The latest release by the Norwegian band Supersilent could be the Bitches Brew of our modern times. Like Miles Davis’s infamous recording, little information about the band or its music making is revealed from the CD packaging. In fact their first three releases, 1-3, 4, followed by the cleverly titled 5, only list producer Helge Sten (aka Deathprod) on the CD jacket. The track titles, like Jackson Pollock paintings, are merely numbered to increase the mystery.
A bit of research reveals the working unit to be trumpeter Arve Henriksen (Food, Trygve Seim, Jon Balke), Keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (Terje Rypdal), and drummer Jarle Vespestad (Nils Petter Molvaer). Their anonymity (like Miles’ secrecy) feeds the mystery that surrounds this intriguing music.
Formed in 1997 for the Bergen Jazz Festival, the band recorded the sprawling 1-3. It was everything hardcore, even its ambient sections kicked listeners in the teeth. Producer Helge Sten coaxed the band to tear apart jazz, electronica, and rock.
Later recordings have found the band shifting into a more ethereal focus, perhaps centering their attention. Their music has turned toward the quieter side of improvisation, but has retained the intensity of their hardcore debut.
Although this is studio recorded, there are no overdubs. Unlike the Teo Macero sessions for Miles Davis, the scenes created are live to disc. This music is pure improvisation, although it feels as though it were fully composed. The band washes moods, mostly somber, sometimes churning in and around your brain. This modern electrojazz maintains the organic materials often lacking from weighty produced DJ sessions. This band keeps it real, literally.
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