Ronin Rhythm 2017
Taking roller-coaster in slo-mo to evoke day-glo, indefatigable guitarist rearranges his childhood dreams for adult audience.
Exploration of time and space in aural terms has always been Markus Reuter’s shtick, but you can only try and imagine how the cuts comprising this album sounded when he wrote them – a 14-year-old who played a conventional instrument then, not a Touch guitar the German artist would become a glorious proponent of years later. Brought into here and now to be dissected into modal modules and given to members of SONAR and electronics maven Tobias Reber, the numbers – and six tracks out of seven are numbered as they bear the same title, “Condition” – deftly, although unhurriedly defy the perceived quality of Markus’ music as immersive experience. Rather than welcoming you under the surface, Reuter’s compositions descend upon you as a shroud which could have been comfortable, were it not slightly disturbing. That’s where programmatic condition of “if… else” comes into play, offering deceptively limitless outcomes of each part’s temporal and spatial scope, yet feeding into an otherworldly kind of “carpe diem” – a motion lent to limbo.
Oddly enough, from initial momentum on, the record has a spank and a groove to it, but not a genuine development, albeit as is the case with the devil and the details, tiny splashes, tinny tinkling and intricate picking behind the rhythm propel the pieces towards an almost unbearable rapture. The result is quite corporeal, especially in “Condition II” – at 4:40, the shortest offering on display – where the melody gets fleshed out in layers’ overlap, stereo panorama and muscular six-string solos, and there’s a rough-cut sensation in “Condition III” where the flow feels delirious, The further the roll the stronger the sense of urgency: it’s “Falling For Ascension” in the album’s focus, after all, even when the pace is slowed down.
More surprising is the way “Condition VI” is opened to a quirky, sizzling dance, before the elegant leviathan-like “Unconditional” stumbles on to the scene in a solemn, progressive manner, its filigree, shifting textures enchanting and haunting. But you’ll hardly want to escape this soundscape when faced with silence, as there’s a feel of elevation and you go for it, thus realizing the record’s title. Wished into existence, it’s deeply sensual – and welcoming.