It's obvious that Leonardo Pavkovic's MoonJune Records has a great belief in touch guitarist Markus Reuter. Because there are almost two albums released at the same time on which this musician is participating. Early 2023 saw the release of Kosmonautik Pilgrimage (see review) by Anchor & Burden, shortly after the release of Bleed by Reuter Motzer Grohowski. Both albums are music wise fishing from the same water pool. Meaning that they were both inspired by the music of Robert Fripp and King Crimson.
First, let me introduce the members of Reuter Motzer Grohowski, who released with Bleed their second album. Shapeshifters was the first album made by the trio, which saw the light of day in 2020. This album captured the first musical encounter between Markus Reuter, Tim Motzer and Kenny Grohowski, which took place at the ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn. Although Motzer and Reuter have been making music together since 2008, they that had not played with Grohowski before.
Drummer Kenny Grohowski has played on numerous albums by other artists, most of which are in the jazzy genre. He is a regular drummer for jazz avant-gardist John Zorn, a member of blackened death metal-jazz fusion group Imperial Triumphant, with metal-jazzers Kilter, and as a member of the improvisational quartet PAKT.
The stylistically versatile touch guitarist Tim Motzer has been a musician for about twenty years. He has already released nine soundscape-oriented solo albums and can be heard on around a hundred albums by his colleagues. Markus Reuter probably doesn't need to be introduced to anyone here. And is best known for his work with Stick Men.
Bleed is again an album release which isn't easy to digest for most lovers of progressive rock.
The two touch guitar players have created on this album a playground on which they can improvise all the way. Maybe on first hearing it all sounds the same and sometimes very chaotic. But if you go a little bit deeper into the music of this modern prog / post crimson power trio you will hear that they offer very convincing collective improvisations that seem to be based on perfect communication between two guitarists and a drummer. The collectively developed improvised music, is obviously one of the strengths of them.
The songs on this album are spontaneous compositions, the development process of which sometimes seems puzzling to those involved. The pieces often develop slowly out of a jazzy, ambient setting, only to mutate into downright apocalyptic crescendos after a few minutes. The touch guitars always in the spotlights. However there are also some parts added later where you can hear them playing on the Fender Rhodes piano, Mellotron and Hammond organ. They probably did this to make the arrangements a bit denser, more dramatic, more symphonic and above all giving the album more variety in sound.
On the eight compositions the two guitarists seem to alternate and complement each other in their contributions. Sometimes Motzer accompanies Reuter's solos as a bass guitarist, or in his capacity as an acoustic guitarist. Or we hear one guitarist who contributes a repetitive chords while the other completes the bass solos. But always with a jazzy drummer to keep the rhythm going. It doesn't mean that all songs are up tempo. No way. On for example Causatum and parts of Monolith the listener gets some time to take a breath and relax a little more. You could easily say that the apocalyptic post-crimson improvisations stand alongside the comparatively relaxed soundscapes passages.
All in all I can say that this second album made by this trio should excite all friends of collectively created, disciplined modern progressive rock improvisations. Above all recommended to those who are into the music which King Crimson made on album such as Thrak and The Construkction Of Light. But remember it's not the type of progressive rock which most lovers of the genre will enjoy. But you can always give it a try as I myself did to find out if it is your cup of tea!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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