fri 28/04/2017

CD: Friedman & Liebezeit - Secret Rhythms 5 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Friedman & Liebezeit - Secret Rhythms 5

CD: Friedman & Liebezeit - Secret Rhythms 5

Does a 74-year-old drummer have anything new to say?

They show exactly how exquisite and sophisticated rhythm-led music can be, without ever settling into mere tastefulness
Secret Rhythms 5

It's pretty impressive that at 74 years old, the drummer Jaki Liebezeit should still be one of the most vital musicians on the planet. Maybe not all that surprising, though. From the moment in 1968 when he switched from free jazz to the narcotic jams of Can, he pioneered a rolling rhythmic style that suggested infinite patience and a man comfortable in his body, and it feels entirely natural that his beats should keep on rolling into old age. “Liebezeit” translates literally as “Love Time”, and it feels like he really does.

Though he's collaborated with all kinds of big names including Brian Eno, Primal Scream, David Sylvian and Depeche Mode, Liebezeit's most stable partnership – going for longer than he was in Can, in fact – has been latterly with the Berlin-based electronic producer/musician Burnt (Berndt) Friedman. Their Secret Rhythms series has shown exactly how exquisite and sophisticated rhythm-led music can be, without ever settling into mere tastefulness.

Friedman has always been interested in non-standard time signatures, and if you stop to try and tap out the rhythms on this record yourself, you will almost certainly end up in a terrible tangle. But it's a mark of the duo's natural funk and ability to connect direct to your unconscious mind that unless you are trying to keep count, each groove here feels completely natural. Every piece is like a space that you want to stroll through and explore, with time a looser concept than it normally is – this music doesn't just relax, it really feels like it actually shares a few of the secrets that have kept Liebezeit so vital all these years.

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