Having fully integrated herself into the burgeoning Berlin free improv scene, Toronto trumpeter Lina Allemano helps make SOG a memorable instance of stretching instruments to their limits without losing cadenced evolution. Associates are Germans, bassist Matthias Bauer and pianist Uwe Oberg and Austrian percussionist Rudi Fischerlehner.
Consisting of three extended tracks and a brief encore, the music touches on delicacy as well as dissonance. The former quality is expressed when focused trumpet grace notes brush up again chiming piano lines promoting quiet interludes among the generally invigorating sounds. A colourist, Fischerlehner’s wooden clave slaps, bell shakes and idiophone rattles pace the expositions, while Bauer’s sluicing bass line provides a proper pulse. That leaves space for Oberg and Allemano, who take full advantage.
Expressive at varied tempos, the pianist sweeps from singular clips to extended glissandi with ping-ponging emphasis maintaining linear flow. Allemano meets Oberg and Fischerlehner’s rhythmic animation on Il Vortice with squeaky slides and bitten off single notes. The extended El Remolino finds her intermittently exposing the melody above drum punches and keyboard rumbles as she slides through a practice book of technical development including hand-muted squalls, clenched teeth growls and half-valve spits. Like Oberg though she makes the exposition less about technique and more about emotional transference.
There’s no indication of what SOG translates to in any language. Maybe it stands for Session Obviously Good – but that slogan might itself be too limiting.