Monday, August 17, 2009

Baertsch's Fifth Ritual Groove

There's at least one thing to be said about the music of Nik Baertsch. He works within his own idea of what a funky minimalism can be, and every release (the first six, anyway) sticks to the program. That is not to say that there is a kind of stasis to all of it. Subtle developments take place and there is a gradual refinement and evolution happening through time.

Listen to his Ritual Groove Music No. 5: REA (2004) (Ronin Rhythm) and you'll hear his Ronin quartet ensemble augmented by three horns. Poly- and cross-rhythms are ever more prominent, which adds depth to the trance repetitions. The ensemble generally locks into a cross-groove, each instrument with a set part and sometimes one instrument floating on top to provide melodic contrast.

The key, more and more, is the rhythmic interest the ensemble generates. I favor this one a bit more than volume four, and like volumes 1-3 the most. We haven't gotten to volume six yet, though. Stay tuned.

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