Nik Bärtsch: Entendre (ECM/digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Nik Bärtsch: Entendre (ECM/digital outlets)
Swiss pianist Nik Bärtsch has passed our way previously with his electric group Ronin whose Llyria album was in our best of Elsewhere list in 2010.

And three years later we wrote equally approvingly (although conceding they were a difficult proposition) about the Ronin live album.

As we mentioned previously, coming to an album on ECM has often meant anticipating a frosty austerity.

But Bärtsch is a more assertive player who paints in bold strokes with on often stentorian left-hand repetition grounding his compositions.

He is also a conceptualist and five of these six pieces are under numerical variants of the title Modul (module) and these are his solo re-thinking of pieces which he explored with Ronin or his acoustic group Mobile.

This allows for not just his abrupt time shifts and muscularity to be even more engaging and revealed, but – as in Modul 26 – some space and delicacy in its minimalist right and left hand repetitions which recall Philip Glass and Terry Riley. It is a hypnotic 13 minutes.

Not everything is quite so engaging and Modul 5 with its insistent single note punched rapidly for a few minutes might test patience even though the piece explodes into the final, swirling seven minutes as a natural consequence of the percussive quality and harmonics explored.

Bärtch is never an easy proposition and there are places here where he offers a challenge, but if you are up for it then Entendre – especially of you start with Modul 5 – is a remarkable solo outing worth exploring.

.

You can hear this album at Spotify here.



Share It

Your Comments

Ross Waldron - May 3, 2021

It’s Bartsch. Not ‘Bartch’ as you write it. GRAHAM REPLIES: Thank you and the correction has been made.

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

WAYNE SHORTER ON THE FRONTLINE AGAIN: The Grammy-magnet

WAYNE SHORTER ON THE FRONTLINE AGAIN: The Grammy-magnet

When my eldest son bought a one-way ticket to London and packed his bag, he brought over three boxes of vinyl for me to store. Over the weeks I picked my way through this eclectic treasure trove... > Read more

Wojtek Mazolewski Quartet: Polka, Deluxe Edition (Whirlwind/Southbound)

Wojtek Mazolewski Quartet: Polka, Deluxe Edition (Whirlwind/Southbound)

Some clarification in anticipation of an immediate turn-off. This is not an album of polka music. Perhaps the heavily tattooed hands of young Polish bassist and bandleader Mazolewski might have... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE ROLLING STONES REVIEWED, NOV 22, 2014: It's all over now

THE ROLLING STONES REVIEWED, NOV 22, 2014: It's all over now

So this is the end. The final concert on the Rolling Stones 14 on Fire tour. And there are no other tours scheduled. They won't go on the road again, and we can dismiss Keith... > Read more

THE BEATLES AS COMIC AND CARTOON CHARACTERS (2020): The greatest story ever sold, and sold again . . .

THE BEATLES AS COMIC AND CARTOON CHARACTERS (2020): The greatest story ever sold, and sold again . . .

From the moment they first appeared, the Beatles' look was so distinctive that it only took a few scribbles of a black pencil and you had the makings of a mop-top hairstyle. Often not much more... > Read more