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HJ Irmler and Jaki Liebezeit (live at Café OTO)

London 16 June 2015

HJ Irmler and Jaki Liebezeit posterThere is a German proverb which reads, “Jede Leiter fängt mit der untersten Sprosse an und nach der obersten kommt nur noch freier Fall.” We might possibly translate this as, ‘Every ladder begins at the lowest rung, but after the highest the only way is down’. Tonight, the capacity audience packed into a summer-heated Cafe Oto are treated to evidence that miraculously both confirms, and at the same time, gloriously disproves this pithy aphorism of folk wisdom.

It’s like a sardine packers’ outing in here. The only time I’ve ever seen OTO this full before – and with such a palpable sense of fevered anticipation – is awaiting the entry of the Sun Ra Arkestra. And the reason for tonight’s sense of breathless

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Jaki Liebezeit & Holger Mertin – Aksak


Jaki Liebezeit & Holger Mertin - AksakConfusing record, that’s the synopsis. It’s got all the ingredients of a blinder — fully world-class players, uncommon mix of instruments, well recorded and mixed… but it’s lacking a certain something. That something being length.

There’s arguably a problem with Jaki Liebezeit‘s pedigree — Tago Mago‘s one of my favourite records and, obviously, I’d really like to hear a version of that album with an hour-and-a-half mix of “Halleluwah”. It’s a shitty criticism but that’s where I am; I like to hear an idea developed over long periods of time. That doesn’t have to be a solo Carnatic classical percussion but it does seem a bit of a shame to have a drummer of Liebezeit’s calibre limited in the two to

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Jah Wobble/Jaki Liebezeit/Pole/Burnt Friedman (live)

The Wobble EnsembeQueen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London 28 March 2001

Tonight’s Wire Session Live promises to present a few intriguing collaborations, and first up on the scene are Jaki Liebezeit and Burnt Friedman. The latter’s usual live minidisc setup is enhanced with a Korg analogue synth and another keyboard, from which he produces a series of smooth, almost liquidly funky electronic rhythms and grooves. With the added input of Liebezeit’s spare yet enveloping drumming, the short set they work through occasionally sparkles, sometimes wanders but is never dull by any stretch. The combination is almost exquisite, thanks to the percussive dexterity and the smartly-programmed and played electronics. Together they build short but hypnotic stretches of sinuous music out of deceptively simple arrangements, played by two master musicians of differing generations of innovation who are clearly enjoying themselves, as are the spellbound

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