MARKUS REUTER — Markus Reuter, Mannheimer Schlagwerk ‎: Sun Trance (World Premiere Performance) (review)

MARKUS REUTER — Markus Reuter, Mannheimer Schlagwerk ‎: Sun Trance (World Premiere Performance) album cover Live album · 2017 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
js
Its funny how synchronistic events can be sometimes. I was halfway through reading Mark Prendergast’s informative book on minimalism and ambient music, “The Ambient Century”, when this excellent CD of contemporary minimal music arrived in the mail, Markus Reuter’s “Sun Trance”. For those not yet aware of Markus, he is an imaginative electric guitarist and sound sculptor known mostly for his work with ex-King Crimson alumni in The Stick Men, where he displays his affinity for innovative guitarists such as Robert Fripp, Terje Rypdal and Sonny Sharrock. “Sun Trance” is very much in the minimalist tradition with its repeating motifs and slowly unfolding structure, but thanks to some inventive compositional techniques and inspired playing this CD rises above the sameness that can sometimes mar more generic offerings in the minimal approach.

Reuter composed this piece for the Mannheimer Schlagwerk, an eleven person ensemble that uses a variety of tuned and non-tuned percussion, electronic instruments and a bass clarinet to produce interweaving melodies that Markus eventually begins to solo over. Fripp fans will recognize Reuter’s solo guitar sound as it bears a strong resemblance to Robert’s beautifully sustained tone on “The Heavenly Music Corporation”. The trick to good minimal and ambient music is not letting the use of repetition and slow movement become trite or boring. One clever technique that Markus uses is to occasionally supply complete breaks in the music so that the ensemble can return with a different set of melodic figures. Another helpful element is the drum beat, a very down tempo dub influenced part that is played with enough syncopation and shifting accents that it totally disguises the time signature and keeps things from being too predictable.
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