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Splinter Reeds — Hypothetical Islands
(New Focus Recordings FCR222, 2018, CD/DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-11-04

Hypothetical Islands Cover art

Splinter Reeds is the woodwind ensemble of Kyle Bruckmann (oboe), Bill Kalinkos (clarinet), David Wegehaupt (saxophone), Jeff Anderle (bass clarinet), and Dana Jessen (bassoon). Hypothetical Islands, a collection of seven pieces by various neoclassical composers (Matthew Shlomowitz, Cara Haxo, Eric Wubbels, Theresa Wong, Sky Maclay, and Yannis Kyriakides), is their second release. Though composed by different artists, the music is similar, multiple intertwining asynchronous instrument lines, dissonance, various harmonies and harmonics, and cacophonous playing that at times sounds like traffic and automobile horns. The complexity and difficulty with performing these random sounding compositions can only be accomplished by virtuoso performers. The multi-octave cascading scale runs on “Choppy” are amazing considering the dexterous manipulation of these woodwinds, especially without a stray note or squeaky reed. The title track is slightly different in that I detect the addition of background electronic white noise enhancing this outré piece. Overall, I find these neoclassical woodwind compositions much easier on the ears than strings. This is another release for the adventurous listener.

Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Splinter Reeds

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