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Markus Reuter with Mannheimer Schlagwerk — Sun Trance
(Moonjune MJR104, 2020, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-11-11

Sun Trance Cover art

Reuter is certainly one busy guy; in 2020 he already has eight releases, between solo albums and various groups and collaborations, and that’s not even counting those where he’s guesting. Among those, Sun Trance is a very different animal, a live collaboration with vibraphonist Dennis Kuhn and his group Mannheimer Schlagwerk recorded in May 2017 in Mannheim. It’s one long 36-minute piece composed by Reuter especially for the group which features eleven players, not counting Reuter. The piece opens gently with Kuhn and second vibraphonist Ti-Hsien Lai along with Luis Andrés Chavarria Báez and Lukas Heckmann on glockenspiel, creating gentle trance-like patterns of percussive color that soothe the spirit, gongs and bells like a softer, slower version of central Javanese gamelan, while synthesizer (played by Hye-Rim Ma) creates a warm textural backdrop to the proceedings. Around the six minute mark there is a dark pause, after which the drum kit and electric bass enter along with Reuter’s touch guitar, and the piece continues to build with additional percussion, though still maintaining the pace set at the beginning of the piece, with the synth in the background sounding ever more like a choir. At roughly twelve minutes in, the drums and bass go away for a period while the bells and vibraphones continue gently moving forward, eventually joined by electric guitar, then all of the instruments re-enter while the Reuter offers a rich Frippian lead that slowly grows out of the background and dominates much of the piece from that point forward, although there are some breaks where vibes and bells come back to the fore with minimal accompaniment, as well as points where the key seems to shift. In all, this ambient piece makes for a relaxing experience of gradual and subtle changes.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Markus Reuter

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