Lina Allemano: Canons

Canadian trumpeter leads horns, guitar, synth, cello and others in passing around sombre, typically abstract themes for development


Lumo Records celebrated its 20th birthday in 2023. To mark the occasion, friends met for a musical party game led by Canadian trumpeter Lina Allemano. They play nine original tracks with a follow-the-leader format. The rules are simple: One instrument creates a pattern. The others imitate it, sometimes adding variations and transformations. It’s an old game. But it’s fun.

Allemano sent invitations to a diverse gang of guests. Brodie West turned up with a clarinet and Matthias Müller came with a trombone. Tim Posgate’s guitar, Peggy Lee’s cello and Rob Clutton’s double bass made the list. Ryan Driver and his analog synth got the call too. And Mike Smith, the other half of Allemano’s duo BLOOP, takes four turns on the album.

3 Trumpet Canon gets things started. A trio of trumpets, presumably all Allemano, pass the melodic baton. It becomes a ghostly track of half-glimpsed shadows that disappear around corners. Finally, it dissolves into scratchy static. Is this Allemano’s breath? Are fingernails worrying the microphones? It’s an early example of the extended techniques that Allemano employs frequently.

Twinkle Tones opens with spacey noises, zinging and whizzbanging through the ozone layer. It’s the album’s deepest venture into the noise genre, until the trumpet sings a sentimental melody that spotlights Allemano’s classical training.

Four improvised pieces showcase Allemano’s duo with Mike Smith. Shadows (By BLOOP) echoes a trumpet call in real time. There are gruff and half-blown tones, with lots of note-bending. It’s a moment of unsteadiness, with a circling-the-plughole feeling.

Canons is a thoughtful, well-chosen gift to honour this artist-run label’s longevity. It reveals Lina Allemano’s wide-ranging skillset and brings together a lively gathering of contributors. The album may play an old and simple game, but it demands close connections and deft touches. And it’s fun.

3 Trumpet Canon; Bob’s Canon; Shadows (By BLOOP); Butterscones; Wilds (By BLOOP); Twinkle Tones; Moons (By BLOOP); Canon Of Sorts; Ponds (By BLOOP) (42.02)
Allemano (t); Matthias Müller (tb); Brodie West (cl); Tim Posgate (g); Peggy Lee (clo); Rob Clutton (b); Ryan Driver (syn); Mike Smith (live-processing, effects).
Toronto, Canada 2023.
Lumo Records LM 2023-15