Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Live (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Modul 17 Tokyo
Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Live (ECM/Ode)

A previous album by this often melodically minimalist, rhythmically propulsive and effervescent group around keyboard player Bartsch -- Llyria -- was singled out as one the Best of Elsewhere in 2010 and this double live disc recorded at various venues between 2009 - 2011 confirms that they are something special. And different.

Young, vigorous and playing with a constraint which sometimes just has to be let go into explosive playing and dynamics, Ronin sometimes come off as Steve Reich with an injection of funk, the soundtrack to a film noir starring Orson Welles and Klaus Kinski ( a double whammy of different kinds of menace) or a post-rock band with some serious jazz chops. There's even a bit of pulsing Afro-juju beat in the piece recorded in Tokyo.

Each of the pieces here -- improvisations averaging around the 10 minute mark -- is billed as a separate "modul", a hint that you can see these as refractions of their collective personality all coming from a similar but distinct emotional place.

With two percussion players, the music is grounded but also capable of sudden bursts of exciting kinetic energy.

The repetition might put more conservative ears off, but Ronin are seriously good if challenging. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Richard Nunns and Mark Lockett: Redaction (Rattle)

Richard Nunns and Mark Lockett: Redaction (Rattle)

The background to this recording -- conceived as spontaneous improvisations between taonga puoro master Richard Nunns and percussionist Mark Lockett in conjunction with an audio-visual installation... > Read more

Fly: Year of the Snake (ECM/Ode)

Fly: Year of the Snake (ECM/Ode)

This sinuous, mysterious, rhythmic and back-to-the-bone album comes from a young trio which has impeccable pedigree. Saxophonist Mark Turner has played with numerous ECM artists (Dave Holland,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ERIC BIBB INTERVIEWED (2009): Born into this

ERIC BIBB INTERVIEWED (2009): Born into this

You could say singer-guitarist Eric Bibb had little choice, that he was born to the musical life: his father Leon was a well-known New York folk singer; his uncle was John Lewis, the pianist in... > Read more

The Ramblers: It's only rock'n'roll, and I survived it

The Ramblers: It's only rock'n'roll, and I survived it

A few years ago at the Herald, to amuse ourselves and readers over the Christmas season, it was decided I would write a piece about a band of roadies who were playing a rare gig. That part was... > Read more