Andreas Stensland Løwe: piano and keyboards; Jo Berger Myhre: double bass; Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød: drums and percussion
Apparently, Splashgirl – from Norway – made a lot of friends with their previous releases, which I haven’t been able to listen to. This contrasts with the first (admittedly partial) impression received after Field Day Rituals had started, causing yours truly to exclaim “how sad” (only later I discovered that the group considers this music “lighter and more optimistic” compared to the preceding material…). The general fogginess of the mix doesn’t reveal a great deal of hidden detail, either. Thus, what we have is a relatively compact album of rather uncomplicated themes, frequently overly soundtrack-ish for my taste, that present no openings to joyousness. Compositionally speaking, nothing special: the rhythmic structures are quite elementary, chords and melodic cells often just above ordinary. In terms of environmental embellishment the whole works better, especially if you use the CD as a restrained complement of muteness. Eyvind Kang’s viola and Timothy Mason’s modular synth add shades to some of the tracks, the finest being “Mass” with its “stop-and-go” Eastern mood. Third spin in a row, and I still don’t get all the fuss; perhaps I’m missing something. Based on what was heard today in comparison with the rave reviews of the earlier recordings, here and there depicted as carrying the same historic consequence of Kind Of Blue or so, the evidence shows that the average listener / reviewer is increasingly desperate to attribute prodigious qualities to normality. For this grizzled bellyacher this is “civilized easy listening” background stuff, slightly improved by a tenuous veil of melancholy.