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Monday, September 21, 2020

Reuter Motzer Grohowski - Shapeshifters

Recorded last year at the Shapeshifter lab in New York on August 18th, Markus Reuter, Tim Motzer, and Kenny Grohowski participated in an experiment at the sonic laboratory. The premise for the three members who were at the venue last year was; what are the corporate results of three sonic shapeshifters, released from their own prisons? What they will do when they’re behaviors become observed? And how they will assume by creating their own transformation?

And the result is on this recording that becomes this suspenseful drama that the trio unfolds with Shapeshifters on the MoonJune label. Listening to this album, its almost as if you are a part of their experiment as the trio gets down to business by increasing the heat gage level as it gets more hotter for the members unleash the flaming fires they’re about to unleash.

The four tracks that are on the live recording showcases their sinister side. It goes beyond the electronic route and the jazzier sides as well. This is the future that they’re bringing to us at the labs in Brooklyn. There are certain moments where they created an alternate score for Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 classic Stalker and Rainer Weiner Fassbinder’s 1973 TV miniseries World on a Wire.

They’ve done their homework very well when it comes to writing a score for a film that is brought to life. It is a climbing effect in some sections where they would bring the audience to a standstill and not knowing where they will go next. And some of its catchy, but then it returns into the swamps of Louisiana where it becomes dark and very scary.

The reason for that is there are certain area in that location which are dangerous and the areas you do not want to go into. And they take you into those areas and warn you why it’s a place in Louisiana you want to avoid at times. This took me a while to delve into for a few weeks to go back and listen again and again with Shapeshifters. Understand that the trio’s unexpected challenges bring the listener into those hard, intense, and brutal areas right in front of your face. And if you think it’s a story filled with a Disney-story line with fairy dust sprinkle all over to fly with Peter Pan, think again.

Markus Reuter Oculus - Nothing is Sacred

Recorded last year at La Casa Murada in Spain on May 15th, Oculus is one of the most interesting projects that is like finding long lost hidden treasures that haven’t been opened for a long, long time. Released on the MoonJune label, Nothing is Sacred is a challenging release this year that will make your spine crawl. And to be allowed to feature Fabio Tentini, Asaf Sirkis, Robert Rich, David Cross, and Mark Wingfield, it shows that Oculus aren’t just a band, but a family.

Listening to Nothing is Sacred is like walking into an area of the Twin Peaks universe that has never been seen before. With its dissonance, increasing temperatures, and chambering echoes of gothic cathedrals, Reuter takes the listener into the unknown. Solve et Coagula (Ghost I) is a cross between Philip Glass and Andy Summers’ Behind my Camel from The Police’s Zenyatta Mondatta-era.

Fabio’s bass goes upwards as Wingfield and Reuter’s soundscapes take a deeper voyage into some of Schulze’s arrangements. The themes on here are darker, nightmarish, and very creepy. Sirkis’ drums sound like as if they’re locking the doors very tight inside the mental institutions so that the inmates won’t take over the asylum for a while until all hell will break loose.

Bubble Bubble Bubble Bath (Wink) gives Reuter go into this psychedelic trance as we hear film-noir mellotrons with vocalizing whispers while David’s violin adds the beat with Asaf’s heart-pounding bass drum. And once Wingfield follows Markus in hot pursuit, he follows him into those eerie rabbit holes with a morse code.

The Occult (Dice I) has Asaf’s click-clacking percussion effects to fill up the entire studio by channeling Nine Inch Nails meets Gong’s You-era. The bass section that Fabio does, channels two unsung bass masters; Mike Howlett and Paul Jackson from the Head Hunters-era of Herbie Hancock. With an echoing effect, it has this intensive drive between Markus, Fabio, and Mark driving 900 miles per hour.

Nothing is Sacred is one of a kind. It may not be everyone’s cup of Joe, but Reuter and Oculus take you into those areas that are surreal, mythical, and Lynch-like. But the twists and turns can keep you guessing to see what will happen next.

Markus Reuter - Sun Trance

 The genesis behind this incredible project came when Dennis Kuhn came across Markus Reuter’s work six years ago as he contacted him about collaborating with his ensemble team, the Mannheimer Schlagwerk. It was almost as if Don Corleone from The Godfather once said, “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

Dennis has been around since 1979. He founded the Basler Schlagzeugtrio in 1984 and joined the Deutsches Schlagzeugensemble (German Percussion Ensemble). He collaborated with two composers, Wolfgang Rihm and controversial figure, Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Sun Trance was written quickly for Reuter to compose after finishing up Daimon Fu a few months earlier. Recorded three years ago at Alte Feuerwache in Mannheim, Germany on May 23rd and released on the MoonJune label, distributed my Iapetus Media, Sun Trance gives you the front-row seat to unveil this incredible live recording that has been unfolded and finally brought to life.

You can feel this lullaby going into a deep, dark area from the dissonance that is like a pin dropping at any second. It’s like something straight out of two films; Spike Jonze’s 1999 classic, Being John Malkovich and Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. It has these mysterious edges towards the composition as if the ensemble has given audience members pieces of the puzzle set on to their tables.

And for them, they have to put the pieces together to see what happens next. The vibraphones that Ti-Hsien Lai and Dennis Kuhn are doing while the Glockenspiels between Luis Andres, Lukas Heckmann, and Chavarria Baez go into this dangerous maze that is very challenging.

It turns into a Goblin-sque approach that is deepish red and following into the Suspiria sessions that the ensemble challenge. Reuter’s instruments walk upwards on this spiral staircase by raising the temperatures up a notch. It has a walking dance in 4/4 with some shakers going in hot pursuit, and moody atmospheres to channel Jean Sibelius’ The Swan of Tuonela.

Sun Trance is a mesmerizing composition by Reuter and the Mannheimer Schlagwerk. It will keep you guessing until the very end. And for MoonJune, they’ve got something special, and it is the ultimate trip.