Friedman & Liebezeit
Secret Rhythms 4
In some ways, Germany still reacts to the over-decorated exuberance of the late 19th century, yet it’s still the home to minimalist architecture, mechanical music, and sans serif type fonts. The pair of Jaki Liebezeit (best known perhaps as the drummer for German experimental rock band, Can) and Burnt Friedman continue this tradition by writing songs that are assigned numbers complete with hyphenation. Lyrics are not essential, and a bare but multi-layered drumming underlies looped noises and synthesized chants as an old shortwave tunes in the background. Well, that’s what Track 01, otherwise called “204-07” sounds like to my over-stressed Western ear. The drumming picks up energy in Track 02 (cleverly titled “128-05”) even as a power saw zips past. Polyrhythmic in approach and single-minded in execution, this cut has melody but won’t let it out for fear of skin cancer under the intense light of a tropical day. Another digit down the track list is my favorite “182-11.” Here the wind howls and you’re almost in the second side of the Residents Eskimo album, until a tinny electronic keyboard plucks out a melody and the blowing snow melts under the metallic glare of modernism.
Guest musicians appear, including Joseph Suchy and Tim Motze on the “E-Fuzz guitar” and Hayden Chisholm playing a more traditional flute and saxophone. I have no idea what an E-Fuzz guitar is, but if you’re in constant search of compelling new rhythm, you could do worse. Friedman & Liebezeit search the world for sounds with strong Fourier transforms, and even if some of them sound like pans falling out of my kitchen cabinet, these guys find them, polish them, and make them interesting. Now I need to go hit something repeatedly; they’ve inspired me.