In April 2013 Jaki Liebezeit and Burnt Friedman will add a fifth album to the Secret Rhythms series.
Allegedly the sound of one-armed bandits inspired Paul Desmond to compose “Take Five”: “It was the rhythm of the machine which influenced me, and I really only wrote the track to get the money back I lost that night.”
Although jazz offers examples of odd time signatures stretching back all the way to Lennie Tristano in 1955, for example, or Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond in 1959, fundamental differences persist in the way these rhythms are perceived. Terms like downbeat and offbeat, polymeter or syncopation point to theoretical inconsistencies. They demonstrate that the notion of a uniform, dynamic functional principle is alien to western thinking.
Watching Liebezeit play his drums, or following the developmental path of the Secret Rhythms titles, it becomes possible to understand that the rhythmic formula is comprehended as being circular – in much the same way as in traditional or neo-traditional music in non-western spheres – as opposed to linear and progressive. The formula is derived from a recurrent, necessarily balanced body movement from which every impulse originates as something sensed as opposed to noted down. Once these basal motional patterns have been transposed to the memory of the body, they can be effortlessly transferred to any desired resonance box, string, drum, xylophone or piano. They are in tune to begin with.
“If you find the way the energy wants to flow naturally, you don´t have to force it.”
Marko Rodin (scientist, vortex-based mathematics)
This formulaic principle, which can be represented with just two signs, or translated into simple digits, can also be grasped as an energy structure according to which the individual (or an infinite number of individuals) is synchronized. Analogously, all the instruments played on Secret Rhythms 5 are synchronized to the principal motional formula.
Burnt Friedman: “If a dancer was to think about his sequence of movements when dancing, he would presumably fall over. I don’t believe the so-called brain controls the complex sequence, I think control lies with the structure that has entered the body. In musical terms this structure comprises the repetition of proportions and intervals. But the question of whether this functions, whether the orchestra or the band start to vibrate in unison, depends on whether the musicians listen to each other and are used to working this way. That would be expecting too much from a deaf machine, so the frequent comparisons between Jaki and a machine are rather implausible. As I see it, Can deliberately moved towards a rather simple, straight, repetitive groove in the late ’60s. Basically, they didn’t jam or improvise, but executed what was preordained by a fundamental musical structure, and would keep repeating cycles they wanted to play really well. What we hear when we listen to early Can is, with a few exceptions, the record of a group process that was never completed or even entertained the concept of a finished piece. There would always be room to play something differently.”
Secret Rhythms 5 (non35)
Release Date: 20th April 2013