Markus Reuter has a reputation as a guitar shredding animal. He has been called a power trio kingpin, his artistry referred to as "fearless and ferocious." The cliche "not for the faint of heart" comes to mind on sets like Truce (Moonjune Records, 2020) and Shapeshifter (Moonjune Records, (2020). But he has a softer side, one that presents a music marinated in serenity and subtle beautyhis teaming with multi-instrumentalist (playing piano here) Gary Husband on the ethereally gorgeous Music Of Our Times (Moonjune Records, 2020), and now with Sun Trance.
Moving away from his customary small ensemble mode, Sun Trance features the Touch guitarist sharing the stage with Dennis Kuhn's eleven piece ensemble, Manheimer Schlagwerk, creating a "sort of trance-avant-garde-psychedelic sonic hybrid." The group is six percussionists, including a glockenspiel, two vibraphones, some shakers, in addition to a bass clarinet, a drum kit and a synthesizer, enveloping Reuter's understated guitar work. Much use is made of overlapping drone-scapes, resulting in a soundtrack for the dark and mysterious, and modern classical stylings.
The music is a thirty-seven-minute piece, with Reuter improvising inside the spooky precision atmospherics of the ensemble. And as laid back as the sound is, Reuter still finds a way to shred, albeit in a restrained yet still searing way. This isn't a Touch guitar in front of the band; rather, it is a well integrated concerto, electronically glowing and organically breathing at the same time.