AMN Reviews: Markus Reuter – TRUCE 2 (2022; MoonJune Records)

Throw around the word “fusion” in music circles and you will receive varied reactions – from nodding approval to painful winces. Early efforts in this hybrid of jazz and rock (and sometimes blues or funk as well) include both landmark albums as well as examples of the excesses of the 1970s. The genre has remained alive through the modern day, much smaller and largely under the radar. Admittedly, I do not focus that much on modern fusion offshoots, but every so often an album comes across my speakers that perks me up. Markus Reuter’s TRUCE 2 is such a release.

Reuter has an interesting pedigree, from playing Chapman Stick and Warr Guitar in the circles of King Crimson alumni, to inventing his own variation thereof called the Touch Guitar, to more ambient and spacious collaborations with Robert Rich and Ian Boddy, to classical compositions. He puts these skills together across seven tracks of this album.

Teaming with bassist Fabio Trentini and drummer Asaf Sirkis, Reuter employs grinding riffs, tightly structured solos, and intricate rhythms. Both he and Trentini double on synthesizers of one form or another, often blurring their sounds between these and their primary instruments. Thus, there is a soundscape element to the album, often with Reuter or Trentini creating a layered background while the other improvises. Complementing this is Sirkis, who appears to be equally comfortable in numerous time signatures as well as with both premeditated and less deliberate pieces.

The result is an airy, propulsive, and technically astute album that will appeal to fans of modern progressive rock, instrumental metal, and yes, old-school fusion as well. Making progress and advancing the art in a well-trodden field can be difficult – Reuter and crew deserve kudos for making that happen. Well done.

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