SWISS MIX

Zen-funksters Ronin perform with precision

The aquatic undercurrent of Nik Bärtsch and Ronin's most recent ECM album, Llyria, echoes the keyboardist-composer's description of his decade-old quintet's music: "It reminds me of a school of fish moving across a coral reef with lightning speed. Are the fish faster than thought?" Ronin's meticulously interwoven and unbelievably through-composed "modules," subtle jewels of pliant minimalism, suggest an answer in the affirmative. Saxophone (or bass clarinet), bass, drums, keyboard, and percussion feint and flicker with uncanny precision. Ronin plays its highly disciplined "ritual groove music" every Monday night at Bärtsch's Zurich club, and their Swiss-timepiece precision—which at times resembles an acoustic King Crimson on the q.t. or Steve Reich at a Zen retreat—is enlivened by ghostly improvised subtleties.
Tue., March 1, 6:30 p.m., 2011
 
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