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Splintered Instruments is not an empty claim. It is the sound of acoustic components on the verge of collapse, as if spitting out something articulate with their dying breath. It is real-world, analog, dusty and broken, but still forward-looking.
Matthew Collings – the Edinburg-based composer and producer – makes his solo debut with this Fluid Audio release. He says, “Emotionally this record comes out of reckoning with the destructive forces in my life. I’ve felt my whole life as if there is an immense, violent force ready to come out of me. I wanted to finally reach it and reckon with it. Here it rears its head, filtered through melody.”
“I was completely sick of ambient. I wanted something direct, to look you straight in the eye, to involve and shake your entire body. If I could somehow take the electric guitar and melt the sound of it and play it with my body I would.”
Of the album’s spilling percussion, exquisite spans of silence and its almost petroleum viscidity, Collings writes, “Very few thing in nature are truly repetitive. There is always subtle variation and imprecision. It’s a revolt against machines: precision doesn’t express anything and is pretty unnatural. Everything I play is messy, but on the border of being out of place. I use the computer for convenience, not as a principle. It is electronic only because I don’t have the hands or people to do it all at once. If I could, then I would.” Nearly all of Splintered Instruments is organic, played on acoustic instruments or sourced from physical objects and then manipulated, often considerably.
The album was produced and engineered by Ben Frost, who also performed synthesizer and piano on “Vasilia.” Collings says, “If anything is influenced by Ben it’s the physicality and size of the sound. That’s something that really speaks to me in his music, this force of nature through noise and volume. I wanted to reach into the deepest part of me and pull out the true nature of things, or at least a faithful side to them: admitting you are violent, you are a beast of nature as much as a romantic, civilised human being.”
Splintered Instruments acknowledges ferocity as much as it does beauty, and the result is something candid, universal, and unforgettable. Fluid Audio is proud to offer this stunning debut in a limited edition run of 200 hand made letter pressed CD’s, along with photo prints stored in archival paper, guitar pick, cards/download code all packed neatly into hand typed/numbered sealed envelopes.
Composed and Performed by Matthew Collings
Except 'Vasilia', Composed by Collings/Frost
Produced by Ben Frost
Engineered by Paul Evans, Matthew Collings, Ben Frost and Dan Rejmer
Mixed by Dan Rejmer
Mastered by James Plotkin
Drums and Additional Percussion on 'Vasilia' and 'They Meet on the Subway' by Brady Swan
Clarinet and Bass Clarinet by Pete Furniss
Contrabass by Caitlin Callahan
Cimbalom and Theremin by Frank Aarnick
Violin on 'Pneumonia loves the Moon' by Paul Evans
Violin on 'Routine' by Lorcan Doherty
Trombone by Helgi Hrafn Jonsson
Trumpet by Ari Bragi
Additional Synth, Piano and Prepared Piano on 'Vasilia' by Ben Frost
Recorded at Greenhouse Studios, Reykjavik, and various home locations 2008-2011
Mixed at The Reid Studio, Edinburgh