Reuter is a member of multiple ongoing bands and projects (including centrozoon, Tuner, Stick Men, The Crimson ProjeKct and Europa String Choir). Most recently, he has begun to establish himself as a contemporary classical composer via the performance and recording of his large-scale orchestral piece Todmorden 513.
A specialist in touch guitar playing, Reuter became known as a leading player of the Warr Guitar and Chapman Stick during the 1990s and 2000s before developing and marketing his own U8 and U10 Touch Guitar instruments. In collaboration with former King Crimson member Trey Gunn, he runs the Touch Guitar Circle, a teaching and support network for touch guitar players.
As well as further collaborations with artists including Tim Bowness, Lee Fletcher, Ian Boddy and Robert Rich, Reuter has produced records by numerous musicians and released several solo recordings as both performer and composer. He is also part of an artist-owned production consortium which encompasses Iapetus Media, Unsung Productions and Unsung Records.
Most of Reuter's work to date has evolved from exploring touch-style instruments and sound processing. A technically skilled player, he performs using a variety of approaches from unprocessed sound and standard technique through to extreme processed textural sounds and drones. The majority of his solo releases have consisted of ambient textured music (with hidden processes) recorded using heavily-effected touch guitar and laptop. His more recent larger-scale composition Todmorden 513 mixes this approach with chamber music and has been expanded to an orchestral arrangement in subsequent versions.
In terms of composition, Reuter has shown a particular interest in process music, using rules-based algorithmic and serial compositional techniques. He has also worked with generative music (which informs both the harmonic designs of both Todmorden 513 and his work with the band Tuner) and follows various improvisational approaches. Recently, he has been referring to his overall musical approach as "Modus Novus".
As a performer, Reuter is best known for his work as an art rock musician (partly due to his involvement with multiple projects related to King Crimson) and as an experimental ambient player. A keen and flexible collaborator by inclination, Reuter's work with other projects has also involved elements of chamber music, jazz, folk and various pop styles depending on context.
Markus Reuter began training as a musician in 1975 at the age of three. Initially he studied as a pianist (tutored by Ulrich Pollmann) and later took up classical guitar and mandolin. During his childhood and early teens (up until the age of 16), he performed in concert both as a solo musician and as a member of ensembles and orchestras.
With Pollmann's aid and encouragement Reuter began composing in 1985 at the age of 11 or 12. He was inspired by a variety of influences - classic 1960s and 1970s pop music (The Beatles in particular), classical music (Bach and Messiaen), progressive rock (Mike Oldfield, David Torn, Robert Fripp and King Crimson) and contemporary crossover composers such as David Bedford. During his teens, Reuter studied music history, theory, and analysis with Karlheinz Straetmanns, a composer in the lineage of Harald Genzmer and Paul Hindemith.
In 1991, at the age of 18, Reuter began attending courses in Robert Fripp's Guitar Craft. Tutored by Tony Geballe (and by Fripp himself), he continued to study Guitar Craft until 1998, combining intensive music courses with explorations of the philosophy of George Gurdjieff and J.G. Bennett. Gurdjieff's work - in particular, the Sacred Dances - would have a profound effect on Reuter's own subsequent work.
By his own admission, Reuter was not a particularly disciplined musician in his teens, initially relying on his innate musical talent. His approach changed when he took up the Chapman Stick in early 1993, following discussions with Fripp and inspired by Reuter's own admiration for King Crimson's Stick player Tony Levin. Learning to play both the 10-string and 12-string models of the instrument required a disciplined approach to study and practice, which Reuter adopted and turned to his advantage. At around the same time, he began to develop a serious interest in textural loop music and started to experiment with a form of "instant composition" using a system of out-of-synch looping devices.
In 1993, Reuter began a six-year degree course in psychology at Universität Bielefeld. While at university, Reuter pursued further musical education. Between 1993 and 1996 he studied free improvisation with Gerd Lisken and became a member of Lisken’s Chaos Orchester Bielefeld. During 1995 he studied contemporary classical music with Belgian composer Daniel Schell: he also studied Indian music with Ashok Pathak and developed his existing interest in permutation-based compositional principles.
In 1996 (while still part-way through his degree course and his Guitar Craft studies) Reuter became a professional musician and performed his first complete concert of entirely self-written compositions. In the same year he joined three very different bands. The first of these was centrozoon (an improvised music project initiated by fine artist Bernhard Wöstheinrich). The second was the instrumental art rock/contemporary classical ensemble Europa String Choir. The third was the "ambient world jazz" trio String Unit (in which Reuter joined forces with acoustic guitarist Dagobert Böhm and violinist Zoltán Lantos). In all of these projects, Reuter initially played Chapman Stick before switching to 8-string Warr Guitar circa 1997. Over the next four years, Reuter would play occasional European and American concerts with both Europa String Choir and String Unit.
Reuter began releasing solo recordings in 1998, beginning with the Taster album and continuing through six subsequent albums up until his most recent solo release, 2011's Todmorden 513. In parallel to this he has released eight albums with centrozoon (plus a number of archive releases), two with Europa String Choir, five as an electrophonic duo with Ian Boddy and one with his String Unit collaborators, plus various other collaborations.
Since 2005, Reuter has been affiliated with several projects related to King Crimson. In 2005 Reuter joined King Crimson's drummer Pat Mastelotto in the band Tuner (who have released four albums to date). In 2010 he joined Mastelotto and Tony Levin as part of Stick Men (replacing Michael Bernier), releasing several albums since. In 2011, Stick Men united with the Adrian Belew Power Trio to form the six-piece Crimson ProjeKct and perform King Crimson material from the 1981 to 1995 period. In the latter two projects Reuter performs many musical parts originally played by Robert Fripp. He has sometimes been hailed as Fripp's potential successor, despite always downplaying and rejecting this idea when questioned about it.
In 2011 Reuter released a recording of the small-ensemble version of Todmorden 513, the first in what he intends to be an increasing number of large-scale contemporary classical works for orchestras and chamber ensembles.
Reuter views his ongoing work as an opportunity to educate himself through broad experience and experiment. His work with assorted bands and projects has covered electrophonic loop music, contemporary classical music, industrial music, progressive and art rock, world jazz, pop songs and pure improvisation. He has cited the challenges brought to him by long-term musical partners (such as Bernhard Wöstheinrich) as being a particular inspiration.
Since 2002, Markus Reuter has developed his work as a record producer for other artists, including Yoshi Hampl, UMA, Tovah, The Season Standard, Skin Diary, Lake Cisco, Chrysta Bell and The Redundant Rocker. He also served as producer for the Toyah Willcox-related project This Fragile Moment, for which he was also one of the main contributing musicians.
In 2006, Reuter set up three interrelated businesses with Fabio Trentini, Lee Fletcher, Eric Morris and Adrian Benavides. One of these was the media company Iapetus Media, the second was the artist-owned production company Unsung Productions, and the third was the affiliated record label Unsung Records (which would release much of Reuter's subsequent work).
Reuter began his work as a teacher in 1998, conducting touch guitar seminars in Spain, Belgium, and the USA. From this work he developed a set of systematic playing techniques and exercises called "The Family", inspired by Guitar Craft and by George Gurdjieff's work on physical movement (in particular, the Sacred Dances). "The Family" was launched as a formal method in 2007.
In collaboration with Trey Gunn, Reuter founded the Touch Guitar Circle in 2009, offering expert teaching of touch-guitar playing methods plus a support network for players.
Between 2002 and 2006 Reuter taught classes in "The Psychology of Creativity" at the University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany.
Despite making a name for himself as a leading player of the Chapman Stick and the Warr Guitar, Reuter eventually admitted to dissatisfaction with both instruments and decided to design his own variant on the touch-style guitar. He set up the company Touch Guitars in 2007, intending to apply his knowledge of touch-style playing techniques to the task of producing musical instruments entirely based in the tradition of guitar-building.
The first of these instruments, the U8 Deluxe Touch Guitar, was built by American luthier Ed Reynolds (who also acted as consultant for the project and built ten of the subsequent production models). The prototype was completed in June 2008 and soon became Reuter’s own instrument of choice. Touch Guitars currently manufacture three instruments – the U8 and U8 Deluxe Touch Guitar (both 8-string instruments) and the U10 Touch Guitar(a 10-string instrument with a split sound output). Several of Reuter’s students, including Alexander Dowerk and Erik Emil Eskildsen also play Touch Guitars and have released recordings of music made with the instrument.Taster (1998)
The Longest in Terms of Being (2001)
Older Than God (2003)
Todmorden 513 (2011)
Mundo Nuevo (2015)
Blast (2000 - remastered version with bonus track issued 2008)
Sun Lounge Debris (2001)
The Divine Beast EP (2001)
centrophil EP (2002)
The Cult of: Bibbiboo (2002)
The Scent of Crash and Burn EP (2003)
Never Trust the Way You Are (2005)
Angel Liquor (2006)
Never Trust the Things They Do (2006)
Vacuum Love (5-volume series, 2007)
Lemon Crash (2000)
Marching Ants (2004)
This Fragile Moment (2009)
Totem (2005, remaster 2008)
Face (due 2016)
Absalom EP (2011)
Power Play (2013)
Unleashed Live Improvs 2013 (2014)
Midori: Live In Tokyo (featuring David Cross) (2015)
Prog Noir (2016)
The Crimson ProjeKct - Official Bootleg Live 2012 (2012)
The Crimson ProjeKct - Live in Tokyo (3-volume series, 2013)
The Crimson ProjeKct - Live in Japan (InsideOut Records, 2014)
String Unit (2000)
Distant Rituals (1999)
Colour Division (2013)
Ceasing to Exist (2007)
Eleven Questions (2007)
Faith in Worthless Things (2012)
The Cracks Within - FiWT Remixes (remix mini-album, 2013)
Islands]] single (2013) - as "Fletcher|Fletcher|Reuter"
Dago, Sounds for a Blue Planet (2001 - credited as performer)
Tim Bowness, My Hotel Year (2004 - plays touch guitar on and co-wrote "The Me I Knew" and "I Once Loved You")
Kuha, Telekineettinen Testilaboratorio (2005 - plays touch guitar)
Star of Ash, The Thread (2008 - arranger, plays touch guitar)
Stefano Panunzi, "A Rose" (2009 - plays warr guitar)
Scott McGill, Percy Jones, Ritchie DeCarlo (2010 - plays touch guitar)
Star of Ash, Lakhesis (2010 - arranger, plays touch guitar)
Herd of Instinct (2011 - plays touch guitar and loops on "Anamnesis" and "Possession")
Pat Mastelotto & Tobias Ralph: ToPaRaMa (2014)
Show Of Exaggeration, Show Of Exaggeration (2003)
The Redundant Rocker, Collider (2005)
UMA,[ Civitas Soli (2008)
Tovah, Escapologist (2008 - producer/arranger)
The Season Standard, Squeeze Me Ahead Of Line (2008)
This Fragile Moment, This Fragile Moment (2009)
The Redundant Rocker, Heart (2009)
Yoshi Hampl, Water Dealer (2009)
Skin Diary, Skin Diary (2010)
Moonbound, Peak Of Eternal Light (2010 - co-producer)
Chrysta Bell, Strange Darling (unreleased)
Lake Cisco, Permanent Transient (2011)
Zweiton, Form (2012)
Adrian Benavides, Same Time Next Life (2012)
Specimen 13, Echosystem EP (2012)
Namgar, Dawn of the Foremothers' (2013)