ECSTASY THROUGH ASCETICISM
Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin is the Zen-Funk band on the prestigious ECM Record label. Nik Bärtsch’s Ronins incorporate elements of disparate musical worlds, be they funk, new classical music or repetetive sounds from Japanese ritual music.
“Bärtsch may have just made the first post-Ecstasy jazz record. His self-styled ‘zen funk’ mixes Steve Reich’s repetitive minimalism with gently chugging James Brown grooves“ Time Out (UK)
“Twangs as Japanese blades, Bärtsch’s precision keeps you wide awake“ Süddeutsche Zeitung (D)
Nik Bärtschs own trademark sound, the RITUAL GROOVE MUSIC, points out to the fundamental concept of his musical thinking. The music shows a close affinity to architecturally organized space and is governed by the principles of repetition and reduction as well as by interlocking rhythms. A piece of music can be entered, inhabited like a room. It moves forward and transforms through obsessive circular movements, superimposition of different meters and micro-interplay. The listeners attention is directed toward minimal variations and phrasing.
The band Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin becomes an integral organism – like an animal, a habitat, an urban space. One must think with ears and hands.
Nik Bärtsch piano, Fender Rhodes, composition
Sha altosax, bass clarinet
Kaspar Rast drums
Thomy Jordi bass
Daniel Eaton light
NEW MATERIAL OF 2018 ALBUM “AWASE”
Nik Bartsch Ronin in Jarasum Korea 2016
What the critics are saying…
The Wall Street Journal has chosen RONIN’s live show as one of the six best live shows in 2011 (together with Björk, Radiohead, Patti Smith, Feist and Anna Calvi).
“Citing James Brown as well as Kurosawa, Bärtsch’s “Zen-funk” is minimalism that doesn’t risk inscrutability by sticking too long in one groove. Built from repeating piano figures with clarinet, bass, and a double dose of percussion for spring works, these “modules” improvise not note by note but section by unexpected section.”
Tom Hull, Village Voice (USA)
“Cool modules instead of true songs, polyrhythmic funk that is hypnotically tenacious.” Rolling Stone (Germany)
“Bärtsch’s mysterious music will be around for a lot longer than the quick fix that majority taste seems to clamour for.” Stuart Nicholson, The Observer (UK)
“What he’s come up with amounts to a whole new musical concept. Bärtsch’s mysterious music will be around for a lot longer than the quick fix that majority taste seems to clamour for.” Stuart Nicholson, The Observer (UK)
“Part Zen poetry, part club-culture groove, the nearhour of the ultra-disciplined, East-West synthesis of intelligence and passion that is Stoa could just take the world by storm.“ Michael Tucker, Amazon (UK)
photo copyright Jonas Holthaus 2017