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TOC (Ternoy / Cruz / Orins) — The Theory of Constraints
(Circum-Disc CIDI2401, 2024, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-06-19

The Theory of Constraints Cover art

For their tenth album together as an improvising trio (and a most interesting one I must add), TOC seems to have decided that their band name no longer stands for the surnames of its participants: Jérémie Ternoy (piano), Peter Orins (drums and percussion) and Ivann Cruz (guitar), but instead for The Theory of Constraints, a framework of interdisciplinary knowledge, methods, and management tools for organizations. There’s a lengthy article about the topic on Wikipedia, so I won’t try and re-tackle the subject here, especially since what concerns us here isn’t what’s coming off the process line in some factory somewhere, but instead what’s coming out of the speakers, which is what this trio recorded in a studio on October 17-19, 2023. The centerpiece of the album is the sprawling 26-minute two-part title track that closes the album, one that begins softly with a gentle piano with underlying drums, and slowly builds over its duration as guitar joins in and the drums become louder and other percussives join the mix, the piano becomes more jangly and chaotic, and the understated guitar drives a bass line that in part two culminates in a more powerful and aggressive posture for all of the players as they slowly bring this cauldron to a boil. Truly magnificent, and if those two tracks were the entire album it would definitely be a satisfying experience, but there are four cuts before the title track that surely make it additionally worthy. Opener “Drum Buffer Rope” is a curious piece that introduces the players superbly, the title coming from the theory that encompasses it all, while the fourteen-plus minute “The Thinking Processes” finds a slower pace groove that beautiful melodies and curious sounds can grow within. “Throughput Accounting” drifts ever deeper into a mysterious soundworld, while “The Five Focusing Steps” slowly builds again from near silence through a clever duo of guitar and wooden percussion before a long pause, after which piano rejoins the party; but it sounds like it’s just getting started when it ends. All said this is a great collection of improvisations that is at once brilliant and easy to enjoy.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): TOC (Ternoy / Cruz / Orins), Ivann Cruz, Peter Orins

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