The Splinter Orchestra is
a 27-member improv group from Australia. Their members play most of the
standard jazz array of instruments plus guzheng, laptop, synthesizers
and so on, letting you know you’re not anywhere close to jazz territory.
The Splinters have much more to do with post-mid-century modern classic
music than jazz, but that’s just a signpost rather than a description.
“First Tutti” is vaguely reminiscent of Elliot Carter’s large-scale
flux, but it’s warm whereas Carter is bracingly cold. It’s more
continuous and harmonic than Carter, too. It could be an aural portrait
of cosmic stew right before the Big Bang exploded it. Very stunning.
“First Play” is a Morning of the World excursion rich in tentativeness.
“Second Play” is another flux piece, this time more calming. “Third
Play” is a breathing, whirling, hissing marvel that never settles down.
“Second Tutti” lets loose the eldritch spirits of the Splinters. This
record is a consistently rich, provocative and challenging experience.
It is organically very impressive. Highest marks.