BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Llyria (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Modul 55
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Llyria (ECM/Ode)
Because music on the ECM label often invites a litany of familiar adjectives -- austere, cool, detached -- it's a pleasure to throw this disc into the player and find yourself thinking more along the lines of . . . muscular, vigorous, assertive.

 

Even the cover here suggests fireworks --- and while the music isn't exactly incendiary this young Swiss group lead by pianist Bartsch certainly push harder and more rhythmically than most artists on the label. Perhaps having both a drummer and percussion player ups the energy, but it is altoist/bass clarinet player Sha driving over the top of Bartsch's powerful and often rhythmical, repeated phrases which command attention.

This isn't so much minimalism in the repetition, rather a kind of thickened maximalism full of dramatic chord flourishes by Bartsch and geometric drum patterns pushing in different directions.

As with Seb Rochford's Polar Bear and Neil Cowley the UK, this is music which comes from a very different place than most young jazz players schooled on post-bop and a Fake Book.

Elements of Steve Reich are here alongside free playing, suggestions of film noir and moody soundtracks, and perhaps even the leading edge of post-rock as well as some suggestions of the sound of North African music in aspects of Sha's playing.

The seven pieces here -- all named and numbered as a separate "Modul"-- are all of quite distinct character, yet all somehow reflect and relate to each other.

One of the most interesting and provocative ECM albums in quite a while. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

PJ Harvey and John Parish: A Woman A Man Walked By (Universal)

PJ Harvey and John Parish: A Woman A Man Walked By (Universal)

The very great and waywardly inventive PJ Harvey once told interviewer Barney Hoskyns, "I've spent my entire time trying to explain to people that I'm a creative writer. People jump to... > Read more

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2012: READERS' CHOICES

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2012: READERS' CHOICES

That time of year again folks when Elsewhere invites you to name one or two – or three or four -- albums which shook your tree during 2012. Elsewhere tried to keep up with the game and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITERS GAVIN AND ODETTE consider the romantic young John Lennon

GUEST WRITERS GAVIN AND ODETTE consider the romantic young John Lennon

A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles is a mono vision. When you put it on – while reading this article of course – make sure you put it on loud. The first thing you will realize... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Phil Somervell of the Datsuns

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Phil Somervell of the Datsuns

We still get excited when New Zealand acts do well overseas – recently Gin and the current coverage of Lorde – but when the Datsuns out of Cambridge made the cover of the NME in late... > Read more