If one considers the wealth of suggestions and manifestations informing his releases, Simon Thacker’s prolific versatility might theoretically introduce a risk of excessive fragmentation. In reality, that possibility does not exist; the Scottish guitarist and composer is the owner of a visionary kind of lucidity. In every aspect of his sonic idiom, Thacker gifts the audience with charming acoustic problems of practically immediate solution. We’re thrown into a context of near-hyperreality where intuition and comprehension merge into a single entity, the acquisition of fundamental data refracted all across the listening experience.
Ritmata is one of the various ensembles founded by Thacker to summarize what he calls his Tàradh, namely – in short – the foreknowledge related to the actual occurrence of an imagined or desired event. Comprising pianist Paul Harrison, double bassist Andrew Robb and drummer Stu Brown, the group is a refined example of the conceptual structure typifying the vast majority of Thacker’s output, at once imbued with tangible kinetic/rhythmic difficulties and transcendental poetry.
The compositions presented here (“written or reimagined”, as per the deus ex machina’s description) do not give chances to ennui; not that we had any doubts. Characterized by multifarious stylistic combinations endowed with vibrational momentum – just listen to those strings, woods and skins quivering under the players’ vigor in “Taijasa” – they will appeal to listeners interested in the evolution of guitar-based dialectics within a technically advanced ensemble. Picture a cross between an unplugged Mahavishnu and Oregon, and you’re about halfway through the understanding of the musicians’ cohesive empathy. And if you are not aware of Thacker’s talent on his instrument yet, look no further than the compendious virtuosity of “Consus”.
However, a clear sign of openness towards the incorporation of tradition is represented by “Muero Yo De Amor”, an ancient Sephardic tune rendered by Spanish cantaora Ángeles Toledano. In a sense, this piece represents the program’s watershed. Hearing words of love passionately intoned in the midst of a complex contrapuntal fabric synthesizes the multiplicity of intents defining Thacker’s attentive analysis of the extracorporeal currents in which he’s immersed. From them, the man’s art takes its necessary lifeblood and moves unpredictably as we keep tapping our foot in vain, looking for an impossibly odd-metered coordination. Always smiling inside, though.