The opening track on this quartet release on Portuguese label Creative Sources, featuring Line Allemano, trumpet, Uwe Oberg, piano, Matthias Bauer, double bass and Rudi Fischerlehner, drums and percussion, is a marathon piece at over 25 minutes that sets the tone for this hard and fast improvising band. This is music that rushes out of the gate and gallops and turns corners in a fleet, graceful and powerful manner.
Known in some circles as "Lina Allemano's Berlin quartet," this group is rather a collective endeavor, and the four tracks here evince a blending of compositional voices rather than the articulation of the vision of a leader, unlike Allemano's Toronto quartet (Lina Allemano Four), wherein most of the compositions come from the trumpeter's pen and color the sound, despite the rich idiosyncratic talents in that group.
Strangely and significantly, all four pieces in this release have the same title, but in different languages ("El Remolino," "Il Vortice," "Le Tourbillon," "Malstrom") all meaning the same thing: The Vortex. The titles suggest the swirling sounds and ideas that make up each piece in one way or another, a swirling of sonic gestures made up of particles of music from the European traditions colored by contemporary practice with extended techniques and what has often been called "energy music."
The result is nearly a full hour of music of varying moods, but all having the idea of flow, of momentum, of the launching of four individual voices into one expression, which is what makes a band a band....a unified group sound made up of disparate elements, but cohering and becoming one.
The name of the album is open to interpretation, as SOG can stand for Special Operations Group, as it does in a military context, but also implies something soaked, and several other acronyms have been coined with these letters. I think the military allusion is most apt here, as these are indeed Special Forces at work together in a whirlwind fashion, delivering a concerted punch of sonic power.
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