November 26, 2020
Lumo Records LM 2019-09
Onon/Skating Pears SPF-007
One of the curses and challenges of being a serial innovator is that a constant need to change always exists. This is especially true among vanguard musicians. Berlin-based trumpeter Axel Dörner for instance besides playing with everyone from Andrea Neumann to Alexander von Schippenbach, has been one of the creators of a unique solo trumpet agenda. Once that exercise in extended techniques was established though, he’s now extending it still further with electronics. That’s what enlivens Unversicht. Meanwhile trumpeter Lina Allemano, who splits her time between Berlin and Toronto and who studied with Dörner in mid-decade, has released her first solo disc, which adapts pre-electronic extended brass techniques in her own fashion.
What stand out most about Allemano’s playing on Glimmer Glimmer is the traditional inferences that remains in her playing. She can acerbically create unlimited harsh brassy tones with the same facility she squeaks out circles of airy flutters, yet as on “Portrait of Sticks” rhythmic motion and basic melody still peek through. In fact Harmon-muted “Buchfink” jitters into slices of straightforward mellow lyricism. Not that experimentation is neglected. “Shimmer” with its collection of throat honks, strangled peeps and swallowed snorts, includes a sequence where harsh bell rubbing evolves in counterpoint to percussive snarls. The final “One Man Down” expresses both these motifs. Starting by propelling upwards the trumpet’s lowest notes so that the interface widen along with the elevation in pitch, a section of relaxed forward motion is succeeded by barely heard murmurs, irregular breaths and then the same melody is whistled to the end.
The demarcation between Glimmer Glimmer and Unversicht is that while Allemano is expressing extended brass techniques, Dörner has adopted electronics to move into sound manipulation. The trumpet here is a source, but only rarely are what can be isolated as brass intonation are heard. That’s even when the output is in tandem with, alternating among, or superseded by noises that suggest radio wave static, keyboard-like wavering, backwards running flanges and delays or dissolving flutters. Beginning with the first track that quickly turns to white noise with little tonal reflections from exploding oscillated whizzes, what then seems to be spit from the horn’s body tube with no valve movement arrive. These shaded timbres ranging from pennywhistle squeaks to watery burbles, culminate in a conveyer belt of mechanical whooshes with a coda of flying saucer landing-like sound textures. From that point until the concluding “Unversicht 4” textures arise to highlight the climatic resolution of Dörner’s experiments. With tightening growls moving with wind-tunnel-like force through his instrument, a concentrated and claustrophobic surge of brassy cries sand echoes is reached at midpoint only to have the subsequent squawks dissolve into indeterminable rugged patterns that resemble a night train whistle as much as a brass band. For the finale, brief stops and starts wriggle away the sound in whooshes.
There’s no idea of student-teacher continuum when listening to these discs. Allemano has created an original amplification of some of Dörner’s expressions and linked it to her own ideas. Dörner is off exploring still newer sonic territory. Whether she chooses to follow isn’t as crucial as listening to the programs created on both of these exemplary sessions.
Track Listing: Glimmer: 1. Portrait of Sticks (for Nick) 2. Clamour 3. Shimmer 4. Glimmer Glammer 5. Buchfink 6. One Man Down (for Justin)
Personnel: Glimmer: Lina Allemano (trumpet, mutes and materials)
Track Listing: Unversicht: 1. Unversicht 1 2, Unversicht 2 3. Unversicht 3 4. Unversicht 4
Personnel: Unversicht: Axel Dörner (trumpet and electronics)