Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

169

Supersilent: 6

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
The collisions between the purely acoustic sphere of traditional jazz (okay, throw in a few amplified instruments) and the amorphous universe of electronica have yielded a virtual zoo of hybrid offspring. One major flaw that marks most of these products is that they end up produced to death. That's the price you pay for having too many gadgets in the studio and not enough imagination to create something special through performance itself. Imagination and spontaneity are a rare combination indeed.

The Norwegian quartet known as Supersilent has covered a range of music at the junction between improv and electronica since their inception in 1997, from harsh noise to ambient soundscapes. Their fourth release (known as 6 for reasons not worth elaborating here) is an intelligent work of quiet, brooding drama. All analog here.

At times this music sounds purely cinematic, as on "6.3," with its delicate bell-like wisps floating in and out of keyboard patterns that imply harmony yet rarely exit the realm of dissonance. The corresponding film would be suspenseful and deliberate, something like a murder mystery set in a midnight snowstorm. Somewhere in the middle of this movie, a full moon breaks out and the entire city is bathed in a translucent glow. Sparks fly, black birds alight, then the clouds drift back together again. This is definitely not folk music. The fact that it's nearly impossible to distinguish the four voices much of the time says something about the synergy they achieve. (The package does not even provide musicians' names. I guess that means they are Supersilent.)

Two things about 6 deserve special note. One is that the entire thing is improvised. There are no studio overdubs here, none of the heavy-handed production that festers on so much of today's electro-jazz music. The second is that while the record as a whole is quiet, that doesn't mean it lacks moments of sheer intensity. Dynamics come in many forms. The sonorities these musicians explore are abstract and twisted, yet entirely accessible to an openminded listener. At times, when drummer Jarle Vespestad takes more of an active timekeeping role (as on parts of "6.4"), the music resembles the post-rock soundscapes of Tortoise. But those moments can be fleeting. Resemblances are not something Supersilent prefers to cultivate, it seems.

One final piece of information, relevant to Norway's burgeoning experimental music scene and its spillover around the world. This group's first recording was the first release on the Rune Grammofon label, rapidly becoming recognized (through 30 releases to date) for exactly the kind of intelligent genre-bending Supersilent represents.

Visit Rune Grammofon and Supersilent on the web. This music is available through Forced Exposure.


Track Listing: 6.1; 6.2; 6.3; 6.4; 6.5; 6.6.

Personnel: Helge Sten - Audio Virus; St

Title: 6 | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • 12 by John Eyles
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
  • 10 by John Kelman
  • 9 by John Kelman
  • 8 by John Kelman
  • 6 by Mark Corroto
  • 6 by AAJ Staff
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Formidable CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Cochonnerie CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Threes CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Smoke CD/LP/Track Review Smoke
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Asteroidea" CD/LP/Track Review Asteroidea
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Southern Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Southern Blood
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Chant" CD/LP/Track Review Chant
by Nicola Negri
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Coalesce" CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor