b. 1965, Coburg, Germany. Friedmann is one of the more intriguing figures operating in electronic music. He has listed German progressive rock, Gary Numan, Iron Maiden and Tangerine Dream as early influences. However, his life seems to have been irrevocably changed by childhood experiments with a cassette player and he has previously quoted Andy Warhol’s maxim that: ‘The acquisition of my tape recorder really finished whatever emotional life I might have had. But I was glad to see it go.’
Friedmann named his own label Nonplace, as a metaphor for where he sees himself in the music industry. The concept behind the label, he says, is to mess around with genres. Claiming that ‘Identity is the enemy because I don’t want to get stuck in a certain style’, the Cologne-based artist has scattered his personality through a series of aliases and alter-egos. He has released music as Drome, Gummibox, SMC (Some More Crime), Nonplace Urban Field, Flanger, the Nu Dub Players, Burnt Friedman and even - though he claims to dislike it when artists use their own name - Bernd Friedmann. The musician, however, refuses to define or pigeon hole any of his monikers. Rather he says this multiplex of identities is an inevitable consequence of the invention of a concept for each of his releases, with each new idea necessitating a new label. Alongside his multitude of identities (he also records with Atom Heart as Flanger, and David Sylvian and Steve Jansen as Nine Horses), Friedmann creates his own curious fictions and elaborately constructed biographies. The Nu Dub Players release Just Landed (2000) was supposedly a live album recorded in a South American club; in truth it took Friedmann almost three years to complete in a studio. Though the methodology may often be esoteric (he has sampled the sound of a ballerina cracking her back and played live using five MiniDisc players) and his intent often quirky (1996’s Leisure Zones was created because he wanted to record something he could fall asleep to and included the recommendation that it be played at a volume ‘approximating the throb of traffic’), Friedmann’s recordings are often beguiling and always fascinating.