(Tonus-Music)

Nik Bärtsch is a Swiss keyboardist/composer, this record being my very first meeting with his work. Leading the Ronin quartet – Bjorn Meyer on bass, Kaspar Rast on drums and udu, Andy Pupato on shaker and India bells – Bärtsch calls his geometric scores “ritual groove music”, where every track is defined “modulus”. For sure, the main character of this ensemble is their mastery of polyrhythmics; almost every piece starts with a looping (but really played) bass or drum/percussion pattern, then slowly but inevitably every musician follows his own path, creating a simple but extremely effective cross of jazz rock and minimalism. Then Nik adds his touches of piano, DX7 and Rhodes, just like a painter would lay some finishing touches to an already working picture. The grand total brings a result that I found lively, aesthetically pleasing and pretty innovative. Stay tuned on these guys.

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