Holon: Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin

The most apt term, perhaps, for the music of Bärtsch’s quintet Ronin was offered by the pianist/composer himself: he described it as ‘Zen funk’. Bärtsch’s music possesses a combination of woven rhythmic patterns and funk for which they have been likened to Steve Reich and James Brown. Holon, the group’s second album for ECM, presents more of Bärtsch’s intriguing modular compositions. Each work develops wondrous layers of rhythm and melody which brood, evolve, and interweave to create rich, near-hypnotic grooves.