The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble (Daniel Brandt, Jan Brauer and Paul Frick)
as their names suggest hail from Germany and on their album 'Mr Machine' they
deliver eight compositions of a fascinating brand of intellectually alert dance
music. Rhythm is the thing and there's a lot of sharp and deeply satisfying
stuff going on in their music. Their use of acoustic and electronic elements
creates a rich dynamic quite unlike anything else I've heard in the genre for
quite a while. The word "ensemble" is entirely apposite. Their compositions
would sound as at home at The Wigmore Hall as they might in the darker corners
of a Bohemian Berlin nightclub. It's clever stuff but easy to absorb and enjoy.
Things kick off with a slow plodding piece, title track 'Mr Machine', which,
although lasting little more than a minute, is a perfectly formed slice of
angular uncertainty, paving the way for the treats to follow. A dark little ritual.
Next up is 'Bop', which, in an irresistibly twitchy kind of way, suggests a
rumba competition in a termite nest. The juxtaposition of fidgety piano and
percussion is delightful and sets fingers and toes tapping ten to the dozen.
'You Make Me Real' is a more abstract affair whose eerie introduction would
not have sounded out of place if it ha sprung fully-formed from the Second
Viennese School. The lovechild of Arnold Schoenberg and The Mahavishnu String
Orchestra on a night out on the town in Buenos Aires; all brooding bass, spooky
string glissandi and moody brass accents! 'Mi Corazon' employs an irregular
Latin rhythmic motif as a backdrop for yet more instrumental shenanigans; the
dynamic ebb and flow thrusting us along, hands-on-hips-in-front, in a kind of
disjointed conga (but not the sort, however, with which your Auntie Irene might
be familiar!) 'On Powdered Ground (Mixed Lines)' is a real curiosity; imagine
The Andrews Sisters on a route march and you might be getting somewhere close!
Final track '606 'n' Rock 'n' Roll' is a marvellous piece of sonic deconstruction;
the bare bones of 'Blue Suede Shoes' rattling away on Steve Reich's front porch!
'Mr Machine' is a fiercely single-minded journey into unorthodox musical territory.
on 19 March 2012
Read an article on this group in a MixMag while waiting to get my haircut, and it did catch my interest.
So bought it from Amazon and gave it a few listens on the way to work in the car & am glad I bought it.
Some tracks appeal more than others (as with most albums), but certainly there are none that I skip past. In particular "Pretend" has lyrical & musical cleverness which i favour over the other tracks, but it's a worthy addition to my collection, amidst the likes of early 90's Lenny Dee to the Peatbog Faeries.
Mr Machine might not be one of those albums you keep by your CD player all the time, but you'll be glad to have it in your collection.
Give it a go.
on 1 September 2012
After first listening of this album I am absolutely delighted. Brandt Brause Frick Ensemble is... yeah? what is it? Really hard to clasify somehow. In a simplest words it is little bit jazz, little bit classical, electronic maybe with disco rhytms and some clever musical experiments? Luckily you can't simply say what type of music it is and to me it is biggest discovery of 2012. Brandt Brause Frick Ensemble is far away from anything I've heard before