Label: Intakt Records, 2019
Personnel - Kaja Draksler: piano; Petter Eldh: bass; Christian Lillinger: drums.
The European trio composed of Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler, Swedish bassist Petter Eldh, and German drummer Christian Lillinger definitely deserves several listenings and wider recognition due to an urgent, empathetically modern sound that transpires focus, freedom, and craft. Their album Punkt.Vrt.Plastik is vividly recommended for the ones who love elaborate textures, rhythmic disjunctions, patterned lyricism, and maturely conspired ambiances with intelligent crosscurrents in the instrumentation.
Lillinger’s “Nuremberg Amok” opens the album as a beautiful deconstruction with a strong polyrhythmic feel and swift fragmented phases that often repeat. A nuanced sense of tempo and engrossing fluidity are constant presences.
“Evicted” is the only composition penned by Draksler, evolving in a spectacular way and conveying the uncertainty and distress that an eviction may suggest. Ambiguity and some sadness are mixed in Draksler's lines, which causes an impressive effect whenever the hair-raising low notes are blended with shrilling pointillism to form strange musical mosaics. She has this very special way to deal with space. Is the following intervallic melodicism a synonym of resignation? Ponderation, for sure! Apart from her choices, Eldh concludes with a resonant bass foray replete of pizzicato technique.
Happy and carefree, “Punkt Torso” is marked by a classical lyricism that takes a bit more reflective intonation on “Life is Transient” and an exquisite modernization on “Momentan”, achieved through additional patterned elements that seem taken from electronica.
Both “Azan” and “Plastic” appear with fidgeting, broken beats expressed with dry and wet tones. However, while the former circulates angular melody, the latter advocates lullaby-ish lines and crawling dark drones, after a nearly two-minute drum solo.
Eldh and Lillinger are members of Amok Amor, a quartet with saxophonist Wanja Slavin and trumpeter Peter Evans, and their well-established rapport is valued by the independent Draksler, who knows how to merge into their rhythmic entanglement with finesse. The shape shifting “Body Decline” is another wonderful example of brilliance, put together with assertive noir brushstrokes and that beautiful tension/resolution dichotomy. Eldh penned it.
Reinventing themselves to escape any sort of pre-determined norms, the trio crafts an aesthetically bold work that will make you dive into their music, and remain indefinitely.
01 - Nuremberg Amok ► 02 - Evicted ► 06 - Body Decline