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

Tsabropoulos, Lechner, Gandhi: Melos (ECM/Ode)

Tsabropoulos, Lechner, Gandhi: Melos (ECM/Ode)

On a first encounter you will think you won't get much bbq season play out of this melancholy, autumnal album of original pieces by pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos and interpretations of short... > Read more

CHARLES MINGUS, PITHECANTHROPUS ERECTUS IN 1956: Man standing up tall

CHARLES MINGUS, PITHECANTHROPUS ERECTUS IN 1956: Man standing up tall

By the time Charles Mingus died in 1979 at 56, most of the obituaries had already been prepared. Mingus, suffering the increasingly debilitating Lou Gehrig's disease, hadn't been able to walk or... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland (1968)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland (1968)

There's a very good case to be made that The Jimi Hendrix Experience album of 1967 was the most accomplished and innovative debut of the rock era. (Indeed I hope I made the case for Are You... > Read more

SIR STANLEY SPENCER ESSAYED (2003): Of angels and dirt

SIR STANLEY SPENCER ESSAYED (2003): Of angels and dirt

Sex fascinated Stanley Spencer. But so did angels, the transcendence of the spirit through faith, and life in his home village of Cookham where, as a child, he believed biblical events had... > Read more