Latest episode in a string of archival remembrances exhumed from lost DAT tapes, Burnt Friedman‘s ‘Dead Saints Chronicles‘ EP draws its title from David Solomon’s eponymous book ‘The Dead Saints Chronicles: A Zen Journey Through the Christian Afterlife‘ – a study of 5,000 cases of NDEs (Near-Death Experiences) exploring the concepts of salvation and death, and that ultimately bears a close kinship with the visions born through the listening of Friedman’s expeditions into sense-awakening limbos and existential torpor.
To enter the intricate skeins of textured envelopes and tangled polyrhythmic drumwork of Friedman’s sound imaginarium is to abandon yourself to a one-off, mind-expanding experience. Away from the canons of functional electronic music and full-out leftfield digressions, it spirals through and over with elusiveness and spirit, like a soul slipping out of its shell, floating half-way between complete disintegration into the big whole and the rising convergence of all centres onto the Omega Point.
The chime-heavy ‘Near Life‘ breaks things in the most frisky manner: as syncopated rhythms sweep along full flocks of Caribbean steel-drums and acid bass spurts, distorted organ chords breath further jazz into this game of Gamelan-friendly percussions. More fluid and pensive, ‘Acroagnosis‘ displays Friedman’s silky touch for multi-layered dubby wanderings and interlaced melodic frameworks, whilst the snoozy ‘Languish‘ swerves onto extra abstract hip-hop terrains with its composite instrumental backbone and middle-eastern accents to form a much intriguing and riveting audio journey.
The B-side discloses few different flavours and ‘Grace‘ has all the features of a spacious A Silver Mt. Zion or GY!BE interlude to start with. Hypnotic and obsessive to the fullest, ‘Wentletrap‘ then unfolds endless tides of bass arpeggios with the pace and precision of an intense cell division, quietly spreading its genes upon beds of mossy pads for a mutation that never comes. An ultimate exercise in style, ‘Repentance‘, folds up the EP on a much stripped-back transcendental note. Eerie and majestic, a stunningly immersive additional piece to a kaleidoscopic puzzle of a catalogue.
Dead Saints Chronicles EP is out now, order a copy from Honest Jon’s.
A1. Near Life