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Splintered Instruments

by Matthew Collings

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    Photography and Design by Tim Courtney

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Vasilia 06:08
Crows 03:55
Routine 09:40


Matthew Collings is a Scottish-based composer. Not only being a solo recording and live artist, he collaborates regularly with artists from all kinds of fields including musicians (Dag Rosenqvist from Jasper TX, Denovali label mate Talvihorros, Christos Michalakos or Euan Mcmeeken with whom he forms the duo Graveyard Tapes), dancers and filmmakers. He’s responsible for several installations using custom-made software, which have been exhibited at Burning Man Festival/ San Francisco or Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary. His work for films includes a specially commissioned live score for Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent classic, ‘The Man with the Movie Camera’ and an invitation to work on ‘The Invisibles’, a commission from Amnesty International. Before settling down in Edinburgh, he lived in Iceland for six year, where he wrote a number of albums issued under the name of his lo-fi/ambient project “Sketches for Albinos” and where he met fellow collaborator Ben Frost. His music can be roughly described as 'an elemental whorl of electro-acoustic (de)composition' (, ranging from tiny delicate moments of intimacy to all consuming noise. Collings’ gentle blurred singing voice is added consequently as an melodic instrument, that never dominates, but soaks through a composition, which seems to be distorted through its state of constant shift. Strongly influenced by avant-garde guitar music, it calls the minimal music of Steve Reich or Gavin Bryars to mind in like manner.

While looking back to an extensive period of creating music in the context of ambient dreamy soundscapes with his project “Sketches for Albinos” Matthew Collings felt the urgent necessity of starting with a completely different approach to music, as the ambient aesthetic didn’t match any longer with new ideas burgeoning in his head. He wanted to create a more direct sound to involve a much grander and more dangerous range of emotions. The composition process of “Splintered Instruments” came out of personally reckoning with two contrary forces, something vicious and unrelenting challenging with a soft and kind energy – getting to their core and the dynamic interrelation to one another Filtered through melody and vaguely resembling songs, driven by nested rhythm patterns, one can imagine that the first sound Matthew Collings picked up on as a leading impulse “was like Sonic Youth’s ‘The Diamond Sea’ meeting ‘Music for 18 Musicians’. I wanted to take songs and kind of dissolve them and then bring them back again, with everything just being on the edge of these various types of structures.”
He worked closely with Bedroom Community's Ben Frost on the creation of “Splintered Instruments”, who took influence in the physicality and size of sound and helped to achieve him to reach into the deepest parts of human nature, pulling it out in a hybrid-pop-experimental-noise form. According to Matthew Collings the record is “a revolt against machines” understanding the sense of precision as something pretty unnatural. He avoids working with computers only using them for convenience, not as a principle. 90% of the record is organic sourced from or played on acoustic instruments or objects, being drawn to sound of every kind which is more human, more imperfect in its subtle variations.

Splintered Instruments '…is not about noise or the decibel levels – it’s about the sheer uncompromised approach to raw sound design' (Headphone Commute).

Having received remarkable praise for his debut “Splintered Instruments”, Denovali Records is re-releasing the debut album accompanied by the release of his new second album called “Silence Is A Rhythm too”.


released July 25, 2014


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


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Matthew Collings Edinburgh, UK

Tiny delicate moments of intimacy and all-consuming noise; the music of composer and sound artist Matthew Collings is textural, melodic and often sonically overwhelming. Spanning the divide between Steve Reich and avant-garde guitar music, Collings has already found considerable praise from the international community for his previous releases under the curious moniker Sketches for Albinos ... more

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