Chasing the essence of music with one of Germany's most gifted artists.
In the West, there's a pervasive idea that the goal of art is self-expression and creative freedom. For Burnt Friedman, the real challenge is to understand and work within music's universal laws and abide by its ancient rules. He's the kind of guy who likens real artists to scientists making new discoveries that show us something true and inviolable about the world.
To describe the German's music as organic is an understatement. Whether working with acoustic or electronic materials, his rhythms are rigorous yet relaxed and sound like little else. And while cultural discourse swirls around questions of appropriation, Friedman sees the underlying commonalities in the musics of disparate local cultures as the basis for a universal sound.
Although he's been working since the '80s and counts luminaries like Atom™ and Can's Jaki Liebezeit as collaborators, Friedman is a perennial outsider. Yet the high esteem he's held in is reflected by regular appearances at influential festivals like Freerotation and his huge back catalogue continues to dazzle. In this conversation with Angus Finlayson, Friedman offers his distinctive take on what makes art valuable and describes his quest to harness the power of the universal rhythm.