SUPERSILENT: 8 (Rune Grammofon)

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Posted on Nov 29th 2007 01:30 am

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Supersilent: 8

SUPERSILENT
8
RCD2067
Rune Grammofon 2007
08 Tracks. 68mins17secs

Norwegian entity Supersilent have become master at confusion. With albums and tracks carrying chronological numbers as sole mean of identification, it should be quite easy to keep up with the band’s progress, yet 8 is only their fifth album in the traditional sense, their fifth if 7, which, despite featuring all new material, was only released as a DVD, is to be counted. They have, over the years, unashamedly treaded the boundaries of jazz and avant-garde and thrived on the energy they have drawn from both, without ever committing to any. The only constant in their work, apart from personnel head count and the aforementioned numerical cataloguing, is the way each of their record has been built from lengthy improv sessions, with no overdubs, and usually recorded in a handful of days.

Formed of Ståle Storløkken (keyboards), Jarle Vespestad (drums), Helge Sten (electronics) and Arve Henriksen (trumpet), Supersilent celebrate ten years together this year, and this new album shows the band as fresh and hungry for experimentation and new sounds as ever. After the harsh and convoluted terrains of 1-3, the smoother ride of 4, the resolutely reflective 5, the visions of grandeur of 6 and the multi-sensorial feast of 7, 8 finds Supersilent tuned to particularly abstract musical forms and extremely contrasted conditions. The lexicon used here is characteristic of the band’s work, but, as is the case with every new Supersilent record, it is applied in a way that bears only vague resemblance to previous outputs. Culled from over five hours of improvisation, 8 was at one point envisaged as a double, and even a triple, album. Instead, the band have crammed a substantial amount of music and silences in just under seventy minutes.

Overall, 8 is a rather subdued and introvert piece, with the quartet only opening up to monumental sound amalgamations on 8.7. 8.1 slowly builds electric tension and gains density all the way through its eleven minutes before eventually imploding and collapsing over itself, while 8.3 swims against the current of disjointed drums sequences to provides breathing space for the grinding guitar noises that coagulate in the background. The rest of the album is surprisingly ethereal and, occasionally, melodic, with 8.4 and 8.5 giving Henriksen the best opportunities to take the lead for a moment. On 8.6, the ground becomes very uneven and abstract, with electronics fizzing up like bubbles on the side of a glass while Henriksen hangs little vocal droplets in the latter part of the track. The concluding track, 8.8, is perhaps the most sober on offer here and brings this latest incursion into Supersilent territory to a gentle close.

Ten years on from their first collaborative work, Supersilent continue to define their unique sonic space away from pretty much the rest of the music scene. With 8, they once again unveils new grounds and expand on previous work, capturing yet another side of their multi-faceted identity.

4.8/5

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3 Responses to “SUPERSILENT: 8 (Rune Grammofon)”

  1. […] Jarle Vespestad was still part of the band’s line up, and culled from the sessions that spawned 8, 11, the third Supersilent installment in twelve months, is quite a different affair from the […]

  2. […] was leaving the formation, with additional recordings sourced from the fructuous 2005 sessions for 8, the remainder of which are due to be released on vinyl as 11 […]

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