Mainly Abstract, Some Rhythms

Inclusion Principle
Third Opening

Inclusion Principle (Hervé Perez on technology and alto sax, Peter Fairclough on drums and percussion and Martin Archer on technology, electric piano, sopranino sax and clarinets) produce an audacious and intriguing blend of free music with more traditional/familiar jazz-derived forms presented over two discs. Fast-paced, and jam-packed, the music veers from one extreme to another, surprisingly even including elements from the more pop end of the musical spectrum, but in no way to its detriment. The second disc is by far the more accessible, while disc one, far from being “hair-shirt” improv (a term – possibly meaning “authentic beyond reproach” – favoured by Trevor Barre in his recent book Beyond Jazz) has almost an electric-era Miles Davis flavour.

The first piece on Disc A, the twelve minute ‘Factor Of Place’, has a quiet beginning and I like it already. Clicking and tapping. It is impossible to identify the source of these noises, and all the better for it. Great separation in the stereo field. If I had to think of a category for this music I’d start with Glitch-Fusion. Skilful juxtaposition of improvised and composed elements. Frantic rubbing of metal objects in the background. Voices mixed way down, possibly field recordings. Seagulls. All of a sudden it breaks into a martial rhythm with a smattering of monosynth and develops a strangely dubby feel. Distant ring modulators sparkle. Then there is melodic resolution courtesy of Martin Archer’s electric piano.

At only six minutes, the next track, ‘Calling From Afar’, features Japanese cymbals and bells manipulated by way of a sampler or software in a way that is vaguely reminiscent of A Monochrome In Warped Atmosphere by Euphonious Murmur Blend from the early 2000s. Find a copy of that if you can. Chanting. If you listen carefully, there’s a fair amount of construction going on here, in some form of digital sequencer but it retains a live feel, possibly due to the piano parts that feel their way in as the piece progresses. ‘Sixty Watt Midnight’, a short piece at a smidge over four minutes, has a vague empathy with Battles’ jazzier output. It has some great ensemble playing in its latter half, while on ‘One Door Opens’, the bells are back like a buffer between the explosions of jazz. Reichian. Towards the end it reminds me of Yello – not their poppiness, but more the sinister mood of their more cinematic material. This feel spreads over into the fifth track, ‘Temple Mining’. From an abstract beginning, Inclusion Principle forge a slow-burning noir classic.

At this point, Third Opening continues on to Disc B for the final three pieces. ‘Borderline Spiral’ starts with immediate drum breaks that sound like they should have come from a record from Ninja Tune or similar label. But then free sax detonates. A feeling that there are no holds barred now. Everything is placed well in the mix and there is excellent use of reverb – i.e. just enough to get the job done and no more. The penultimate track ‘The Overgrown Palace Of Your Mind’ slows the pace a little, while ‘Not Looking For Another Now’ is the longest piece at 23 minutes. It sounds like a recorded live-in-the-studio work-out. Augmented / informed by software manipulation for sure, but top drawer stuff. Overall, Third Opening is all about technology interfacing with three human beings seamlessly. It is hard to say where this is all edited together, I swear they even program stray drum beats in places, but the performances captured live in the studio are exemplary. Recommended.