Posted on Oct 21st 2010 12:39 am
Rune Grammofon 2010
06 Tracks. 37mins28secs
Recorded in 2005, when drummer 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 formation’s more recent atmospheric explorations.
When the four members of Supersilent reconvened to work on a follow up to 6 and 7, over the course of five days in August 2005, they collected over five hours of recordings which were, for a time, considered for a second mastodon three-CD set. 8 was eventually reined in to a single CD, leaving a wealth of unreleased material, part of which is now surfacing on this vinyl-only release.
Like 8, 11 finds Supersilent in resolutely experimental mood, and this takes on a variety of forms here, from the abstract collages and odd time signatures of 11.1 and 11.3 or the wonderful atmospheric and hushed settings of 11.2 and 11.5 to the surprisingly light and groovy 11.4 or the chaotic and fragmented 11.6. Present of four tracks and undoubtedly leading the way on the three most abstract pieces, Jarle Vespestad carves some extremely complex and at times rather disconcerting drum patterns here, especially on 11.1. It is easy to imagine him frantically spread over his drum kit, showering his toms in seemingly random sequences, but the control he maintains over the dynamic of his drumming is nothing short of astonishing. On the first half of 11.3, his performance is much sparser and more disjointed, responding to the bare electronics laid by Helge Sten and Arve Henriksen on one side, and Ståle Storløkken’s rarefied keyboard interjections on the other, but things start to fall into place in the second half as a more consistent groove develops, before collapsing upon itself once again.
This is this groove which reappears on 11.4, in much more sustained form. Built around a segment originally used on 6.1, but developed into a more linear and open piece, 11.4 is unusually accessible and melodic, with Storløkken and Sten working closely together to Vespestad’s tight beat. For all the abstract and atmospheric work that has become part and parcel of any Supersilent performance, the quartet can also produce some fierce and abrasive moments. This is what fueled much of 1-3, and it is in some respects what drives much of 11.6 too. While the first half remains pretty sparse and proceeds with no apparent aim, this changes drastically as additional layers are added and the tone becomes much more angular, until it reaches a pretty maniacal and boisterous state in the second half. Here, it is as if each new sonic element was destined to trip over and slam into the ones that came before it until there is no more sound to be added. The drums play a predominant role in this riotous mess, appearing to only increasingly precipitate the process as the end nears.
Arve Henriksen seems pretty absent from the rhythmic pieces, at least in his capacity as a trumpeter, but 11.2 gives him ample opportunities to stamp his mark on the record by layering some infinitely exquisite textures and melodies, first totally on his own, then over some extremely atmospheric keyboard motifs. On 11.5, it is Storløkken who holds for a moment the bulk of the attention, hinting at some of the warm soundscapes which would become the medium of choice of Supersilent’s first outing as a trio on 9.
The sessions from which 11 is built were the last ones with the four members working together, and in that respect, this album, like 8 before it, acts as a testament to what the quartet had achieved since the release of 1-3 in 1998. It signals, in a way, the end of a very fertile era for the band. If Jarle Vespestad had, by the time the band made these recordings, taken the decision to focus on other projects, he was not to leave without one last mighty bang. While there is, we are told, plenty more still to be issued from these sessions in the future, 11, coming only a few weeks after the magnificent 10 showed the remaining trio in the process of developing in entirely new directions, is one powerful reminder of what Supersilent as a quartet stood for.
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