Punkt.Vrt.Plastik consists of three of Europe’s most active and creative free jazz musicians in their mid-to-late 30s; Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler, Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and German drummer Christian Lillinger. Eldh and Lillinger are active in numerous bands together (Amok Amor, Koma Saxo), each one an intense, complex, highly interactive, high-speed musical affair. Punkt.Vrt.Plastik is the traditional piano trio format placed under that same pressure, and Draksler is an ideal partner, similarly precise, technically brilliant, highly inventive and capable of being witty at the same time. Zurich Concert takes compositions from the group’s two previous studio CDs to the stage, opening them up to further elaboration while maintaining a certain taut discipline.
The set opens and closes with compositions by Lillinger, several of them brief, mechanistic complexes that can suggest drum solos transcribed for trio or fragmented Thelonious Monk compositions, repeated patterns developing more and more internal detail. Traditional melodic figures are common here, from each musician. Body Decline – Natt Raum combines two of Eldh’s compositions, moving from a rubato, trance-like longing to an insistently repeated traditional dance figure that eventually disintegrates. Similarly, Draksler’s Vrvica II develops tremendous tension through repetition, eventually giving rise to explosive free play.
Those repeating patterns arise in each of the members’ compositions, a shared insistence that can assume both manic and comic dimensions, an ongoing examination of the military band, the folk dance, the classical etude. It assures Punkt.Vrt.Plastik’s music a human dimension, making the results more stimulating than exhausting.