7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Live (Audio CD)
I have seen Nik Bartsch's group Ronin live several times in London over the last few years, and wasn't too bothered about acquiring this live CD set. Don't get me wrong, they are fantastic to see/hear live - but I never really got the sense that the music was much different to what was on record. The concerts were incredible considering how complex the music is (or appears!). I have all of their CD releases (including all of the Ronin Rhythms CDs) apart from the first live one they did.
So this purchase is in fact the first live one I have bought. I listened to the first 2 tracks on the way to work this morning... and oh my goodness... it is incredible!
Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention when I saw them live all of those times, as I have forgotten how spontaneous the group is in concert mode. There is so much more interplay, improvising and organic progression than I ever realised before. Take the intro to the first Modul on this CD set for instance (Modul 41_17). This sort of thing just isn't captured on the original studio recording, and it is beautiful and fitting.
The second track is probably my favourite Modul - Modul_35. The with the triangle hitting a 6/4 pattern for a while before the whole group come in with a repeating, hypnotic motif in a completely meter and rhythm (with the triangle still hitting the same 6/4 pattern in the background). Even this Modul sounds so much different (if not better) on this live recording. The bass player (Bjorn Meyer) seems to be doing something different. Also, the breakdown after the motifs (which keep changing keys) is a definite improvement to the original (on the album STOA), which I always thought was a little anticlimactic!?
Come to think of it, I've never really been a fan of live albums in general. But this CD set has completely changed my mind. I would go as far to say that if one were looking for to obtain just one Nik Bartsch album, then this must surely be it - for the sheer variety of the Moduls and the well-captured live atmosphere. It's probably the closest thing to a 'Best Of' you will ever find from this group.
The recording quality is excellent as always. I look forward to hearing the rest of it on the way home from work this evening. I also hope to see them return to London again shortly. It's been too long.
**UPDATE**: Ditto for the rest of the album!