NIK BÄRTSCH’S RONIN

Holon ECM

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - RAY COMISKEY

On the ev­i­dence of this, Ronin - Bärtsch (pi­ano), Sha (bass and con­tra­bass clar­inet/alto), Björn Meyer (bass gui­tar), Kas­par Rast (drums) and Andi Pu­pato (per­cus­sion) – has de­vel­oped into more than just a band with a hyp­notic groove. Its mu­sic, pulse-driven and com­pared, in­evitably, with Steve Re­ich’s min­i­mal­ism, now has a stronger, more or­ganic feel. The com­po­si­tions’ iden­ti­cal ti­tles, dif­fer­en­ti­ated only by num­ber, dis­cour­age judg­men­tal ex­pec­ta­tions, but the way the band treats them gives them a vi­brant sense of drama and growth. Rock and Mid­dle East­ern el­e­ments are in the mix, too, but ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing the “so­los”, is sub­sumed into the tight but evolv­ing – and pri­mar­ily rhyth­mic – group dy­namic. It’s epit­o­mised in the long­est and finest track, Mo­dul_17, whose sub­tle al­ter­na­tion of ten­sion and re­lease shows the band at its best. www.mu­s­ic­connec­tion.org.uk

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