In the beginning there was Mobile. Now, after three ECM studio recordings and a live double album with his other band Ronin, Swiss keyboardist and composer Nik Bärtsch presents a new album with his original all-acoustic group, here augmented on three pieces by a string quintet. Founded in 1997 Mobile is effectively the wellspring of Bärtsch’s ritualistic approach to music making, nourished by his concepts of reduction and repetition as well as his fascination with Japanese culture. Here textures from jazz, funk, new music, minimal as well as ritual and sacred music are organically interwoven. Bärtsch and his partners Kaspar Rast, Sha and Nicolas Stocker aim for an energetic total group sound rather than displays of soloistic virtuosity.
Behind Bärtsch’s original decision to step away from conventionally interacting ad-hoc ensembles was a wish to explore musical and social energies more deeply with a group based on the idea of continuity at multiple levels. This “musically-focused community”, as Bärtsch calls it, has played concerts of marathon durations – up to 36 hours – in which music, lighting and performance space design, video arts and swordsmanship have been brought together.
With Mobile Extended – the core band plus string players – Bärtsch presents chamber music aspects of his musical thought. Mobile’s music is organized in what Bärtsch calls ‘modules’ and it develops spirally. Its structures, based on the repetition of certain elements, may remind listeners of the pulse patterns in minimal music. But in contrast to ‘classic’ minimalist works by Riley, Reich or Glass, Bärtsch’s pieces are propelled through rhythm and beats rather than through floating pulsations.
Included : Sons of Kemet (22:30)
Nik Bärtsch, piano, comp.
Sha, bass clarinets, double bass clarinet
Kaspar Rast, drums, percussions
Nicolas Stocker, drums, percussions
Etienne Abelin, violin
Ola Sendecki, violin
David Schnee, viola
Solme Hong, cello
Ambrosius Huber, cello