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Review of Future Inns gig

The audience was spaced out around the room and the band was spread across the stage, each performer in their own small island of electronics. The music, with its open and uncluttered process of ambience, reflected this spaciousness, creating a tranquillity at odds with the howling rain outside. The Michelson Morley project is essentially the trio of Jake McMurchie (sax), Will Harris (bass) and Mark Whitlam (drums) but itinerant guitarist Dan Messore has always been a co-conspirator. That all four were playing this gig made it a hot prospect and the musical community seemed particularly well represented as a result. There was no disappointment, either, as the delicately constructed tunes from debut album Aether Drift unfolded in a combination of minimal repetitions, hypnotic riffing, electronic dissolution and reflective improvisation.

A lot of the work was being done by pedals – saxophonist McMurchie had more hardware at his feet than your average metal guitarist – but they were deftly used to create soundscapes like the submarine world of Wish I Knew, a lulling underwater tide that washed up a beautiful sax and drums duet. Messore’s exploratory harmonics lifted the more acoustic End of Age from its insistent monotone and his loosely timed abstractions added an echo of Bill Frisell to Your Eyebrows Go Well With Your Face, that tune showcasing Harris on bass.

It’s a sonic world apart from the rock-driven style of Get The Blessing, McMurchie’s other main project but the two came together for the final Rice Rage, a honking sax riff and bass line pumped along by Whitlam’s energetic and restless drumming building up to an electric firestorm that was as close to Hawkwind as you’ll get in a jazz club. Yet for all the anarchic elements, Michelson Morley is a very tightly structured project that can rely on the excellent judgement of its members to use their freedom with discretion and thus produced a stimulating evening of highly original music.

Tony Benjamin, Bristol247

Posted March 12, 2015