“That a variety of moods are conjured so effectively speaks volumes about how both artists are in synch with their objectives, so clearly vested in the realization of their ideas, so highly attuned to their birthing of new musics that to accompany them on their magical mystery tour is an experience not soon forgotten.” – Darren Bergstein, DMG
“As layered, dense, and exciting this album is, it is equally patient and restful, a glorious tribute to space and sound.” – Lee Rice Epstein, The Free Jazz Collective
The electronics / woodwind duo celebrates its 15th year of existence with a new album, the first for 5 years. Material developed for concerts during the period since the group’s previous CD release feed into this new set of studio recordings. Transformed field recordings, electroacoustic abstraction and incisive beats are sculpted carefully to give this high contrast music a powerful drive. This new album adds some deep grooves to the characteristic minimalist abstraction of the group, and cutting through the resulting electronic soundscape, both Peréz and Archer play their front line horns with their characteristic angular melodic lines. The CD begins with a series of rhythm driven pieces before concluding with an extended suite Ornament Of Light, which explores the more spacious side of the duo as heard in live performance, and whenever the players explore the resonant space in which the music is played.
Martin Archer – sopranino, soprano & baritone saxophones, clarinet, flute, recorder, chimes, organ, electric piano, synths and software instruments.
Hervé Perez – field recordings, sound design, beats and keys programming, electronics, alto and soprano saxophones, shakuhachi.
The events—or, more accurately, nonevents—of these strangest of strange years seems perfectly intertwined in the agony and the ecstasy that is the new Inclusion Principle release. Multi-instrumentalists Martin Archer and Hervé Perez have produced a dichotomy of riches here, a many-headed beast ejecting its sonic effluvia across a landscape of cantilevered dimensions, ominous atmospheres vying with compromised ‘jazz’ tropes that instantly mutate as they appear. Both participant’s varied hornplay acts as analog sinew binding together their determined tunneling through an entire kaleidoscopic forest of digital glossolalia; to be emphatic about it, the album’s overall sound design is simply stunning, aural epiphanies writ large. The ten-minute opening salvo “A Dark Night Ahead of Us” sets the tone, Perez’s alto wails resembling beacons searching for some semblance of normality as they flutter within the piece’s chromatic aviary, Archer’s soprano jostling for attention, juxtaposed against a jabberwocky of soft whispers, blurts and beats. Things take more abstract detours on the subsequent “Intermediate Space”, where the duo trade in the kind of clicks ’n’ cuts Mille Plateaux and Oval made a big deal of decades ago but Archer and Perez embrace with imaginative girth and obvious relish, a slice of cyberjungle fourth-worldism that posits a horde of extraterrestrial natives dancing on the heads of reflective pins. Space is assuredly the place on “Arising and Passing Away”, which engages in faux Tangerine Dream escapades put through the 21st-century laptop ringer, moog bass susurrations marking their territory across a shifting synthetic tundra while flocks of seagulls murmur. All of this seems but prelude to the album’s near-indescribable half-hour-plus conclusion, “Ornament of Light”, Archer and Perez letting their freak flag fly. On this three-part suite, electronic motifs of unnatural origin shiver and shake; planets align and are then thrown off their axes; foghorn calls prowl the event horizon before succumbing in a vacuum of corrosive squelch; timbres like synthetic mercury dribble out of the speaker fabric in anthropomorphic glee. Forbidding, fascinating, this work’s viselike grip on your sensibility is achieved with the first gut-punch exposure, to be finally rubber-stamped on memory when you hit ‘repeat’. That a variety of moods are conjured so effectively speaks volumes about how both artists are in synch with their objectives, so clearly vested in the realization of their ideas, so highly attuned to their birthing of new musics that to accompany them on their magical mystery tour is an experience not soon forgotten. – Darren Bergstein, DMG
A lengthy three-part suite ‘Ornament of Light’, which explores the “resonant space” is the pinnacle of the album and is characteristic of the pair’s live performance. The drone and beats with a suggestion of melody by the sax on parts one leads to a demonstrative passage as the ‘jazz’ emerges from the electronica; similarly on the 20 minute second part, where glitchy beats accompany echoing organ and sustained sax; there is flute to come, and again the last few minutes are climactic, as the entwining beats and saxes perform a weird ‘dance’; the denouement is more trancelike. I really enjoyed the contrast between the tranquil beats, bird call and other ‘found sounds’ and atmospheric shimmering synths with eruptions of motile sax and also the suspenseful quality of the music. ‘The 4, The 8, The 10’ is an accomplished, meditative listening experience. – Phil Jackson, ACID DRAGON
Martin Archer must have been busy over lockdown. Not only was he keeping an eye on the running of Discus, but he had time to be involved in a multitude of collaborative releases, two of which have dropped almost simultaneously and show two very different sides to his not inconsiderable capabilities. After five years without a recording, he, along with sound sculptor and woodwind player Hervé Perez, has chosen to reignite their Inclusion Principle duo on disc. Both players’ love of woodwind and also of electronic experimentation finds them merging the two for some highly unexpected results. Using material that they had originally developed for live concerts, they have turned them into a set of sprawling soundscapes that evoke images both familiar and unfamiliar, often leading us on solitary journeys that open our ears and eyes on The 4, The 8, The 10. It is a lonely wail of an intro that opens the album and finds the two horn players turning easy circles around one another. The different tones make for a soothing but excited dance. There is a sultry air that is aided by snatches of birdsong. The bluff electronics and scuffling skips hold a beat, while the horns soar and skitter in the breeze. It is an interesting combo, with the insistence of the scuffed beats holding to the earth and pushing the horns on to further acrobatics in the air. The sopranino is as high as a kite at times, a lonely scream. There is a variance across the pieces here of how much the horns are used. The IDM vibe of “Intermediate Space”, with its typewriter key tones, is like a duet for electronic tinkering. I can imagine the two of them trying to see what sits with what and how much they can push the boundaries. The horns are just snippets, reminders of another era, embellishing the staccato pulses and revelling in one another’s company. Martin and Hervé seem to be searching for drama and intrigue amongst the space and quiet interludes of “Arising And Passing Away”, where the pace is slowed considerably and the sparse glimmer of stars is shaken up by a barrage of harshness; a juxtaposition that you really feel and which takes you into the almost hornless supernatural rustle of “Gentle Persuasion” with its static, space, silence and an aura of mysterious activity. This goes way beyond the preceding pieces, reductive to a point of abstract soundscape. It is like a half-glimpsed territory, with tension in the barely registered sounds; but it moves with an uncanny grace like a heat-seeking predator. Here though, the shakahuchi does lend an Eastern feel to he drama. The industrial beat and wild woodwind of “Object Of Refutation” has vocals that bring to mind a native ceremony glimpsed from afar, but later almost verges on bop territory, such is the ground that these two cover. The final section is a suite of pieces that stand like a portal between two worlds, its slow build and stately beats harbouring feedback and long notes that sound edgy and strange. The electronics duel like gunfighters in a narrow mountain pass with ricochets galore. It is noticeably more hectic, but leads into a kind of limbo with sparse hints of memory. Behind every sinuous horn there is a jostling, glitchy, uneven beat. Somehow it works, rolling from one cold to one warm scene, always awaiting fresh input, be it repetitive echoes, time warps or unfamiliar motif stretches. It moves into a shadow of the past, the subterranean beat resounding through a ghostly world; and then pulses to a standstill, leaving you breathless that so much has happened. – Mr Olivetti, FREQ http://freq.org.uk/
This duet has history; they’ve worked together on other projects but the two person Inclusion Principle is nonetheless a rarity. The album is as titled, ‘inclusive’. Both Mr Archer and Mr Perez play soprano saxophones. Martin Archer has other horns too, plus his keyboards and software. Hervé Perez contributes alto sax and shakuhachi (Japanese wooden flute) along with programming/electro beats. It matters not who is responsible for what. I set aside my usual practice of focusing on individuals; just let the sound coalesce in my head. Although the 4, the 8, the 10 is divided up into tracks; hear it as a whole. The opening three minutes is a mesmeriser. Two horns perfectly attuned to each other in every sense. So much so it took me a little while to get beyond those first three minutes; constantly switching back to the beginning before being willing to give them up. They’re a slow, sensuous prelude and delivered like a balancing act. Eventually I took the journey. Through beats and bird song, spindly drones held like hums; there are places on this audio that are almost visual. (I’d recommend listening to it in the dark. If audio could give off light this is surely an example.) At around twenty-seven minutes the soundscape opens up to ‘treated’ ambient percussion. Within the sparse cover art there’s a short quote from a Sarva Buddhist text: “Space has no abode… you are free of any point of reference.” A parallel translation could be “free of description”. This approach would mitigate written review. The idea being, if our ears take to this album without reference or description the more likely we are to hear what’s being offered. At the risk of sidestepping such suggestions, the final Ornament of Light section, spreading out over thirty-eight minutes, is for me the clincher. It feels as if it offers up resolution and in the few unplugged moments Archer and Perez arrive in focus. It’s like seeing (hearing) deep sea divers surfacing in real time. A fascinating album. – Steve Day, July 2021
With “the 4, the 8, the 10”, Inclusion Principle, the duo of Martin Archer and Hervé Perez, present their fourth CD (in addition, there are three live recordings only available for download). Five years have passed since the release of “Third Opening”. From various composition ideas developed for concerts, the pieces to be heard here were created, which were then recorded in the first half of 2021 in Sheffield in Perez’s recording studio. The drummer Peter Fairclough, who was still involved in the predecessor “Third Opening”, is not to be heard here. Nevertheless, there are various very rhythmic sections, generated by all sorts of pulsating electronic sounds and programmed percussion. Otherwise, electronic sounds, recordings of natural sounds (field recordings), rarely also world music-colored vocal performances (you can hear the beginning of “Object of Refutation”), multi-layered with acoustic instrumental tones (blowers usually – quite a lot of sax, but also clarinet and various flutes) are mixed here. The music therefore sounds sometimes like electric jazz, sometimes like classical electronics, sometimes (mostly) like free sound tinkering and sound painting, somewhere in the border area of ambient and experiment. In contrast to the predecessor, the more rhythmic or pulsating numbers can be found at the beginning of the collection (which also contain various sections of freer floating), before spherical-experimental sound paintings are created in the second half of the album, i.e. in the long suite “Ornaments of Light”. The same is an impressive, very colorful and densely gliding sound structure, an extended dialogue of the two sound hobbyists, sometimes freely swirling, sometimes mysteriously whispering, sometimes playfully bubbling, sometimes dynamically weighing or jazzing. “the 4, the 8, the 10” (I have no idea what the title wants to tell us exactly – it’s at least the fourth studio album of the project and there are eight tracks on it) is another excellent work by Discus Music for friends of progressive music making. If you appreciate electronic and jazzy woodwind sounds in a sound-painting-free-format context (and need supplies), you can continue to access them here without hesitation. – Achim Beiling, BABYBLAUE SEITEN http://www.babyblaue-seiten.de/
Sometimes it might be easier to provide a list of instruments that Martin Archer is not playing on a recording, so broad are his musical abilities. And this breadth extends to his imagination of how music can operate, how it can inspire its listeners and how it can create visions of places and events. The cover art for this album, on mist-wrapped trees which are gradually emerging is perfect for the ways in which Archer and Perez develop the pieces here – and, of course, I mean develop as a photographic metaphor of the ways in which an image gradually forms when the prepared sheet in placed in its bath of chemicals. There is so creativity in the management of sounds on this recording that it can be easy to miss the ‘background’ and focus on the instruments duelling in the ‘foreground’. But this is, I think, to miss both the process of the music’s creation and the ways in which these fine musicians work. The ‘background’ is the structure of the piece. The texture of the sounds and the ways in which they merge and split creates the rhythmic, harmonic and emotional core. To this, Archer’s saxophones and other instruments respond; often provoking disturbances to and shifts in the musical texture. Musically, there are traditions of musique concrete and very early (experimental) synthesizer, but also clear evocations of the free jazz scene in which Archer has played so vital a role. For example, on ‘Intermediate Space’, track 2, layered saxophones play a repeating theme that leads in and out of the busy solo saxophone, all the while electronic beats and bass pulse and ticker to create a groove. It is the mixing of genres and styles which gives the set is unique flavour and the duo do this as readily and easily as they mix and remix sounds. Each musician finds ways to sculpt sounds that become incorporated into your own thoughts and imaginings, pulling you into their soundscapes in ways that will you to become an active participant; although the pieces have elements which have an ‘ambient’ quality that could wash over you, they take pains to introduce unexpected, startling, disturbing changes that jolt you back to attentiveness. You’d expect really good art to be provocative and to stimulate a response – and this set certainly does that.Having played together for the best part of a decade, Archer and Perez have a well-developed knack for finding mutually intriguing sounds to introduce their creations. Often the introductions, while spontaneous, have the sense of a conversation which, while it might combine different points of view, is being conducted between two friends. – Chris Baber, JAZZ VIEWS https://www.jazzviews.net/
Inclusion Principle is a duo of Martin Archer and Hervé Perez. They started performing in 2006 and have released several CDs so far. Live recordings are available on their own Bandcamp site. Their project is dedicated to combining electronics and electro-acoustic music, jazz and improvisation. This new recording appears after a five-year silence and has Archer playing sopranino, soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, flute, recorder, chimes, organ, electric piano, synths, software instruments. Hervé is responsible for field recordings, sound design, beat, keys programming. With this broad set of acoustic and electronic instruments, they combine improvisation with ambient and sound-based textures, resulting in an album of eight tracks. The first five titles all have rhythm or pulse driven episodes combined with free-floating textures and solo or duo improvising on saxophone. Opening track ‘A Dark Night Ahead of Us’ opens with sensitive saxophone-playing by Archer and Perez, accompanied by sparse field recordings of bird calls etc. Halfway, an electronic rhythmic structure is introduced that intensifies the piece. ‘Intermediate Space’ starts as an open spacy soundscape with sparse rhythm-induced sections. In the second part, saxophones add a melodic element that completes the picture. The last three tracks make up one work: ‘Ornament of Light’. The second part I liked most. It has Archer playing the flute, calling from a distance in a thin and spacious ambient ambience. Near the end, things change into a hectic and dynamic rhythm-based finale. Personally, I’m always a bit ambiguous about projects like these, that are about combining ambient with improvisation. Often they lead to organically and comfortable sounding exercises that do not harm nor bring excitement. In this case, however, one can trace the spirit of exploration. Two experienced musicians who seek to connect different languages, leading up to an album with very worthwhile moments. – Dolf Mulder VITAL WEEKLY
Inclusion Principle’s fifth collaborative album by Sheffield, UK-based reeds and software experts Martin Archer and Hervé Perez proves what accomplished sound designers the two have become during the duo’s 15 year existence. Adding percussion samples to the mix, the two manipulate and program multiple instrument and voltages for spacious or packed improvised instances. There’s story-telling on The 4, the 8, the 10. Yet with Archer commanding timbres from 11 instruments and Perez ones from eight, these sonic fabrics can be stretched many ways during the CD’s eight tracks. Despite a few tremors that seem unable to shake off their programmed genesis, the duo allows the initial tracks to evolve intertwined interactions built on tremolo reed trills sliding against drum-like smacks, keyboard vibrations and guitar-like twangs. There’s even a sequence on “Object of Refutation” where a swing interlude is heard built up from organ-like tremors, flowing reed puffs and drum slaps. At the same time despite programmed swills and jitters constantly hanging in the background, maximal currents never bury minimalist evolution. The spacious three-part “Ornament of Light” suite is the main focus though, with more than 20 of the sequence’s 37 minutes taken up by its mid-section “In Praise of Dependent Origination”. Its shape is foretold by the first section where a lonely saxophone cry works its way through on-and-off voltage pulsation only to speed up in the final section to reed snorts that harmonize with burping programming. The final “Precious Garland” serves as summation and coda that synthesizes into dissolving polyphonic resonations previously heard buzzes, percussion thumps and reed cries. There’s also enough space on “Ornament of Light Pt 2 – In Praise of Dependent Origination” to build up a textural kaleidoscope of affiliated flatulent hiccups, tremolo keyboard sweeps, processed percussion and saxophone buzzes into a modulated exposition. After distant shakuhachi trills move to the foreground so too do high-pitched, electronic tweets and twitters, whose diverse expressions become squeakier and squeakier. This sets up “Ornament of Light Pt 3 – Precious Garland” that sums up and eases the program to its conclusion. While it has decimated live concerts and movement, the pandemic has let some sophisticated sound mixers intensify or evolve novel electro-acoustic improvisational-compositional creativity. Coming from alternate points of origin, these notable discs define what can be accomplished. — Ken Waxman http://www.jazzword.com/
With a foot planted more firmly in the Soft Machine, Weather Report, Return to Forever side of things, Martin Archer and Hervé Perez’s Inclusion Principle is a brilliant electroacoustic project going on more than 15 years. Their latest, the 4, the 8, the 10, is a beautifully languid album, with beats rising and falling throughout the buildup to the centerpiece: a 35-minute suite, “Ornament of Light.” Referring to jñānālokālaṃkāra (“The Ornament of the Light of Awareness”) a sūtra referenced in the album’s liner notes, the suite plays like a sonic translation of the concepts explored through the sūtra. The credits list sopranino, soprano, alto, and baritone saxophones, shakuhachi, clarinet, flute, recorder, chimes, organ, electric piano, synths, field recordings, sound design, beats and keys programming, electronics, and software instruments, plus samples of percussionist Walt Shaw. Perhaps most crucial to Inclusion Principle’s sound but unmentioned in the credits is silence. For as layered, dense, and exciting this album is, it is equally patient and restful, a glorious tribute to space and sound. – Lee Rice Epstein, The Free Jazz Collective – https://www.freejazzblog.org/
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