Vinny Golia, Steuart Liebig, and Nathan Hubbard have paired up in various formations for many years, but this is their first trio performance that I am aware of. Despite being recorded in March 2019 as part of VI Semana Internacional de Improvisación en Ensenada in Mexico, Next Outpost comes across as if it were a live-in-the-studio improvisation. Never ones to underdo anything, Golia, Liebig, and Hubbard blaze through three tracks of epic length.
As might be expected, Golia selects his weapons from an arsenal of flutes, saxes, and clarinets. Liebig gives his 6-stringed basses a workout and contributes electronics as well. Hubbard is the consummate percussionist, going well beyond the drum kit. And with that format, this trio never lets up the intensity of its performance. Regardless of whether they play frenetically or provide more atmospheric breaks, there is always a distinct busy-ness to their efforts. Golia’s rapid, angular leads often take the foreground. Liebig produces chords and runs that are anything but rhythmic in nature. Hubbard has a knack for not doing what you expect, whether loosely following the others, forging his own path with shakers, cymbals, and bass drum, or filling space with rolls, staccato interludes, and extended techniques.
Next Outpost is free improvisation that somehow imposes an overriding philosophical structure on its own indeterminacy. This is a dense, information-rich set of tracks that require active listening to both piece apart and appreciate as a whole. Well done.