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

Tord Gustavsen Ensemble: Restored, Returned (ECM/Ode)

Tord Gustavsen Ensemble: Restored, Returned (ECM/Ode)

The previous album by young ECM pianist Gustavsen at Elsewhere was his trio album Being There which was named a Best of Elsewhere 2007 album. Echoes of that group's delicate beauty and vibrant... > Read more

Trygve Seim/Andreas Utnem: Purcor; Songs for Saxophone and Piano (ECM/Ode)

Trygve Seim/Andreas Utnem: Purcor; Songs for Saxophone and Piano (ECM/Ode)

On a blindfold test -- "What record label is this on?" -- my money would be on greater than 90 percent of music-aware Elsewhere people saying immediately "ECM", and about half... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JABBERROCK: THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ROCK'N'ROLL QUOTATIONS by RAYMOND OBSTFELD AND PATRICIA FITZGERALD

JABBERROCK: THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ROCK'N'ROLL QUOTATIONS by RAYMOND OBSTFELD AND PATRICIA FITZGERALD

This lightweight but cheap paperback provides some funny observations (such as Elvis Costello's "Rock'n'roll is the lowest form of life known to man"), but mostly it proves we're lucky... > Read more

TOUGHER THAN TOUGH: The 1994 box set of Jamaican music considered

TOUGHER THAN TOUGH: The 1994 box set of Jamaican music considered

One of the most exciting things about popular music is that you can never anticipate where the next wave will come from. Could you have predicted Chicago in Forties, Memphis in the Fifties,... > Read more