Slow and loose

Practice makes perfect, or so the adage says. For local electro-acoustic improvisational act Gruppe Freie Elektronisch, perfection is a matter of silent communication. "We never practice," laughs percussionist Milton Jones, and upon witnessing the group's stirring live performances, it becomes obvious that practice is beside the point.

Jones — along with Jeff Bradley (double bass), Scott Burland (pedal steel, keyboards, electronics, guitar), Robert Cheatham (saxophones, keyboards) and Bob Hulihan (electronics, guitar) — has only played three shows since forming the group in 2003. A mutual appreciation for experimental music and long-standing friendships — some lasting more than 15 years — give GFE an insight not achieved by many acts. Recent inductee Ana Balka (violin) brings an outsider edge, adding dexterity to the sonic deluge. The slow and surging sound is a slanted journey into intangible tones. "The group is less about rhythms and jamming as it is about creating textures, colors and shapes," adds Jones. "I'd like to see it move toward more structure, but that would require some practicing."

Over the course of the group's tenure, GFE has stood for everything from Girlfriend Experience to Granola Free Explosion, but Gruppe Freie Elektronisch is the tag that sticks. An appropriate title considering the group's surroundings: Jones and Bradley double as the core of local avant-garde jazz and experimental music promoters Euphonic Productions. As a result, GFE has become Euphonic's de facto house band. But that hasn't added any undue pressure. "We're like old friends communicating when we play," adds Jones. "It's not practiced. It's not rehearsed. It just has a life of its own."

Gruppe Freie Elektronisch plays Eyedrum Thurs., Sept. 23, 9 p.m. $5.