Chicago improvisers Julian Kirshner and Gerrit Hatcher, while relatively up-and-coming in the context of that city's deeply rooted improvisation scene, play with vigor and acute expressiveness as a duo. On the percussion-saxophone outfit's 2017 album, Five Percent Tint, Kirshner and Hatcher hone in on explosive free jazz, while breaking down their sound to display the subtleties of timbre and dynamics in their playing.
Kirshner manages to use his whole kit while balancing delicate snare rolls that seem hardly interrupted or undisturbed. As Kirshner introduces new sounds and rhythms, saxophonist Hatcher scrapes every surface of his instrument—spanning the extremes of range, color, and dynamics—occasionally including a melody or groove. The duo alternate between giving each other space and encroaching on each other's turn, sending the listener down a rabbit hole of new sounds and shapes. —Emili Earhart