Posted on May 11th 2010 01:18 am
10th Anniversary Edition
Nonplace Records 2010
15 Tracks. 60min00secs
Ten years is a milestone for any label, especially in today’s volatile music market, and it is just the one reached by Bernd ‘Burnt Friedman’ Friedmann’s excellent Nonplace. While the label has been an outlet for his own projects, either solo or collaborative, it has also seen contributions from a handful of bands and artists, from Beige or Freeform to Roots 70 and The Embassadors more recently. More than a label with a perfectly hermetic roster, Nonplace is a bubbling cauldron where artists are often spotted on works other than their own and cross pollination is actively encouraged. Friedmann of course has been involved in one way or another on most records released on the label, but it is also the case of multi-instrumentist Hayden Chisholm, who, from his early collaboration with Friedmann as part of the Nu Dub Players, went on to form both Root 70 and The Embassadors, or guitarist Joseph Suchy, who beside a number of extra-Nonplace activities, is often seen alongside Friedmann on his solo projects.
This compilation doesn’t so much attempts to sum up the last ten years as to provide a snapshot of the label sound, from the stripped down dub that fuels Friedmann’s solo work and defines much of his utterly excellent collaborative work with Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, which has been so far collected on three volumes in their Secret Rhythms series, to the laidback jazz overtones of Flanger, the project he set up with Uwe ‘Atom Heart’ Schmidt over ten years ago. There is however an underlying flow to this record which starts with an entirely instrumental remix of The Librarian, the original of which featured vocals by David Sylvian and appeared on Secret Rhythms 2, and visits the sumptuous organic dubbey grooves of The Embassadors, with a subtly revised version of the smooth Iboga Dreamtime first, then with the sharper Makena, and of Friedmann’s solo work before progressively reaching much jazzier shores with a bunch of tracks and remixes from Flanger, at times pushing into big band territory, especially on Funeral March, before returning to a much leaner sound toward the end, once again encapsulated by the powerful Friedman/Liebezeit partnership on The Sticks first, remixed by Nonplace’s resident mastering engineer Rashad Becker, then again on the Friedman remix of Wirklich to close the album, while Roots 70, again remodelled by Becker, brings a hint of sci-fi quirk to the project.
While in no way exhaustive (where are the Nu Dub Players for instance?), this celebratory collection provides a good insight into the Nonplace aesthetic. Jazz and dub are found here in abundance and reflect the trends that have been at the core of the label’s output in the last ten years. By opting for remixes, instead of simply line-up existing tracks, it is as if Friedman was reaffirming his commitment to both genres as driving forces behind his overall work.
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