On Llyrìa (ECM, 2010), there is less of the obvious groove that characterized the band's previous ECM recordings. The band sounds looser, though the music remains notated for the most part. In the past, if the band used rhythm to accomplish melodic functions, here the emphasis is more on melodic development; a greater lyricism pervades the compositions. The increased space in the structures allows more room for reed man Sha to assert his presence, though there is less of a role for the contrabass and more opportunity for the alto saxophone to color Bärtsch's Moduls." This greater emphasis on space and the resultant new sounds that occupy these spaces has much to do with Bärtsch's interest in architecture and dramaturgy the construction of spaces.
All About Jazz's Far East correspondent, Ian Patterson, spoke with Bärtsch about the gradual but inevitable evolution of Ronin over the years, and the seemingly disparate influencesmusical and otherwisethat inform the instantly recognizable work of this carefully considered composer and bandleader.
Check out Nik Bartsch: Rhythmically Dancing Around Fugato Fires at All About Jazz today!