Ronin Rhythm 2021
Little band from Zürich outline the reach of their horizons and add silver lining to black clouds out there.
Applying the “avant-garde” tag to this Swiss collective’s oeuvre would be a disservice to what they do, but calling it a “post-genre” as the ensemble prefer doesn’t describe it better. There’s no linear “before” or “after” in the trio’s music – it simply lies beyond any dimension the regular listener got used to, except for the implied endorsement by their executive producer Nik Bärtsch. The group’s sophomore album, “Loom” – the title hinting at both a tapestry and portent – is simultaneously a more condensed and a more expansive experience than 2018’s “Riot” because the four pieces offered here cover a wider emotional and cerebral territory.
Epic in scope and complex, the grandeur on display rarely seems obvious; instead, it’s slowly accumulating in one’s psyche to ultimately feel like a punch to the the solar plexus. As Nicolas Stocker’s drums begin to lay down a motorik groove of “Shipol” and are wrapped in Urs Müller’s guitar soundscapes, the drops of Raphael Loher’s prepared piano paint a pointillistic pattern – ever-shifting yet increasingly fleshed out, fierce yet stricken with creepily captivating effects that form a peripheral picture, dynamically intrepid yet remindful of a Latin dance. So the electronically minded “Transitoriness” may flow in a deceptively superficial way: once the licks of the piece’s ebb become less hectic and six-string vibes float up, the initial ripple will reveal a dark depth to set the mood for “Dry Soul” which the players refer to as “Coltrane doom-ballad” and let the cut’s funereal wail hit a riff-ruffled rock wall until the rhythm is solidified afresh.
That’s when the bells of “Folding Space” toll, welcoming a folk tune for the ivories to lend it a chamber solemnity, while percussion ushers in a trance-inducing stereo panorama and rolls it as a mirrorball only to deflate the delight and ignite the race from the start, infusing the drift with sinister splashes this time around. That’s where “Loom” must come alive – and request another spin.