music/text: David Friedemann
vocals: Friederike Pilz, David Friedemann
mixing/mastering: M. S. Christ
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The songs of the project NAD LABEM jump purposefully out of the box, which you may inexcusably open hesitantly because one or the other cryptic psalm comes along confrontationally ridden on the powerful beat. And actually, the box is a rather personal drawer of musician/drummer David Friedemann with fragmented poetic affairs of the heart, loose thread ends, and collected jump approaches, which on top of that seemed to be stuck for a long time, maybe also because he usually doesn’t blurt things out and rather is reserved, although his pulse is beating all the time. And how strong it is beating, you could at least guess by listening to the legendary Planet9, the wonderfully intricate ne:o and menkenkes, all bands with roots in Dresden.
Whether it was the personal crisis in the global, the ripe time, or a sudden crunch on one of these days – David Friedemann took heart, dumped that drawer, and started to work. The result is a whole album that brings leftover fragments of texts, impressions, and thoughts back into the flow of time on an always central beat, where they grow into wonderful songs, which also really have the inherent art to develop with each listen, despite their brittle initial contact.
A physically perceptible restlessness dashes into the ambivalence in the arrangement, which he learned not at least from his old bands, and prematurely puts an end to any potential for deviation, for example in the direction of „reference hell“. In the turbulently shimmering opener “rochelle” with its chord stars in the firmament, which are only sham-sedative, it is downright declared that there is no time to argue about “den zweiten Platz an Deck” (the second place on deck), because: „Von dort scheint der Himmel meilenweit“ (From there the sky seems miles away.) The movement forward remains crucial; when Friedemann’s steam sailor threatens list or slack, the rhythm is skilfully shifted up two gears at the right time, as in “mbour” (the dancing leg has been twitching all the time anyway) or in “aaahhlx” with cheeky text garlands and an awesome house uptempo groove, the disco ball is turned on.
And yet: longing fights with urge, melancholy with euphoria, threat with liberation. And all of that is surprisingly un-theatrically because the arrangement is primarily reduced to keystrokes, percussion, and – vocals. It’s one of the many beautiful – and conceptually coherent – surprises on the album that David Friedemann sends his own voice, which has so far been less heard, forward with at most a very brief blink of the eye, between brittle speech and sensitive tension in the gentle.
Wanting to survive alone in this deliberately opened pressure chamber was undoubtedly the right impulse to start running, but over the long distance, it would have been at least a risky, if not fatal, gait. And through the songs the project NAD LABEM developed, which brought companions into the boat, who became almost organic partners in their solidarity and common musicality: long-time friend and band colleague Marco Sebastian Christ, sparring partner in the arrangements and mastermind mixing, and Friederike Pilz, who brings her voice to David Friedemann’s singing in a way that guarantees the oxygen supply even in narrow passages. At neuralgic points, be it exhilarated in “binnenherz” (the title of a song with outrageous single qualities) or painting against the grain, it sloshes over the tense, creaking planks like a wave of freshly foaming spray. The noticeably lively and catchy listening experience of this collaboration was preceded by a serious creative process in the ping-pong style, in which Frederike Pilz also brought something amazing to light. Where David Friedemann steers the project after this lively impact is currently left open by the partners, without being able to hide the aroused interest in it.
(Text: Norbert Seidel, translated from German)