277

Spin Marvel: Spin Marvel 2: The Reluctantly Politicised Mr James

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Spin Marvel: Spin Marvel 2: The Reluctantly Politicised Mr James It's elephant in the room time. Though no-one likes to mention it, experience shows that it's wise to approach any band led by a drummer with a degree of caution. Drummers are primarily involved with rhythm—a crucial component in music, but only one of several. Unless, like Art Blakey or Chico Hamilton, a drummer/bandleader has an empathetic composer/arranger to hand, the broader musical picture, including melody and harmonic structure, will inevitably suffer. Well, almost inevitably. But for every Paul Motian there are at least a dozen Billy Cobhams.

British drummer Martin France, leading his Anglo/Norwegian band Spin Marvel, is another exception to the rule. On Spin Marvel (Babel, 2007), and its follow-up, Spin Marvel 2: The Reluctantly Politicised Mr James, France has avoided direct engagement with melody and harmony and concentrated instead on what he does best, employing his band mates primarily as colorists or creators of atmosphere. The resulting music is rich enough to suggest melody and harmony without necessarily stating it explicitly.

Since his emergence as a member of Django Bates' Loose Tubes in the 1980s, France has acquired plenty of A-list collaborators he can call on for Spin Marvel. Both the band's albums feature guitarist John Parricelli, bassist Tim Harries and percussionist/electronicist Terje Evensen, and trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer is added to the lineup on The Reluctantly Politicised Mr James.

Molvaer, firmly featured in his ambient-musing comfort zone, adds a marginally greater degree of melody to Spin Marvel's sophomore album, but the major difference between it and its predecessor lies in France's approach to rhythm itself. Gone, largely, are the thick waves of groove which periodically anchored Spin Marvel. Instead, France has focused more on free- time and rhythmic displacement—still approaching his kit with powerhouse energy, but eschewing the certainties of motor rhythms. He's a more than adequately inventive improviser to carry this off, and throughout the album's 36-minute playing time he is quite spellbindingly compelling.

France has been keen to emphasize the collaborative nature of Spin Marvel. He says that during the three year gestation of The Reluctantly Politicised Mr James, the mixes passed through the hands of all the musicians, in some cases several times. With a lineup of this stature, that's to be expected. But the considerable success of the album is very largely down to his own playing.

Track Listing: The Reluctantly Politicised Mr James; Basildon Gangster Ghost; Black Dog Company; Reconciled Rotation; Trilling Scars; Two Metalled Tendril/Ten Stairs Stretching Before; Dust In Eyebeam.

Personnel: Martin France: drums; Nils Petter Molvaer: trumpet; John Parricelli: guitar; Tim Harries: bass; Terje Evensen: percussion, sound-audio editor.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Edition Records | Style: Electronica


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Rehab Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Rehab Reunion
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "From Two Balconies" CD/LP/Track Review From Two Balconies
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Sanjay Divecha and Secret" CD/LP/Track Review Sanjay Divecha and Secret
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "East West Time Line" CD/LP/Track Review East West Time Line
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Jassemblage" CD/LP/Track Review Jassemblage
by Chuck Koton
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!