Michael Friedman
CD Reviews
by Johanna J. Bodde

MICHAEL FRIEDMAN   "Diamond Space"
(Recordings Off The Drive) www.michaelfriedman.ca and www.michaelfriedman.de

First an introduction for those who don't know Michael Friedman yet: a singer-songwriter from Vancouver, Canada, with a voice (three-and-a-half octave!) that makes you think for a moment of Iain Matthews and Clive Gregson, his musical style is also primarily folk and he plays very pleasantly acoustic guitar. Michael made already two wonderful albums: "I Never Knew What Hit Me Until Now" and "Angst Ridden Writer". This third one, "Diamond Space", floated around for a long time as an upgraded CD-R, mainly sold at concerts. Now it's officially released, Michael resang all the vocals, redid some of the guitar parts, added two songs ("Junkie to Junkie" and "Angeline"), remixed and mastered and packaged it all.

The songs are easy on the ears, Michael brings much expression in his voice, especially when he sings the more socially involved lyrics, "Young Soldier" and moving "Golden Rose" for instance, "Vulture Culture" is given the right amount of cynism. Besides the songs of "normal" length -although I see already five tracks generously exceeding the five minutes-, there are also some cute little instrumentals, the "Fireflies", featured on this album. "No Place" is nice & fun, a live-recording, is that really an attempt to hypnotize the audience?
Michael is accompanied by four musicians, who play bass, percussion, pennywhistle and saxophone on this album. Sam Masich -with Michael two-thirds of the group FFM- is the producer, co-writer and one of the engineers. Absolutely nothing wrong with this album, so... what keeps you from listening, music lover?

Written by Johanna J. Bodde, January 2007.

FFM   "Cinematic"
(Self-Released) www.sammasich.com and www.michaelfriedman.ca

"Three part harmony, three guitars, no waiting!" That's the slogan of FFM (Michael Friedman, Mark James Fortin & Sam Masich) and an advertisement agency couldn't have made up anything better. The name of the Canadian group stuck, although Michael said a few years back that they were still trying to decide on something definite.

These three gentlemen play a fresh kind of folkrock and are obviously having fun doing that. Fans of Plainsong, More Than A Song and simular collaborations will immediately love them! Besides the three voices and guitars, drums are played by Pat Steward, bass by Doug Elliott and keyboards by Bill Sample. I think even one of those people who can define in what key the door squeaks, will tell us that there's not one wrong note on this whole album! The CD lasts generously more than an hour, there's a Joni Mitchell cover ("A Case Of You"), all other songs are originals.

"Captain", written by Mark James Fortin, is the most gorgeous track, with its catchy chorus a hitsong in the making! Yet it has words that set your mind to work, just like sarcastic "Martha Stewart" -about much more than the fallen TV icon-, while sweet love story "New York City" is touching in a simple way. The mood changes just as easily from seemingly fluffy: "Twirling, swirling, whirling / and in the end you'll see / everything's nothing but free" to definitely dark: "Three men in long black raincoats / wait for me / digging a hole". Which brings me back to FFM's own description of their music: folk-noire, but also funny!

Written by Johanna J. Bodde, January 2007