved on.

Seffcheque still follows his musical career with the Family 5, but these days is better known for his screenplays and movies. Here's a quality vinylrip of this hard to find gem.

Xao Seffcheque - Ja-Nein-Vielleicht (1981) 66mb

01 - Gute Freunde (4:23)
02 - Eine Nacht In Tunesien (6:00)
03 - Kassa-Bubu (3:57)
04 - Du Und Ich (4:50)
05 - Pogo A Gogo (4:04)
06 - Ja - Nein - Vielleicht (10:10)
07 - O - Lui (2:56)
08 - Eine Nacht In Deutschland (Je 'taime non plus 3:59)

Xao @ Home in german
Xao @ Wiki in german

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Yello - Remastermix (2005)

In 2005 Yello released their first 6 albums Solid Pleasure, Claro Que Si, You Got to Say Yes, One Second, Stella and Flag sparkingly remastered and included 29 bonus tracks and 12 " remasters. Boris Blank did a great job, we would expect no less..but it's a bit much in one go, so i compiled a 80 minute sampler unmixed, for a good friend and my carstereo. You'll get a chance here to convince yourself to replace those vinyls or 20 year old cdees.

Yello - RemasterMix  (79'30 flac 541mb)

01 - Massage
02 - Quad El Habib
03 - Night Flanger
04 - La Habanera
05 - Bostich (n'est-ce pas)
06 - Pinball Cha Cha
07 - Swing
08 - Moon On Ice
09 - Bananas To The Beat
10 - Desire
11 - I Love You (12'edit)
12 - Call It Love (12'mix)
13 - Desert Inn
14 - The Rhythm Divine
15 - Oh Yeah
16 - You Gotta Say yes
17 - Heavy Whispers
18 - Vicious Games (12'mix)
19 - Lost Again
20 - Pinball Cha Cha (12'mix)

Yello @ Home
Yello @ Wiki
Yello @ Amazon

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* All downloads are in ogg-7, artwork is included aswell as a very nifty ogg encoder/decoder.


friend electric said...

that's interesting. Never knew that Burnt Friedman was member of Some More Crime.
I only have Code Opera & Fuzzy Sets. Do you have the 1st one Ohnmacht?

Rho said...

Hello Friend Electric,
Im afraid not, 6 years ago or so i tried to get my hands on any Some More Crime, nada, not even a mp3. That said Friedman has had is hand in so many works, there's plenty left. I wouldnt mind seeing you posting Some More Crime btw.


friend electric said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
friend electric said...


Michael said...

Thanks so much for all of this... This is really the blog I have been waiting for! Outstanding. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...


my new site


waiwaimusic said...

would it be too much to ask for a friedman reup >_<

Anonymous said...

Done Waiwai


Anonymous said...

Hi Rho,

Any chance of re-upping these?

Many thanks in advance!