Spin Marvel paint mountain-distant pictures, rangey aural landscapes emerging from as far as the ear can even hope to detect.
It’s worth stepping back for a minute to consider how far they have developed getting on for a decade on from their eponymous 2006 debut. In those days it was Martin France, the pater familias of the band, electronicist Terje Evensen, bass guitarist Tim Harries and the now (at least on this latest record) departed guitarist John Parricelli. There was no sign of Nils Petter Molvær back then. More droney, perhaps, or textural in those days, the sound got a little more industrial and certainly ambient four years later with NPM joining and providing a turning point on Spin Marvel 2, aka ‘The Reluctantly Politicised Mr James.’
Infolding dispenses with the services of Parricelli and adds in something of a cameo at the end from drummer Emre Ramazanoglu. Seeing the band live towards the end of 2013 with Tord Knudsen’s visuals an additional element for a Kings Place show with their ribbon-like flutters falling down a busy screen, saturated colours part of a tech-heavy prog iconography and that palpable sense of alienation never far away, it was pretty clear that their sound, similar to what’s turned out here, had moved away from the skittering house music feel of earlier material such as Politicised track ‘Black Dogs Company.’
Infolding, the dictionary meaning rendering this exotic coinage a “folding inwardly or toward one another” bears this shift out in the sense that this latest album is more intimate but at the same time full of intensity. Within this there are some gloriously stark balladic moments, for instance on ‘Tuesday’s Blues’ that are worth the price of purchase alone, the band adept at creating atmospheres that stick in the mind for ages.
The tunes are all band written whether the process of composition was achieved through free improvisation I’m not sure but very possibly in parts as there seems to be a lot of spontaneity within the flow of the album, a big part of its appeal. Terje Evensen’s programming and effects and the febrile drumming of France lie at the liquid heart of it all while NPM’s dark interjections and fragile tendernesses (on ‘Leap Second’ for instance) provide intimate moments to contrast with the enveloping firepower elsewhere. The bafflingly titled ‘Same Hand Swiss Double Pug’ has an incredible sonic effect at the beginning, resembling some sort of bizarre underwater snore. Ultimately on ‘Minus Two’ (the track Ramazanoglu joins on) the sense of alienation that is never far away from anything Spin Marvel touches is still a potent force – and thank goodness for that.
Released in February