Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Markus Reuter — Truce 2
(Moonjune MJR120, 2022, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2022-09-26
Truce stands as one of the highlights of Markus Reuter’s solo career so far, so expectations are very high for the follow-up. While a mere continuation of the style heard on the previous album would have been perfectly acceptable — it’s good enough that more of the same would be just fine! — the trio of Reuter, bassist Fabio Trentini and drummer Asaf Sirkis found that when they came together after living through months of forced isolation brought on by the covid pandemic, they were not in the mood for carrying on as before. They felt the need to explore other sides of their musicianship, bringing in a different balance and different textures. The most apparent change is from Trentini, who exclusively played fretless bass on the first album. This time out, he brings a fretted instrument along, as well as an upright electric. A listener might not expect this to make a significant difference, and in some ways it doesn’t — Reuter and Sirkis are still the same virtuosic presence — but given how prominent the bass is in this lineup, the overall feeling is altered noticeably. You won’t hear much of those rubbery Mick Karn inflections that were so appealing before, but you will hear some really tasty and gritty playing on a fretted bass, often lending a more aggressive sound to the music where it appears. With the third of these seven tracks, the trio gives us a bit of a break from the onslaught with “Barren,” which starts out floating and ambient before delving into a slow rhythm that Sirkis interprets very loosely, closer to the jazzy style we’re used to from him. “Consolation” shows a somewhat different side of the band, with muted tom-tom flurries and shifting atmospheres backing a loose unison melody between Reuter’s Touch Guitar and Trentini’s fretless, though the two lines often separate for the bass to fill in other notes. The fretless here is reminiscent of the first album, and Reuter’s lead part is subjected to all sorts of strange sonic manipulation. The album moves into more introspective territory as it progresses — all the more aggressive tunes are at the beginning. The bottom line is that Truce 2 is every bit as compelling as Truce was, and contains a great balance of similarity and difference. It’s not a re-hash, and not just a continuation, but an excellent album in its own right.
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