The title of this album is also the name of a long-term group founded by Joscha Oetz in 1995, when he was still living in Cologne. This free improv unit has welcomed a number of musicians. On this release, Oetz performs with tenor sax player Andreas Wagner and drummer Greg Stuart. Both had appeared on the bassist's 2002 collection of solos and duos, Vieles Ist Eins. Permanent Flow features the complete set performed on October 14, 2003, in San Diego. The music resolutely belongs to the European free improvisation line of thinking. Peter Kowald's influence permeates Oetz's playing, even though he tends to have a stronger swing, even in a free context. Wagner keeps a foot in tonality and the other in texture, with "Complex Geometry" and "Straight Curves" illustrating both sides. His sound is not particularly distinctive, but efficient. The surprise on this recording is Greg Stuart, a highly creative percussionist with a very light touch. His refusal to even graze jazz territory pushes the other two to radicalize their vocabularies, especially in "Straight Curves" and the closing "Verzahnt." In fact, the whole set follows a progression of sorts, from rather serious free jazz to completely non-idiomatic free improv. Permanent Flow is an honest effort, and well recorded, but in the end it has few distinctive traits.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture