Joining Reuter are the great David Cross, the fantastic Asaf Sirkis on drums, and Fabio Trentini on the fretless bass. Sitting in with them is another remarkable guitarist, Mark Wingfield and soundscape keyboardist Robert Rich.
Markus says, “This is insane music. I used a compositional system that basically disallowed the musicians to play intuitively. They had to follow rules which served to create really strange melodies and harmonies.” Markus went on to say that he wanted to create “something as fundamentally radical as Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.” He has achieved exactly that with the album recorded live in the studio at the 4th Annual MoonJune gathering at La Casa Murada in Catalunya, Spain.
This is the stuff of legend.
The album is comprised of five extended pieces (none less than 10 minutes), all written by Markus and performed exquisitely by his band of remarkables.
The album opens with the title track, Nothing is Sacred. With so many King Crimson alumnae in the group, comparisons are inevitable but Markus is not following Fripp’s well-trodden path. Still, it is safe to say that if you love King Crimson, Nothing is Sacred is going to own you.
This and the entire album requires multiple hearings in order to truly hear what each artist contributes. David Cross—one of my favorite musicians of all time—makes exemplary contributions on the violin. Trentini’s bass work is unmistakable and extraordinary. And Sirkis is Sirkis—unbelievable.
The Occult has those haunting and distinguished textures from Robert Rich and the whole track is full of unique and treasured hues and shades that stay with you. Then comes the guitar assault from Markus and Wingfield. These guys were going to leave it all on the field, as they say. The energy, the precision, the rhythms were everything we could expect or hope from Markus and the line-up.
Bubble Bubble Bubble Bath was a step back from the frenetic and into the imaginative ambience of sustained tones and extended passages. The constraint of tightly constructed compositional forms did not inhibit Oculus from contributing their own inimitable approaches to the music. Each personality can be heard in each instrument.
Solve Et Coagula is an ancient Alchemy maxim meaning “dissolve and coagulate.” It means that things have to be broken down before they can be built up, the process of turning darkness into light. That is exactly what you hear in this song. The song beautifully extends into the light. An Alchemical tone poem.
Bubble Bubble Bubble Song concludes the album. Each artist is spot on moves from tonal and ambient to energetic and concise. Cross paints an aurora borealis across the scape and Markus punctuates the narrative brilliantly.
Markus Reuter Oculus’s Nothing is Sacred is everything we have come to expect, respect, and admire from Markus Reuter. No idea is left unexplored, no question unanswered, in this brilliant album of shadow and light.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl