Rats and Mice
Lina Allemano’s Ohrenschmaus
Lumo Records LM 2019-10 (linaallemano.com)
Splitting her time between Toronto and Berlin, local trumpeter Lina Allemano now has a European combo to complement her longstanding Canadian bands. Rock-solid German drummer Michael Griener and agile Norwegian electric bassist Dan Peter Sundland bring startling originality to the trumpeter’s compositions which broaden from Allemano’s cunning use of extended techniques. Frequently shadowing Allemano’s lead, the bassist’s thumb pops and moderated slaps perfectly augment trumpet timbres whether they’re spit out at a speedy pace or as grounded gurgling growls. As for the drummer, his tasteful side clips and rolling ruffs ensure the tunes maintain a steady pulse.
Allemano’s lead encompasses everything from creating expanded multiphonics, spitting out shrill brass runs, hand-muted effects and unexpected basso snarls. She exhibits a variety of effects on a track like Ostsee. Mixing textural advances and heraldic overblowing, positioned drum cracks help establish the tune’s horizontal groove which she then decorates with repeated note patterns sequentially squeezed from the high and low pitches. While her aggressive capillary asides and the bassist’s juiced twangs sometimes threaten to upset the session’s ambulatory pace, the trio is sophisticated enough to avoid sonic stalemates. You can hear this on Hooray Norway, the final, extended track which includes Allemano answering her own brassy trills with tongue flutters, as string slaps and cymbal beats help preserve a notable theme which emphasizes grace as well as melancholy. Overall, Allemano’s tale of two cities has an obviously happy ending.