Exposé Online banner

Robert Carl — Splectra
(Cold Blue CB0056, 2019, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-12-09

Splectra Cover art

Carl is a prolific composer, currently resident in Hartford, Connecticut, where he is chair of the composition department at the Hartt School, University of Hartford. While he has less than a dozen releases, mostly on New World Records and Innova, his website lists nearly 150 compositions credited to him, perhaps most scored or performed but not recorded. He’s also the author of numerous books and articles on music. This is Carl’s first release on the Cold Blue label, a CD single consisting of two parts of his composition Splectra, totaling around fifteen minutes of music. The piece is essentially a string harp solo in two parts, performed by Alison Bjorkedal, with some added electronic processing, but used very sparingly – at times reminiscent of prepared piano, other times capturing and sustaining certain overtones. The first section is fairly introspective and explorative, with each single note played seemingly having a special meaning within the context of the piece, later turning to groups of notes together and faster melodic runs, yet still bearing the same stillness and solitude.The second part begins in a place similar to where the first began, but takes an alternate route forward, a bit busier with the electronic processing more apparent at times, like a lonely echo in the middle of the desert at night. It’s a beuatiful piece overall and calls forth a lot of stark and solitary emotional content. It ends too soon, though, and after fifteen and a half minutes I’m just getting comfotable within this space, and then suddenly it’s gone. One supposes that’s the intent. Play it again a few more times!


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Carl

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - The Iridium Controversy – This new offering from my favorite prehistoric animal noise group certainly lives up to the high standards of their previous releases, and over the long term may turn out to be one of my favorites. As...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues