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Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit

Secret Rhythms 3

(Nonplace; US: 30 Sep 2008; UK: 29 Sep 2008; Germany release date: 26 Sep 2008)

As its title suggests, Secret Rhythms 3 is the third in a series of collaborations between Liebezeit, ex-drummer for Krautrock legends Can, and Friedman, half of neo-freejazz outfit Flanger. While 1 was based around individual instrument solos and 2 featured vocal contributions from David Sylvian, Secret Rhythms 3 is all instrumental and focuses on the overall mesh of the various instruments. The seven tracks are often overlong, stretching Friedman’s impressionistic electronic effects and Liebezeit’s unmistakable pitter-patter close to the ten-minute mark. The duo are augmented by the acoustic strumming and electric squealing of guitarists Tim Motzer and Joseph Suchy and the sax of Hayden Chisholm, experimentalists all. The jagged guitar sketching and atmospheric backdrop of “Trittbrettfahrer” suggests Durutti Column, and the soundtrack work of Ry Cooder and Ennio Moriccone are other reference points, although Friedman and Liebezeit add dissonance and abstraction. Liebezeit’s almost-subliminal playing is always a pleasure, and Secret Rhythms 3 occasionally achieves the effortless synthesis between acoustic and electronic sounds it aims for. Overall, though, it doesn’t do quite enough to hold your attention consistently, and at times feels downright awkward.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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15 Mar 2006
Channeling the spirits of Augustus Pablo and Can certainly isn't the worst musical concept to attempt, and Friedman and Liebezeit do a credible job of making it work.
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