themilkman on Dec 19th 2010 08:49 pm

The 2010 Review

As 2010 bows out, it is time to look back on a year that has been rich in new music, some from very well established artists, and some from entirely new comers. Here are themilkfactory’s twenty favourite records of the year, and this year for the first time, this list is augmented with thirty other records that have marked the year.

With no less than four albums in the top 20, the year belonged to Rune Grammofon, and more particularly to Supersilent, who occupy two places, including the top spot. Room40 also place two albums in the twenty best records on 2010, while new imprints Desire Path, Hibernate and Textura also feature with some strong releases.
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SUPERSILENT: 11 (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Oct 21st 2010 12:39 am

Supersilent: 11

Rune Grammofon 2010
06 Tracks. 37mins28secs

Amazon UK: LP US: LP Norman Records: LP

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. Continue Reading »

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Oct 19th 2010 12:57 am

Various Artists: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep

Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep
Rune Grammofon 2010
13 Tracks. 75mins24secs

Amazon UK: CD US: CD | LP Norman Records: CD | LP

Twelve years on from Supersilent’s monumental triple CD debut release, Rune Grammofon have reached a new milestone with this, their hundredth release. Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep collects thirteen tracks, twelve of which exclusive to this album, from quite a wide cross-section of the label’s roster, ranging from long-serving acts (Alog, Scorch Trio, Supersilent, Ultralyd, In The Country, Deathprod or Maja Ratjke) to more recent joiners (Espen Eriksen Trio, Puma, Bushman’s Revenge or new signing Jenny Hval).

There are few record labels who have developed such a strong and consistent aesthetic as Rune Grammofon, not only visually, there is not one release which hasn’t had the Kim Hiorthøy treatment, but also through its catalogue, which, in the case of Rune Grammofon stretches from abstract jazz, traditional Scandinavian folk to ambient electronic music and from ethereal pop to avant-garde classical to heavy metal, always with a strong exploratory angle at its core. Continue Reading »

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SUPERSILENT: 10 (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Sep 30th 2010 12:17 am

Supersilent: 10

Rune Grammofon 2010
12 Tracks. 41mins46secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | LP Norman Records: CD | LP

For the last couple of years, Supersilent have been operating as a trio following the departure of drummer Jale Vespestad, but, far from hindering their progress, this seems to have opened an entirely new field of experimentation for Arve Henriksen, Ståle Storløkken and Helge Sten. Following the beautifully introspective 9, released just over a year ago in Scandinavia, 10 denotes another foray into deeply atmospheric grounds, but unlike its predecessor, for which the trio used only sounds sourced from Hammond organs, this latest offering is surprisingly acoustic and delicate. Storløkken on piano for the first time in Supersilent, and Henriksen on trumpet dominate this album, with Sten weaving discreet electronic textures in the backdrop. Most of the tracks were recorded early last year shortly after Vespestad announced he 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 imminently.

This move toward predominantly acoustic instrumentation shows Supersilent under radically different lights to anything they have served up until now. Continue Reading »

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SUPERSILENT: 9 (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Jan 6th 2010 01:03 am

Supersilent: 9

Rune Grammofon 2009
04 Tracks. 50mins45secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD Amazon US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD iTunes: DLD

Necessity is the mother of all (re-)inventions. This must have been in the mind of the three remaining members of Supersilent following the departure of drummer Jarle Vespestad last year. Not that the band are strangers to regeneration. Indeed, each one of their six releases to date has, in one way or another, seen them going back to the drawing board, but, for the first time since Helge Sten joined the original trio of Arve Henriksen, StÃ¥le Storløkken and Vesperstad in 1997, the fundamental dynamic of the band has changed. And Supersilent have changed with it. With Vesperstad‘s rhythmic powerhouse gone, Henriksen, Sten and Storløkken have created a totally atmospheric and moody record; not one that growls, threatens or jumps at the throat, but one that lurks in smoky corners and dark alleyways. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Jan 4th 2010 12:17 am

10 years in 20 records

The noughties have seen probably the most radical changes in the music industries since the advent of the record. Consumption habits have dramatically moved from traditional to digital formats, music has been increasingly seen as something to steal rather than to buy, and listening habits means that nowadays, the album is becoming increasingly redundant. Or is it? Whereas it had, at least in some circles, become totally acceptable to fill records with substandard music, it is now essential for artists to create consistent pieces of work if they want to retain the attention of their audience. The last ten years have delivered their fair share of hits and misses, and this list doesn’t pretend to be in any way shape or form exhaustive. This is just, in no particular order, the definitive list of the 20 albums that have defined the noughties at themilkfactory.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Money Will Ruin Everything: Second Edition (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Apr 16th 2009 12:25 am

Various Artists: Money Will Ruin Everything: The Second Edition

Money Will Ruin Everything: The Second Edition
Rune Grammofon 2009
25 Tracks. 152mins42secs

Icon: arrow Buy: CD

‘It’s hard work to sell Rune CD outside of a small group of freaks’. To celebrate its first five years of activity, Norwegian label Rune Grammofon issued Money Will Ruin Everything, a beautiful limited collection documenting the label’s first few years spent charting the outer reaches of the music industry, spread over two CDs and presented with a book designed by Kim Hiorthøy. Fast forward five years and a few months, and it is time for label owner Rune Kristoffersen to look back once again and take stock of one of the most eclectic and forward-thinking catalogue around. And once again, Kim Hiorthøy, who is still single-handedly responsible for the visual identity of the label, including its occasional advertising, has designed a beautiful artefact, which collects not only the two CDs of this second edition of Money Will Ruin Everything, introduced by Geoff Travis and Robert Fricke, but also essays by Wire collaborator Rob Young and design consultant Adrian Shaughnessy, photographs and artwork reproductions. Continue Reading »

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SUPERSILENT: 8 (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Nov 29th 2007 01:30 am

Supersilent: 8

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. Continue Reading »

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