Personnel: Nils Petter Molvær (trumpet); Martin France (drums); Terje Evensen (electronics).
Audio Mixer: Emre Ramazanoglu.
Photographer: Petulia Mattioli.
Infolding is the third full-length from electro-acoustic improv group Spin Marvel. Founded by veteran British jazz drummer Martin France (Loose Tubes) in 2005, the band has undergone various personnel changes on both recordings and in performance. This lineup retains original bassist Tim Harries, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, and live electronics mixing engineer Terje Evensen (the latter joined for 2010's The Reluctantly Politicised Mr James). Guitarist John Parricelli has moved on to pursue other interests. A fifth member is producer Emre Ramazanoglu, who also plays drums on one track. While there has been post-production mixing (and remixing), these are complete-take performances, improvised and recorded live in the studio. The beauty of a recording such as Infolding is that, while there is a discernible sound at work, predicting a direction from one moment -- let alone one track -- to the next is impossible, resulting in sometimes unsettling, often surprising music that dwells on the blasted frontiers where electric jazz, abstract electronica, and free improv blur under dark skies. While opener "Canonical" commences with a Jon Hassell-esque sense of polyrhythmic fragmented trumpet accented by kick drum, washed electronics, and a single-note rumbling bassline, it gradually unfolds into a wailing, post-free jazz vanguard squall driven by Harries' dubwise bassline. "Two Hill Town" enters as post-industrial glitch before it unwinds the tautness and tension and evolves toward a rumbling, melodic, midtempo droning groove with France adding breaks, rolling accents, and fills, equal parts Elvin Jones and Lenny White. The set's longest cut, "Same Hand Swiss Double Pug," revels in noisy ambience and angular abstraction, yet contains more than a hint of melodic balladry in its kinetic improvisation thanks to Molvaer, though its intensity eventually ratchets to the breaking point. While the elements Spin Marvel employ on Infolding are familiar enough to most listeners of electronic music or free jazz, the way they come together is unique; the sounds this band makes are alternately tense, brooding, explosive, meandering, and at times energetically convulsive, creating aural portraits from shades of gray and black. Don't expect to absorb it at once or even twice because even if this music was created in the moment, its complexities and subtleties deserve more than an instant visceral reaction. Infolding will handsomely reward any listener who will engage it on its own terms. ~ Thom Jurek