Somnambule - Writing About Music

Shank ~ Do

Shank’s press release informs the reader: “6 piece live band from Berlin meets Nonplace hard drives” and “Shank actually is a pure live instrumental band.” Such declarations are initially met with scepticism. Nonplace is the label run by German electronica artist Burnt Friedman whose previous releases include a painstakingly assembled fascsimile of a live concert (Con Ritmo) as well as collaborations with the likes of Atom Heart and Jaki Liebezeit. In fact Friedman’s considerable oeuvre is marked by a playful seriousness which frequently addresses notions of identity and authenticity as well as exploring the interstices between programming, sampling and live playing. Shank’s music bears a consumately professional sheen and is both rather lovely and subtly anonymous. Vibes tiptoe about, occasionally sounding out melodies while drummer Matthias Trippner plays delightful stutter rhythms. Dub is a perennial fascination for Friedman and there’s a stoned, but wide-awake, outernational feel to this music. Bass and drums are to the fore throughout: Friedman is a former drummer whose earlier work was marked by a particular emphasis on rhythm though in recent years an increasing balance has revealed greater attention to melody as well. Shank’s Do is sunny, strange and resolutely un-teutonic: it’s an intriguing, new instalment in Friedman’s always interesting career.
Colin Buttimer
October 2005
Published by Signal To Noise magazine