Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nik Baertsch's Second: Groovy Minimalism Redux

Since I'll be looking at the first seven releases on Ronin Rhythm here and at my other site, I won't go into the background every time (see the first post on Baertsch from last month).

OK, so today we have a look at the 2006 release Randori which documents Ritual Groove Music No. 2 from 2002. It shows Baertsch moving solidly into a minimalist rock-funk with his small-to-mid-sized ensemble. There are polyrhythms, Headhunters-style grooves with the emphasis on trance, and a superficial resemblance to the Necks' repetition jams but more African inspired and with every instrument playing a well defined role in the total mix. In that way, they are quite apart from the Necks' approach. This is ritual mesmerization without expectations that anybody is going to play a "solo" exactly.

If you find those parameters attractive then I believe you will find excellent listening on Randori. Variety and contrast set off the various grooves and the ensemble churns out infectious, interestingly layered vamps like a well-oiled rock machine. It's not stuffy either. It's fun.

Oh and I should mention that the Ronin series can now be purchased for download as well as on CD.

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