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Burnt Friedman – Plays Love Songs

Label: Nonplace Format: CD

Burnt Friedman Plays Love SongsAhh, Burnt, you have done it again, wooing the worlds of the cocktail-spping Lounge devil and Electronica studio boffin alike with your splendid charms, equally divided between raunch and drum roll science. How long before the Galactic Prize For Extreme Cleverness will have the name B Friedman inscribed upon its shining sides?

This is not a piss-take – Plays Love Songs really is that good a record, and not just for the technical shenanigans, the easy-seeming complexity of the interaction between programming and live sounds, the conjuration of virtual bands and arch-weirdness. It’s for all of the above, and more. Humour is to be valued in music – Zappa was right to pose the question, but it’s a shame his was a little heavy-handed. BF however, has the advantage of being German, which makes his comedy all the more subtly odd, despite what the stereotype might have you believe, somewhere between a smoochier Ken Nordine and a collection of eccentric smoking-room tales.

Where porn and groove meet in music can sometimes be tremendously tedious in the Channel-5 mould – softcore sax smokiness and orgasmic moans while attempting to invoke a feeling of “eroticism”. Plays Love Songs may have songs and stories about sex, but is much more than that. Though the love and lust moments are everywhere, and opening track “Fucking Long Time” has it’s title whispered in Faunish manner above a cycling swarm of electonics and snarled-up guitar licks, it’s an overall theme which becomes more and more curious as the record develops. Love is in the airs, and graces all the tracks in some manner, tangentially inherent in each instrumantal, but it’s perceived through a decidedly lateral filter. A tendency to Jazzy swing and literally cartoonish stylings on the booklet included as much as in some of the compositions make dub bedfellows in a fruitful union of mostly successful lushness – and when a soulful female voice starts to make “2 Go With You” go the way of shuffling Swingbeat, Friedman cuts her off before it all gets too treacly.

What emerges here are stories and snippets of insight into the confusing whirl of emotion which attaches itself to people in their daily mania. “It Hurts!” is very odd, concerning the self-told story of a boy whose sexual frustration leads to a strange fracturing of his arm in a roundabout way. A bit like the record, it’s singular window on the interior lives of the distubingly banal leaves itself open to interpretation as much as the “bom-bah’s” and warm groove elsewhere do: everything about humans (especially their tales told here) and their obsessions is strange, and this is a record which likes to make the connection in words as well as the masterful conjunction of samples under the orchestrations of left-field liquidity.

-Antron S. Meister-

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