If the goal of the three master improvisers on this November 30, 2019 evening at Ausland in Berlin was entropy, they were unsuccessful. The triumph of saxophonist John Butcher, pianist Magda Mayas and percussionist Tony Buck might be their failure to command disorder (not an oxymoronic term) in this one lengthy free improvisation, the reasons being experience, familiarity, and technique. Mayas and Buck are partners in the well-established duo Spill, and the three have also performed since 2013 as Vellum.
Besides each player's accomplishments, the trio's inclination to expand the possibilities of their instruments informs this session. Butcher's extended techniques are on full display with his assembly of sounds which include overblowing tones, chirping articulations, and a séance of metal sound. Likewise Mayas and Buck employ their instruments in a nontraditional manner. Mayas' prepared piano generates sound both inside and outside of its body, often highlighting her piano as a percussion instrument. Ditto for Buck, except his percussion tools often do not percuss as much as elicit his own extended technique. Try as the three might to invoke disarray, we are constantly presented with interesting combinations of sounds and textures.