BURNT FRIEDMAN: Con Ritmo (Nonplace Records)


Posted on Jul 6th 2009 11:41 pm

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Burnt Friedman: Con Ritmo

Con Ritmo
Nonplace Records 2000/2009
12 Tracks. 59mins08secs

Buy: CD | iTunes
Stream: Spotify

When he released Con Ritmo, almost ten years ago, German musician and producer Bernd ‘Burnt’ Friedman had already been publishing music, under a variety of pseudonyms, and with the Nu Dub Players or Flanger, a project he co-steered with Atom™, since the mid-nineties, appearing on labels such as ~Scape or Ash International. This album was only the third release, and the first album, from his then recently set up Nonplace Records imprint.

Playing keyboards and vibraphone, Friedman surrounded himself with the tongue-in-cheek Disposable Rhythm Section, featuring guitarist Josef Suchy and Bernie The Bolt, who brought Latin flavours to the drums and percussions. On Das Wesen Aus Der Milchstrasse, the trio were joined by long-time friend and collaborator Atom Heart on Moog. The tracks collected on this record were culled from live recordings made during a two-week period.

Now presented in fully remastered glory and featuring four additional tracks, Con Ritmo has lost none of its charms and quirks. Largely feeding from Latin jazz and exotica ambiences and tones, the tracks on here are exquisitely funky and groovy, yet, at the same time, elegant and restrained. The overall mood is utterly smooth and fluid, with melodies that unravel and develop around subtle chord changes into beautiful sequences, propelled by hot sweaty rhythms. The album kicks off with the pretty chilled Los Corraleros, with its big slabs of Hammond organ and pretty straightforward beat, but things hot up with the groovy Demolition Derby and Octrahedal Sperical Caffufle which follow, and the energy levels goes up again with the cheesy sci-fi of Das Wesen Aus Der Milchstrasse, the oblique lounge-funk of Octrahedal Sperical Caffufle/Vers or the excellent Planquadratschick, before taking yet another turn toward scorching funk with Gondel.

Elsewhere, the mood is held back to allow for more subtle moments to flourish. This is very much the case on the dubbey Platin Tundra, which never seems to develop to its full potential until closer listen reveals a great deal of activity in the sub-levels of the piece. On Destination Unknown, the tone is once again more delicate and peaceful, and while the rhythm section still relentlessly drives the piece, especially in its middle section, the rich and colourful guitar motifs heard on the early part of the track give it a sophisticated lustre, while the vibraphone which becomes omnipresent in the latter part highlights its sunny disposition. Butikofer Y Monoy is in many ways a more straightforward and linear composition, especially placed against the epic Das Wesen Aus Der Milchstrasse, but once again, its complexity becomes more obvious with time.

This is, it has to be said, a characteristic of Friedman’s work. While he often gives the impression that his records are nothing more than a series of easy pieces, slightly cheesy even, he actually creates extremely complex and layered structures that continuously evolve and charm by their dexterity and ingenuity. While Con Ritmo is one of his earlier major recordings, Burnt Friedman already showed here many of the traits that have made his later work, especially his collaboration with legendary Can percussionist Jaki Liebezeit, so thoroughly enjoyable and compelling.


Icon: arrow Burnt Friedman | Nonplace Records
Icon: arrow Buy: CD | iTunes
Icon: arrow Stream: Spotify

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