by Eyal Hareuveni
(…) Jérémie Ternoy / Ivann Cruz / Peter Orins – Qeqertarsuatsiaat (Circum-Disc, 2016) ****½
The trio of pianist Jérémie Ternoy, guitarist Ivann Cruz and drummer Peter Orins, known in its electrified version as TOC, decided to unplug and to go opposite to all characterized it before, i.e. energy, density, volume, excess, channeled into a twisted mix of post-punk-post rock-post jazz. This time the trio opted to explore the timbral range of their acoustic instruments in a minimalist, sparse and spontaneously improvised interplay. To add an exotic flavor to this album, the title is the name of small settlement in the southwestern Greenland, while the other pieces are titled after remote towns in Algeria, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Mongolia, Hokkaido, and Okrug, Russia.
The established interplay of the trio, solidified on previous three albums of TOC, as well as the extensive experience of the resourceful Ternoy, Cruz and Orins in many other projects contribute to the success of this sonic adventure. The trio knows how to sketch multilayered and intriguing textures that flow organically by their inner logic. Pieces as the atmospheric “Djanet”, “Gilgit”, the mysterious “Wakkanai” or the weird, hypnotic rhythm of the title piece, dissolve any attempt to distinguish such improvisation from a written, well-crafted composition. All these pieces sound fresh, eccentric with its inventive approach, but surprisingly coherent.
(…) TOC – Haircut (Circum-Disc, 2014) ****
The third album of TOC – following their debut, a soundtrack to a wildlife documentary, Le Gorille (2009) and the sophomore work for a dance company, You Can Dance If You Want To (2012) – is focused on different forms and levels of energy. Haircut is built as two consecutive pieces, and is an insistent, sometimes repetitive research of different modes of highly energetic interplay, built on the spur of the moment. The two pieces, “Half Updo” and “Updo”, do not settle on any pulse or structured progression, but developed as in waves and storms of effects-laden energy.
There are moments when TOC sounds as locking on a distinct form, as on the third part of “Half Updo”, in a heavy, spacey groove, almost with a dance-like pulse, or in the infectious, noisy beat on the beginning of “Updo”. But soon TOC transforms these muscular outpours into another sonic adventures that has an altogether different rhythmic characteristics, still charged with high-octane energy. Eventually all the energy is channeled towards the ecstatic climax at the end of “Updo” where TOC explodes in a fast, reckless and wild mode. (…)