Spume Records001

By Ken Waxman

Momentarily putting aside her notated work, multi-instrumentalist Allison Cameron teams up with fellow improvisers, trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud and percussionist Germaine Liu for a program of 11 instant compositions that play to each trio member’s strengths while cementing a group identity. Sophisticated when it comes to rhythm displacement the drummer still keeps a thumping continuum going, while the trumpeter ability to segue from aggressive gargling to yearning grace notes and beyond, provides perfect foils to the textures emanating from Cameron’s instrumental collection, which sometimes sound as if a kitchen drawer filled with cooking utensils and a workshop bench stacked with mechanical implements are igniting at the same time.

Cameron’s strategies often demonstrate the distinctive timbres that result from Derek Bailey-styled string scratching and clanging applied to a banjo or guitar; while, elsewhere, as on “Pew Pew Pew”, the variations from her electric piano give off ecclesiastical pulses to further amplify the Salvation Army-like strength of Liu’s bass drum whacks and Rampersaud’s high-pitched blasts. Overall, the prime instance of group interaction is on the ironically titled “Romantic Evening”. As the drummer establishes, then deconstructs the cadences by varying her hand rubs with what sounds like balls bouncing on drum tops, brass noises are made more jarring by linking them to clanging banjo frails. Atonality isn’t c_RL’s only attribute either as “A Little Dancing” demonstrates. A moderate trumpet tone and smoothing percussion pats confirm the melodic sentiments with no sonic fissures to be heard. Lastly, the three demonstrate that they haves an absurdist sense of humour. The concluding “All Is On” is a collection of slide whistle-like toots and percussion crashes that contrast with the breezy passion emanating from a scratchy recorded rendition of a Bossa Nova heard in the background. If there’s a downside to Friends, it’s only that the disc was recorded in early 2012 and took this long to be released.

-A MusicWorks Exclusive Spotlight Review July 2015