AMN Reviews: Kyle Bruckmann / Sam Pluta / Katherine Young – Live . Elastic . 10.20.16 (2017; Minus Zero)

Minus Zero is a new label started by Vijay Anderson, Ben Goldberg, and Dina Maccabee. All of the proceeds from album sales are donated to Planned Parenthood. This is a review in an ongoing series covering the label’s releases.

Don’t be put off by the album cover – this is some scary stuff. A 33-minute slab of processed improv featuring Kyle Bruckmann on oboe and English horn, Sam Pluta on electronics, and Katherine Young on bassoon and electronics, the aptly-titled Live . Elastic . 10.20.16 was recorded at Chicago’s Elastic Arts. Bruckmann and Young drone respectively, and make liberal use of extended techniques. As a consequence, it can be hard to tell where the playing ends and the electronics begin. Pluta and Young provide distorted structural elements and walls, using decimated samples among other approaches. Bruckmann’s contributions are high-pitched and complimentary to Young’s lower-register offerings. Given the near-complete lack of melody, this recording is solidly in free improv camp. And with use of non-traditional instrumentation, Bruckmann, Pluta, and Young comfortably flirt with the extreme wing of that genre. Listening to how this trio plays off of one another and responds to their bandmates makes Live . Elastic . 10.20.16 a compelling and enjoyable release.