Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Supersilent

Supersilent (group; 1997)
Arve Henriksen (trumpet, electronics, drums)
Helge Sten (guitars, electronics)
Ståle Storløkken (keyboards)
Jarle Vespestad (drums)

Deconstructing everything we know about jazz, Norwegian band Supersilent have taken jazz and literally blown it apart and don't seem to want to put it back together. With elements of Miles early '70s fusion work, the dense introspection of Karlhienz Stockhausen and a true belief in "whatever happens on stage or in the studio, happens" improvisation, Supersilent has emerged as one of the most challenging and adventurous bands on the scene today.

Not unlike Australia's The Necks, Supersilent can start off a piece either with sheer cacophony or quiet beauty. Either way, the end results are quite mesmerizing. The band utilize a mixture of both acoustic and electronic instruments to create a densely pack world of soundscapes that would make Miles Davis proud. The band functions as one without a real leader and almost never rehearsal session. There first three albums simply titled 1, 2 and 3 respectively, are packaged together and transmit the same theme of sparse, atmospheric, eclectic adventure. 2 does features some pieces with slightly more song structure or rhythmic patterns but for the most part the albums 1 - 3 are an excursion in sound but well worth the journey.

Album 4 sets a similar course to album 2 with what feels like nods to King Crimson in the way there is a full frontal assault on listener but you it is interesting to hear the subtle nuances through each piece. Albums 5 and 6 are quieter affairs, exploring more of an ambient path with keyboards and electronics more the focus for this outing. There are ethereal moments in which Henriksen's trumpet are audible making for nice transcendent arrangements. Fans of King Crimson, Spring Heel Jack, Jon Hassell, Seefeel and My Bloody Valentine might look to 6 as a nice starter.

Album 7 is actually a live DVD and is worth the money. I have since Supersilent twice and it is truly an experience in sound and order. Albums 8 and 9 maintain the ambient theme but you continue to get a great insight into the group dynamic. Everyone in the band handles electronics so its at times difficult to determine who's playing what but its more about the improvisation and emotional output of Supersilent that finding the individual characteristics.

Each member of the band has their own highly successful solo careers (Arve Henriksen recent release on ECM and Ståle Storløkken in collaboration with Thomas Stronen as Humcrush) when this band gets together to record or perform live it is truly an event. If your taste gravitate to rich, dense sound and experimentation than I highly recommend exploring Supersilent.





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