SPLINT: Moro (Lampse)
11 Tracks. 51mins38secs
Splint! | Lampse
Formed in 2004 by Swedish artist Johannes Lundberg, Splint! bring together some of the finest improv musicians of the Scandinavian scene, including Lundberg’s compatriot drummer and percussionist Jon Fält and Norway’s Gunnar Halle (trumpet, electronics) and Nils-Olav Johansen (guitar, keyboards, electronics). All have served with various avant-garde formations, including a stint as part of Veslefrekk, the earlier incarnation of Supersilent, for Johansen.
The band has often been likened to Supersilent but their approach, which explores more defined musical lines, sets Splint! slightly closer to the likes of Food, Humcrush, or to a lesser extend Wibutee. They however share with the seminal Norwegian quartet a taste for highly contrasting pieces, which is demonstrated at length on this playful debut album.
Claiming inspiration from jazz visionaries such as Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane or Ornette Coleman, Splint! process these with contemporary technology, applying electronics and samples to create a series of rather diverse compositions, ranging from incredibly dense and free to vast atmospheric minimal pieces. Right from the opening track, Halle’s trumpet becomes a clear thread, guiding the listener through cataclysmic clouds of noise and more subtle sonic patterns. On Fooj, he carves a delicate theme as the rest of the band progressively build up delicate layers, but things heat up on the following track, Sintjom, where, caught between dub effects and groovy drums, his lines become harrowingly dense and emotional.
Later on, a sombre veil of introspection descends on Ittobåt, Tannin and Dammas. Small clusters of electronic debris erupt from all sides and gather into minimal electro-acoustic formations before breaking up and assembling again into new intricate knots. At times, processed voices add to the slight discomfort, but soon clouds dissipate again as Fält activates his grooves once again hesitantly on Dappysch before the quartet takes a turn towards chaotic electro-acoustic with Sandyn and Angublans. Here, the soundscapes are more hectic and intense, but the groove remains largely at bay while the band lay down their experiments. The closing two tracks see Splint! once again slipping into more intimate and subdued moods, but unlike before, these two pieces appear more opened and light, with refined soundscapes bringing the energy levels right down.
Splint!’s debut is at once playful and spiritual, with accessible moments and complex experimentations surprisingly well balanced all the way through. As they combine a classic acoustic vision with highly effective electronics, the quartet create here a piece of work which in turn excites, intrigues and fascinates.