Finally, an update. Here we start with an album that I do not fullyunderstand as it's like the bastard child of a jazz - funk - kraut -dub - whateverthefuck Ménage à trois. I found this gem by looking forsome tracks by or featuring the great vocalist Steve Spacek. Spacekhas recently started a project titled Black Pocket (which I'll getinto some more detail in another post) and I wanted to see what elsehe has done. The album I found is by Burnt Friedman, titled FirstNight Forever on a label that is new to me as well, Nonplace.
The first track, "Where Should I Go" features Spacek and it starts offwith either some quick guitar picking or more likely a delayed guitarline. Slowly elements are added to create a very hypnotic vibe, almostlike a jam band. The lyrics are almost spoken in a poetic way as thesong carries on. I'm glad the vocals don't mask the great detail inthe production work, because it's great. The album as a whole has avery cinematic feel to it with the bursts of strings and horns, but ina good way, not boring 'will this ever end sort of thing'. The nexttrack, "Machine In The Ghost" has the vocal talents of BarbaraPanther, an Australian native. The vocal intonation, lyrics, guitarand flute work makes me think folk music. I thought it was a littletoo weird at first but like most of this album it is a grower forsure. Spacek shows up on the third track as well, "Walk With Me".Following the path layed before it, it slowly unravels through almosta jazzy orchestral instrumentation. The words are a bit cliché,"…Don't be confused, I mean what I say.." but it works.
The dub influence shines bright on the fourth track that features TheoAltenberg. Theo has a voice where I expect him to wax lyrical aboutthe end of the world over a heavy skanking rhythm, and that's almostwhat you get with "Need Is All You Love". It's a short track thatcould have been lengthened to classic dub version but it's ok Theoshows up again on track six. "Healer" could be a lost James Browntrack. Theo barks and does some call and response style bits with someback up singers. Again Friendman lays on some dub effects without overdoing it. This man clearly has years of experience, it's all sofocused distilled.
The fourth vocalist to be featured is Daniel Dodd-Ellis on "FirstNight Forever". Nice mellow vibes to still rolling though; you canalmost feel the dense fog of smoke swirling around you as the organmakes a pillow for you to rest your mind and unwind. This isdefinitely one of my favorite tracks on the LP. The smoke clears everyonce in awhile for drum fills until the fog rolls back in. Skippingover to track seven, "Western Smoke" features the last vocalisthighlighted, Enik. This one starts off very strange with Enik sayingsomething like "Mister, come look at my tongue, it's diiiirty…" odd.It continues and he speaks in muffled tones as if his tongue has beencut, again, odd. Decent track and one that would be a lot of fun tosee live with the horns ringing out, Enik scatting while drums scatteraround keeping everything glued together. Enik is also featured on thenext track, "Thumb Second". Another delayed guitar intro with a coolstring sample; this sounds almost like something Incubus could havedone ten years ago. Very Cali jam band, pyschedelic bits, then Enikcomes in again talking about what? No idea. This is what I imagine LeePerry to act like in real life, just weird, rapping on about thumb conspiracies and howling at the moon.
The last two tracks that round up the LP are "Chaos Breeds 1" and"Chaos Breeds 2", the latter featuring Dodd-Ellis, Panther andAltenberg. Breeds 1 is some fantastic guitar work, soft and briefvocal passages. A muted and dubbed drum pattern comes opening thetrack a bit and giving the guitar a nice groove to wrap around. Breeds2 rounds out with what I'm assuming was a jam session, inspiringstuff. The voices repeating, "Chaos breeds an evil man". I'm glad Ihad a listen, this will be in heavy rotation for some time to come. Now all I need to do is look into Friedman's back catalog as well as all the great vocalists.