MARKUS REUTER, Truce (MoonJune Records, 2020)
- Markus Reuter, Touch guitars, live looping
- Fabio Trentini, fretless bass, bass synthesizer
- Asaf Sirkis, drums
- The Truce
- Be Still My Brazen Heart
- Power Series
- Let Me Touch Your Batman
- Gossamer Things
There is nothing simple about working in an improvised context. More casual music fans don’t regard listening as being nearly important as playing. Sometimes, it’s even more so. That is the key to musical chemistry. With Truce, that is what Markus Reuter has captured here.
Recorded live in the studio, Reuter brilliantly uses his AU8 touch guitars to simultaneously create loops and play powerful lead lines. Playing just as powerfully beside him are bassist Fabio Trentini (whose fretless sound has never made more sense in a musical context) and drummer Asaf Sirkis, owner of some marvelous stutter-step grooves that make it easy to figure out why none other than Bill Bruford name-checks him as a favorite.
The band hits the ground running on “The Truce,” where Reuter channels just a bit of his inner Tony Levin while setting up a nasty little groove for the rest of the band to lay to waste. (Clearly, those Stick Men gigs are paying a high dividend.) But Reuter is no copycat. He makes the sound his own. The result is 12 minutes of brilliant thunder.
The band gives us a second to breathe during “Swoonage,” then pulls us right back into the deep end for “Bogeyman” and “Be Still My Brazen Heart.” This might be Reuter’s gig, but each member leads in his own way, making this a true collaboration. Without the push/pull, point/counterpoint nature everyone brings, the tunes would no doubt simply whither on the vine.
By the time we arrive at “Let Me Touch Your Batman” and “Gossamer Things,” it’s clear the trio is highly adept at making the highly complex sound quite simple, the mark of true professionals. Then you remember this music is improvised, and the sense of awe and wonder only increases.
Every musician dreams of being able to make it up on the fly with a couple of like-minded players. Few ever truly get there. This trio took the leap, and stuck the landing.
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