Matthew Collings – Splintered Instruments 8.0
At any point the songs feel like they might sink into a never-ending pit of despair. ‘Splintered Instruments’ takes the path less taken on this album. For while the songs appear to be ready and set to collapse they become uplifting. Matthew Collings creates a series of songs based around the concept of ‘hope’. Hope is all over these pieces. Employing unconventional methods and instruments ‘Splintered Instruments’ manages to surprise on numerous occasions. Part classical, part experimental firmly grounded in at least rock tradition Matthew Collings celebrates the unusual.
‘Vasilia’ begins the album off in grand fanfare. Layering multiple elements on top of each other it balances itself on a particularly heavy bass line. These elements seem to battle each other until the end when they work together as the drums come in. ‘Subway’ is downright beautiful with a lovely rumble of a beat. Here ‘Splintered Instruments’ sounds positively massive. Matthew brings things down from their intensity to something closely resembling ambient interludes on ‘Crows’ and ‘Pneumonia’. Each of these prepare for the one-two finale. ‘Parisisburning’ uses classical instruments to get its point across in a rather gingerly way. Horns join the distortion to give the noise structure. By the end not even the horns can control it. Finally on ‘Routine’ Matthew seems to take on a more modern classical approach similar to Max Richter’s work.
While seeming to be unstable Matthew Collings knows exactly what he is doing. The results are of an album that avoids many common abstract cliches for something warm, organic and undeniably human.