The writer, activist and performance artist unveils their new full-length album comes as the first from DOGFOOD Music Group (DMG), created by Blanco and !K7 in January 2015 aimed at giving a platform for artists who “transcend conventional cultural boundaries / construct”.
This isn’t the Miami of beige shorts and Hawaiian t-shirts. It’s the imaginary dystopia that one envisions after the end of days that is in fact lingering just below the surface of reality. Brandt Brauer Frick are the Berlin three-piece of free jazz musicians experimenting with acoustic techno arrangements since their 2010 debut Make Me Real, begun with the meticulous mimickryof ‘Bop’ and perfected with ‘Pretend’ featuring Emika on 2011’s Mr. Machine. At that point the heads behind it, Daniel Brandt, Jan Brauer and Paul Frick, had brought the archaic instrumental oddities of a marimba, timpani, tuba and more to a lavish ensemble numbering 10, creating something only electronics could manage. But with their latest release Miami, out on!K7, March 11, they’ve stripped back to a three piece, included several interloping vocals accompaniments and loosened up the compositions to allow for the simmering sense of doom that all bodily electronica harbours.
Only a Londoner like Erol Alkan can produce and remix such a delicate voice and one of the best tracks of 2011 and only a Londoner can raise the bar on one of the best remixes of last year, his own rework on Connan Mockasin‘s Forever Dolphin Love.
A new edit for the new Bugged Out! Mix / Bugged In Selection mix which happens to come out in a couple of months on !K7 Records (September 3rd to be more precise). 2 sets, “one side club-oriented, one aimed at home listening” which compile and reflect the magic he’s capable of… from Smith N Hack’s ‘To Our Disco Friends’ to our much admired In Flagranti.
Erol mixed the set live in a couple of takes, no computerised beat matching or studio trickery. Why? “For me, that’s what DJing is about, spontaneity, mistakes, records trying to keep up with one another” he says. It took just two takes, as he was nearing the end of the second, the sub bass of Spandex’s ‘The Bull’ shook the speaker off the mantelpiece of his music room at home and sent it crashing to the floor, leaving a deep dent in the floorboards. “I just thought, It’s going so well I’m going to carry on,” he laughs. “I didn’t want to detract from capturing that moment. That’s where – for me – the electricity lies: in the moment, not crafting something that’s perfect on a computer.” No computers for Mr Alkan then, he clearly doesn’t need them.
Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble are one of the few bands that manage to convince you that there is in fact an underlying universal truth to what makes good and bad music, you just have to know what it is. Hell, if they can make a hybrid fusion of classical virtuosity with synthesisers, two modes of expression that are worlds apart, then they’re clearly doing well.
There are many of us suspicious of the urban/ classical overlap, it’s probably in the similarly problematical realm of modern free jazz for many, but it’s only now and then you come across someone who not only does it well, but also keeps it interesting. Micachu & the Shapes did it by taking the Texan method of Turntablism, crudely called ‘chopping and screwing’, to the London Sinfonietta and producing something in equal parts divisive, avant-garde and unsettling in emotional and creative scope. Continue reading Brandt Brauer Frick’s ‘Mr. Machine’ reviewed.