Experimental electronic producer Burnt Friedman is releasing his latest project, Musical Traditions in Central Europe: Explorer Series Vol 4, on 31 May via Nonplace. It’s Friedman’s effort to document the musical melting pot of Berlin and Central Europe generally, as well as reflecting on the juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane. The video we’re premiering today, “Supreme Self Dub” highlights the urban detritus of the city as the artist wanders through garbage strewn landscapes with graffiti-laden walls. The former gleaming German capital is reduced to a rubbish dump, the video implies, but it’s in this so-called “wasteland” that art, music, and creativity flourish. So the profane can inspire and create meaningful culture as much as the sacred. All of that is part of the identity of Central European music.
Friedman elaborates and shares that Eastern philosophy drove part of his thinking in this work. “On January 1st, 2019, I decided to shot video footage in the neighborhood. With the helping hand of J. Plachy (camera and co-producer), they captured the dire atmosphere of Berlin’s post-New Year’s Eve firework celebrations. Burnt Friedman performs a set of ‘omission’- gestures accompanied by some essential lines extracted from ancient Indian philosophy (The Upanishads). In regard to grasping the concept of a ‘self’ and ‘consciousness’ in general, Eastern philosophy has been and is extremely elaborate, even more radical than the Western.
“In fact, the Western grasp on such issues have often been derived from those of the East (Dao, Buddhism). Are the few extracted lines from the Upanishads (‘the supreme self is neither born nor dies, etc.’) still actual and accurate? Do those lines stand the test of time when confronted with the Profane of Berlin’s most neglected areas, juxtaposed by the pondering of a detached, self-liberated, Western individual and an audio track of ‘grittily vicious coherence’ (boomkat.com review)? Can a ‘supreme self’ be detected in the moves of the performing figure? A question of faith.”