Nik Bärtsch's Ronin - Llyrìa (2010)

'Llyria' is the third album from Nik Bartsch's Ronin and follows on from 'Stoa' and 'Holon', the ECM recordings that established the exciting young Swiss band on the international scene. Leader and pianist Nik Bartsch's "modular" pieces still define the context of the group's music but the committed input of the individual Ronin members has lifted the work to the next level, blurring the distinctions between composition, improvisation and interpretation.
The music has become more open, moving on from its early "Zen funk" and "ritual groove music" formulas. Reed player Sha shines brightly here, and lyrical melodic themes make themselves felt. But this is, Nik Bartsch suggests, more than its predecessors a drummer's record. Its beats are lovingly crafted by Kaspar Rast and percussionist Andi Pupato.
The new album is named for Llyria, the luminous, mysterious creatures that live in the ocean's depths, for Bartsch a metaphor for the music: "We keep casting our nets in the same waters - and sometimes we find forms that are completely surprising, even to us."
A 180-gram audiophile version of the album on a 2-LP set is scheduled for release in late October.
Personnel: Nik Bartsch (piano), Sha (bass clarinet, alto saxophone), Bjorn Meyer (bass), Kaspar Rast (drums), Andi Pupato (percussion)
Tracklist:
1. Modul 48
2. Modul 52
3. Modul 55
4. Modul 47
5. Modul 53
6. Modul 51
7. Modul 49_44