A Fond Farewell

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Artist Profile - Splatter Trio

Splatter guitarist/bass player Myles Boisen likens a Splat show to watching an artist paint: " ... you get to see us creating our art in front of you rather than offering prepackaged musical experiences."

The name of the band reflects the messy act of creation: "We chose the name Splatter because that's what we wanted the music to be like. Painterly, but also kind of bloody ... half-Pollock and half-Peckinpah."

Splatter was formed after saxophonist Dave Barrett (then a member of Club Foot Orchestra) saw a 1987 performance of John Zorn's Cobra Ensemble that included Myles and percussionist Gino Robair. Years of collective experience with the likes of Anthony Braxton, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Snakefinger, Fred Frith, and Dead Kennedys gave the three exceptional skill with experimentation and improvisation. Rather than being slaves to song structure, they play with it. Gino calls structure "our main material, like sonic playdough ... as if the playdough just sort of appears as we play." Myles says, "We don't get lost, but we also don't know where we're going." A Cambodian saying quoted on their first album (available on Rastascan Records) puts it well - "When musicians play together each goes his own way but they meet from time to time."

When these musicians play together, they seem intent on surprising and delighting each other. They typically have no set list; instead, one of them starts playing something and the others play whatever makes sense at the time, sometimes complementing the other musicians, sometimes going off in a completely different direction. The result gives the audience a constantly changing stream of squawks, beats, swirls, jokes, splashes, and noise, an improv soundtrack for the listener's own private contribution.

Other projects punctuate their performing schedule - while one is playing with Club Foot Orchestra and another is appearing with the Potato Eaters, a third is busy with the soundtrack to a David Lynch film. But they appear regularly around the San Francisco Bay area and at favorite venues in the Northwest and Texas, ambushing unsuspecting audiences with the runaway train of their musical musings.

Excerpted from The Racer Record, the Racer Records newsletter.

This page was last updated on March 3, 2004 by Kristi Wachter.