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Flanger: Outer Space/Inner Space

As Burnt Friedman and Atom Heart-aka Flanger-demonstrate on this brilliantly conceived and executed CD, the contrasting worlds of electric and organic, programmed and improvised, high art and lowbrow can live in harmony.

Recruiting a crew of Latin percussionists from Santiago de Chile and jazz musicians from Copenhagen, Denmark and Cologne, the German Flanger blasts off into an atemporal vortex where Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi group melts into broken-beats innovators New Sector Movements, and early ’80s electro-hip-hoppers Newcleus enrolls in Abdullah Ibrahim’s 1973 album African Space Program.

Sound messy?

Amazingly, chaos is kept to a minimum, though the sparkling friction between the organic and electronic is still there. The songs dance with sense and logic thanks to Friedman and Heart’s impeccable beats and soundscapes. Saxophonist Thomas Hass’ corkscrew lines and raspy wails on robo-funky “Outer Space/Inner Space,” the wickedly stuttering “Le Dernier Combat” and the electro-bop of “Hirnflug” are some of the highlights. Carsten Skov’s shimmering vibraphone asides, especially on the celestial “Unosietecero,” beautifully complement the synthetic harmonic schemes. And the dueling hand percussion of Claudio Ortuzar and Ernesto Artunez gives Flanger’s intricate beats added rumble and boogie.

In short, Outer Space/Inner Space is by far one of the best jazz-electronica projects to come down the pipe since Graham Haynes’ 1996 masterpiece Transition.

Originally Published