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Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile — Continuum (18.03.2016)

Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile — Continuum (18.03.2016)

   Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile — Continuum (March 18, 2016)
♠   “This music draws its energy from the tension between compositional precision and the self–circumvention of improvisation. From self–implied restriction stems freedom. Ecstasy through asceticism.”
♠   Minimalist to a fault, the Swiss keyboard player Nik Bärtsch has kept admirers waiting six years since his last studio album. Fans of his acoustic project, Mobile, have had their patience tested even further: its last outing was in 2003, with the handful of releases in between dominated by the rockier “zen–funk” ensemble Ronin. The funk is still here, however, even with a string quintet on three tunes.
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Album release: March 18, 2016
Record Label: ECM
Duration:     68:24    
Tracks:
1. MODUL 29_14     8:58
2. MODUL 12     9:02
3. MODUL 18     8:03
4. MODUL 5     8:32
5. MODUL 60     9:27
6. MODUL 4     5:26
7. MODUL 44     10:23
8. MODUL 8_11     8:33
FEATURED ARTISTS
°°   Nik Bärtsch   Piano
°°   Sha   Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet
°°   Kaspar Rast   Drums, Percussion
°°   Nicolas Stocker   Drums, Tuned Percussion
°°   Etienne Abelin   Violin
°°   Ola Sendecki   Violin
°°   David Schnee   Viola
°°   Solme Hong   Cello
°°   Ambrosius Huber   Cello
♠   After three studio albums — Stoa (2006), Holon (2008), and Lyria (2010) plus one live–double–CD (2012) — with his electric band RONIN Swiss keyboardist/composer Nik Bärtsch now presents a new album with his original group MOBILE (whose line–up overlaps with the current RONIN cast).
♠   MOBILE, originally founded in 1997 (and on the new album augmented on three tracks by a string quintet), is at the source of Bärtsch’s ritualistic approach to music making. This approach has been formed by his work with concepts of reduction and repetition as well as his fascination with Japanese culture. Here textures from jazz, funk, new music, minimal as well as ritual and sacral music are organically interwoven in the service of an energetic group sound. Continuum was recorded at Lugano’s RSI studio in March 2015 and produced by Manfred Eicher.
♠   Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch was born in 1971 in Zurich, where he still lives. He took piano and percussion lessons from the age of 8 and subsequently studied at the city’s Musikhochschule and university, simultaneously freelancing in diverse bands, “playing everything from fusion to free–funk, and all kinds of extroverted jazz”.
♠   As Bärtsch’s interest in composition grew and he immersed himself in the practices of John Cage and Morton Feldman, his attraction to live jazz waned: “I just didn’t see the sense of it any more, for me as an instrumentalist”. In 1997 he created an acoustic group, Mobile, which “develops integral musical concepts within a musical framework”.  Continuum, with an “extended” version of the Mobile ensemble is scheduled for Spring 2016 release on ECM.
♠   The band Ronin (named after the freelance warriors in Japanese history who served no master) was born in 2001 out of Bärtsch’s desire for a group that could also work in the clubs and “play with more power”. The pianist has described the band’s work as “Zen–funk” and “ritual groove”: “Our music is somewhere between jazz and modern composition, progressive pop, ritual music, groove music in general”. Writer Michel Mettler has characterised the group’s aesthetic as “creating the maximum effect by minimum means”: phrases and motives are repeated, combined and layered, creating shifting, complex rhythmic patterns which typically build slowly over time with overwhelming dramatic impact.
♠   Ronin has released three studio albums on ECM to date, Stoa (2006), Holon (2008) and Llyrìa (2010), as well as a double CD, Live (2012), which anthologises a suite of concert performances from their appearances around the world between 2009 and 2011, a collection which reveals its own inner logic and dramaturgy.
Label: https://www.ecmrecords.com/
Website: http://www.ronin-music.com/mobile/                                   © Nick Bärtsch's Ronin, concert in Haus der Kunst, 2012.
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Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile — Continuum (18.03.2016)

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