Reviews that mention Laura Altman

July 13, 2017

Splinter Orchestra

Mungo
Split Rec 27

Making a virtue out of necessity, Sydney, Australia’s 19-member Splinter Orchestra (SO) wraps a succession of challenges into a mammoth – 3 CD – package to produce a definition of contemporary antipodean improvisation. However like theoretical scientists who serendipitously solve an equation only to come up with a broader conundrum, new queries still exist after pondering this more than 2¼ hour creation.

One of the overriding concerns of musicians convinced of the transformative properties of aleatory music is how to make a large ensemble function with the fluidity and flexibility of a smaller one. Another concern is how best to utilize non-studio spaces so that the chance textures that arise from relocation will properly figure into a recording. For a practical demonstration, the SO packed up and relocated for three days within the country’s vast Mungo National Park. The results are mixed. In terms of reflecting SO’s three preferred recording locales – two tracks from the ruined Zanci Homestead and one each from an 1869 woodshed and another from a dirt airstrip in the dark – the results are so of a piece that sonic differentiation is limited. Despite the presence of seven horn players, five string players, three percussionists and others employing electronics, objects and their own voices, the outcomes are as egoless as a patient after extended ECT sessions. There are no stand-out soloists because there are no solos as such, only the melding and mulching of tones, textures and timbres. MORE

January 11, 2015

Great Waitress

Flock
Creative Sources CS 234 CD

Embedded in the genre, which for lack of more precise identification is usually classified as reductionist, the multinational Great Waitress trio creates a program that is knotty as well as enticing. Overall the two improvisations here meld mesmerizing textures and time dislocation to play havoc with structure. However while common definitions of compositional order and instrumental conventions are put aside for collegial interface, there’s never a question that sounds are flowing chromatically or any loss of musical individuality MORE