481

Supersilent: 8

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Supersilent: 8 While many musicians eschew liner notes, preferring to let the music speak for itself, Norwegian noise improv group Supersilent has always taken that philosophy a step further. The names of the band members aren't listed; album titles are only in increasing numerical increments; and the collective spontaneous compositions are simply titled with the album and track (e.g. 1.1, 1.2). The covers of its previous Rune Grammofon releases—1-3 (1997), 4 (1998), 5 (2001), 6 (2003) and the DVD 7 (2005)—have been simple, single colors, with only the most basic release information in a simple white font. If it weren't for the unofficial Supersilent website (the group has neither a website nor MySpace page), the anonymity of the group would be nearly complete.



While the members of Supersilent have busy careers outside the group—most notably Arve Henriksen, whose ubiquity on the Scandinavian scene is nearly unrivaled—when they come together as Supersilent the premise is simple: no discussion, no preplanning, no rehearsals. All the more remarkable then, that the music of 8, as with past releases, feels both in-the-moment and preconceived. The term "noise improv" might frighten away some—and there are some harsh extremes to be certain. Still, there's often surprising beauty, gentility even. There's a reason why the word "silent" is part of the group's name; as dense as the music can get, there's also a less-is-more aesthetic allowing the overriding arc of any Supersilent album the opportunity to breathe. 8 may well be Supersilent's most accessible album to date, although that doesn't suggest a relaxing of its core concept or its pursuit of unknown textures and musical landscapes.



Largely electronic-based, there remain elements of near-classicism, especially on the brooding opening to the eleven-minute "8.1," whose seeming stasis at any given point belies a more patient and gradual build towards its more aggressive and pulsing conclusion. "8.2" is sparer still, with cymbals and bells bolstering a Zawinul-esque synth melody, later joined by rumbling electronics. The staggered rhythms of "8.3" seem at odds with each other, with Jarle Vespestad's thundering tom-toms all the more surprising when one considers his near-whisper playing with pianist Tord Gustavsen's trio on ECM.



"8.4" may be abstract, but it's also some of Supersilent's most beautiful music to date. Henriksen's shakuhachi-toned trumpet and a wash of heavily reverbed string synths are remarkable for the feeling of composition in the face of clear knowledge that this is music that hasn't been played before, and will never be played again.



With the amount of technology involved, outside of Henriksen's distinctive trumpet and voice and, occasionally, Helge Sten's intense guitar, it's often impossible to know who is doing what; with Henriksen also playing drums, even Vespestad's role is not always clear. But that's the whole point of Supersilent: music to be assessed purely on its own merits, absent of the markers that normally reveal a link between the music and the people who make it.


Track Listing: 8.1; 8.2; 8.3; 8.4; 8.5; 8.6; 8.7; 8.8.

Personnel: Arve Henriksen: trumpet, electronics, voice, drums; Helge Sten: audio virus, electronics, guitars, keyboards; Ståle Storløkken: keyboards, synthesizers, electronics; Jarle Vespestad: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Arclight" CD/LP/Track Review Arclight
by Troy Collins
Published: March 4, 2016
Read "Out On The Coast" CD/LP/Track Review Out On The Coast
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "One More Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review One More Manhattan
by Jim Olin
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "Upset The Status Quo" CD/LP/Track Review Upset The Status Quo
by James Nadal
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Akustik InventYours" CD/LP/Track Review Akustik InventYours
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!