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Reviews RCD2162

"12" is a record of textures, mesmeric and immersive, forever unfolding to distant horizon. Nothing happens, everything happens, as layers of sound slowly collide like tectonic plates. So when fragments of melody do emerge, for instance via Henriksen´s trumpet on "12.7" and "12.8", they are all the more powerful: poignant points of focus as the ground beneath them is torn into strips or crumpled like paper by Sten (aka Deathprod) and Storløkken. More than 15 years after they formed, Supersilent remain both deeply unusal and powerfully affecting.
Jazzwise (UK)

Supersilent are now operating deep within alien territory. The thirteen nameless pieces contained herein sound as though no human hand or consciousness can have directed their construction, only being present to document these unearthly electronic enviroments. Much of Supersilent 12 sounds as though contagion has deliberately been spread through hard drives and software to form atmospheres redolent of volatile electrical storms thundering and howling in deep conductive chambers that will never be seen by any living soul´s eyes. Reminiscent of the otherwordly extremes of Coil´s ANS project, each track is a portal into terrifying variations on vintage BBC Radiophonic Workshop interplanetary atmospheres brought flailing and screaming into modern dimensions. Damaged and glistening with menace yet beautiful in its precision, you´re left wondering if Supersilent 12 can only be the unnameable final destination point for this unique trio.
Rock-a-Rolla (UK)

With ominous rumblings, drones and an unsettling, mechanistic thrum, the opening moments of the 12th release by this resepected Norwegian band could provide the perfect soundtrack to a dystopian sci-fi movie... Though largely stately, the often abrasive harmonies and dynamics sparks push the album light years away from the decorative passivity of ambient music. Instead, the assembled ranks of synths and manipulated FX operate with a free improv sense of nuanced deliberation. With no rush to fill the gaps, ideas drift hazily in and out of the foreground like dust motes unexpectedly exposed in shafts of light. The ability to summon up and navigate a way through nebulous and numinous regions recalls the impressionistic atmospheres found in "Zeit" or "Atem"-era Tangerine Dream. Like them, when Supersilent push toward the frontiers, it can be a chilly but breathtaking ride.
Prog (UK)

Ever since drummer Jarle Vespestad left Supersilent in 2009, the remaining trio have steadily expunged the remaining traces of jazz and improv from the group sound. Their first album in four years, with material drawn from three separate sessions in 2011, leans towards a heavily atmospheric electronic ambient aesthetic. There´s a palpable sense of depht and distance in these short pieces - not least those recorded in Oslo´s Emanuel Vigeland museum, famous for its 20 second natural reverb. At the same time, there´s a decidedly cosmic vibe at work, with Ståle Storløkken´s keyboards whooshing and squelching like an early 1970s Sun Ra synth expedition. Arve Henriksen´s softly rounded trumpet sounds vulnerable and terrified - as though he´s glancing upwards at an interstellar craft slowly floating by.
The Wire (UK)

Album number 12 is possibly their most desolate and pulseless outing to date, demanding total immersion before revealing its detailed micro-reliefs. Some of its best moments occur when Henriksen´s slightly vulnerable trumpet brings a splash of colour to the largely monochrome soundscapes, and if you´ve enjoyed his recent "Chron" and "Cosmic Creation" you´ll love this unapologetically abstruse and beguiling music.
Jazz Journal (UK)

Reverting to the trio of Arve Henriksen, Ståle Storløkken and Helge Sten, Supersilent have moved away from rock and avant-jazz toward a melding of the fourth-world atmospherics of Henriksen´s recent solo work and the rumbling ambience of Sten´s outings as Deathprod. Although entirely improvised and recorded with no pre-planning, "12"´s sound-world is seamless and hermetic. Supersilent don´t do titles, but "Lamentation At The Last Post" would suit.
Mojo (UK)

Dirrende klangflater, nyanserike som atmosfærer, og en murrende analogsynth i det dypeste toneleiet fargelegges forsiktig av en sober trompet. Jeg lukker øynene, og grovkornede bilder av diffuse skikkelser flimrer forbi. Den skrekkinngytende tendensen opprettholdes langt på vei. Jeg tror aldri jeg har hørt Supersilent så billedsterke. Den lavmælte murringen er nifsere enn all verdens ekstremmetall. Supersilent 12 kunne vært lydsporet til en spesielt intens horrorfilm, der noe forferdelig helt opplagt kommer til skje. Forventningen gjør at du holder pusten platen gjennom... Etter at trommeslager Jarle Vespestad ga seg i 2008, opererer Supersilent innenfor et smalere dynamisk spekter, men samtidig åpner de opp for finere nyanser. Resultatet er at de høres mer lydhøre ut enn noen gang... Henriksen, Storløkken og Vespestad hadde allerede åtte års fartstid sammen som Veslefrekk da Helge Sten tok initiativ til samarbeidet som ble til Supersilent i 1997. Side da er det blitt mange flere som driver med fri-improvisert musikk i Norge, men få har nådd samme forfinede samspillniva som det trehodede trollet fra Røros, Dombås og Stryn.
Morgenbladet (NO)

Mot slutten av 90-tallet etablerte Supersilent seg som at av mine favorittband over natten. Kvartetten tok ikke bare opp i seg de elementene jeg verdsetter i musikk, men utviklet et bevegelig kollektivt uttrykk med sterk egenart. Jarle Vespestad, Helge Sten, Arve Henriksen og Ståle Storløkken lekte seg fritt og progressivt frem og lot uforutsigbarhet og overraskelse drifte plater så vel som konserter... Det musikalske bygget Supesilent har reist fra 1997 og frem til i dag, er formidabelt. Den uttalte evnen til å kombinere gjenkjennelighet med forandring avgir tyngde i seg selv, men det er bandets vitale puls og kreative vesen som gir det plass blant de fremste. Jeg hadde ikke lyttet til dem på en stund, men når de nå er tilbake etter fire år, vekkes gleden over det styggvakre, stillferdige og monumentale. 5/6.
Aftenposten (NO)

"12" påenbarer seg etter hvert som en solid tilvekst til en imponerende katalog, der det stillfarne og nyanserike materialet gir et godt utgangspunkt for fine opplevelser. Selv om selve kildematerialet er av eldre dato, representerer den også en åpenbar utvikling av konseptet. Og om jeg underveis får lyst til å lytte videre på komponister som Francois Bayle, Luigi Nono og Henri Pousseur, sier det mest om hvilken divisjon den norske trioen spiller i. "12" er hele veien interessant, og innimellom også direkte vakker. 5/6.
Klassekampen (NO)

"12" er nok en kompromissløs, sjangeroverskridende og kontrastfylt lyttesensasjon. Fra det lyriske til det abstrakte, ubehag til behag, gjennom det dynamiske og det statiske med skarpe og myke lyder, fra tidløshet til fremdrift beveger Supersilent seg i et meget åpent lydlandskap. Musikernes store improvisasjons-kunstneriske ferdigheter krever en tilstedeværelse fra lytterne. Investeringen man legger i lyttingen tilbakebetales med en unik lytteopplevelse der man også får delta i sentrum av musikkens kommunikative prosess. 5/5.
Gaffa (NO)

Med "12" er dusinet fullt for ett av Norges viktigste band de siste 20 årene. Det er fire år siden sist improvisasjonsbandet Supersilent ga ut nytt materiale – usedvanlig lenge til dem å være. Sist uke sto deres monumentale debut "1-3" (trippel-CD, 1998) på nye Jazznytts liste over tidenes norske jazzplater. Her skriver redaktør Rob Young om hvordan Supersilent entret 90-tallsjazzen "med sin tornado av kantete støykaos"… Arve Henriksens trompet har en gjennomtrengende tone som lett dominerer sammenhenger han er med i. Her kommer ikke Henriksen innpå før godt ut i spor nummer 5 (alle Supersilent-album og spor har nummer som titler, lik abstrakte malerier som ikke har noen tittel, for å unngå å styre seerens opplevelse). Videre utover på plata høres blåseinstrumentene hans ut som lyder laget av dyr snarere enn mennesker, mot baktepper av merkverdig stillfaren støy fra Sten, underlig dempede drønn, som metalliske klanger fra utdødd industri. Det er mange skumle greier her, gjennom platas 13 korte spor, til det toner ut med nesten sakrale orgelklanger, og noen øyeblikk av harmoni – slik de også bød på under konserten. Igjen visker Supersilent ut grensene mellom jazz, improv, elektronika, støy og samtidsmusikk, til de står igjen som bare seg selv. Og Supersilent låter alltid slående annerledes. Det er kanskje det mest imponerende, etter 12 album og snart 14 år med Supersilent. 5/6.
Dagsavisen (NO)

Eschatological harbingers, Supersilent reveal their 12th full length vision for Rune Grammofon. Produced and mixed by Helge Sten (Deathprod) from hours of recordings at his Audio Virus LAB, and also Athletic Sound in Halden, and the Emanuel Vigeland museum, known for its 20 second natural reverb, '12' renders the void within touching distance in 13 life-affirmingly free, intuitive soundscapes too wide or deep to be contained by any sole genre. Operating at practically precognitive levels of communication, the improvisations of Arve Henriksen, Ståle Storløkken, and Helge Sten render majestic spaces for the imagination to float unhindered, coloured by spectral tonal hues and quivering with the most tactile, plangent sub-atomic vibes. We could rant about this stuff all day but ultimately it's music to be plunged into feet first until it chokes, consumes and indulges all the senses at any expense.
Boomkat (UK)

Longtime ultimate aQ faves Supersilent, the Norwegian quote-unquote death jazz unit featuring trumpeter Arve Henriksen, electronic 'audio virus' producer Helge "Deathprod" Sten, and keyboardist Stale Storlokken, had not released an album since 2010, when both Supersilent 10 and 11 came out, until this new one, titled in their standard chronological fashion, Supersilent 12, of course. (And along with this release, Supersilent 11 has now also simultaneously been made available on cd for the first time, see the nearby review for that.)
So, it's been four years, and worth the wait - Supersilent 12 is a veritable doozy. And a perfect release for this Halloween-y time of the year, as it's both spooky and powerful, reminiscent of a 20th (21st!) Century avant-classical, electroacoustic piece, very soundtracky/soundscapey, Supersilent this time around sounding much more like Xenakis or Ligeti, than the Miles Davis meets Autechre mashup they sometimes have achieved. It's droning, dynamic, totally cold-void-conjuring stuff! Lots of unidentifiable abstract tones and drones, from shimmering, keening high end to tinkling, mysterious melody to deeper lower end ominousness, certainly not in any way jazzy or hyper rhythmic, more about texture and emotion. You do hear in some passages the trademark breathy melancholia of Henriksen's lyrical trumpet, as it appears backgrounded by ever-so-slightly-glitchy electronics, strident drones, and doleful, Varese-like percussion, though.
It's serious, it's kind of scary, it's often quite beautiful. Definitely an impressive return statement from these guys, proving that they maintain the ambition to explore new territory and conquer it as well. Not that Deathprod, at least, hasn't ventured into the cold void before...
Aquarius (US)

Somewhere in the back of my head I know Supersilent is a famous group, but I am not sure why. I think I heard some of the earliest works, then a long time nothing at all, so '12' is me getting back to know them. I usually leave promos from Rune Grammofon to Dolf Mulder, but usually have a listen myself first and I decided to keep this. Supersilent is a trio of Arve Henriksen (trumpet, electronics), Stale Storlokken (keyboards, electronics) and Helge Sten (audio virus, electronics), and they play music together through ways of improvisation. They duly record all of this and hand it out to Deathprod - which is Helge Sten actually - who then produces then the music. I am not sure how that works: does he have access to the multi-track tapes? Or perhaps he takes everything apart and uses the studio as new instrument? Whatever the case might be, the music is pretty interesting. It's all very electronic, a bit dark, but Henriksen's trumpet add a particular smoky nightclub jazz feeling to it; maybe like a film noir soundtrack. The jazz element is not very strong per se, but places nice accents in the music. The music is very moody and textured, something which I don't seem to remember from the '1-3' box set which I heard years ago, which somehow was reminded here as more 'deconstructed rock' music. Now that Supersilent no longer has a drummer, this is perhaps the logical direction to move in? These soundscapes are short (usually between three and four minutes) and to the point, each with it's own distinct atmosphere, yet all of them together creating a great coherent album. Excellent release!
Vital Weekly (NE)

Nach einer Phase der Enthaltsamkeit meldet sich das norwegische Trio Supersilent zurück. Die drei Multitasker Helge Sten, Arve Henriksen und Ståle Storløkken tragen die Erfahrungen aller möglichen Solo-Exkurse auf "12" (Rune Grammofon/Cargo) zu einer nebulösen Ambient-Reise ins Nirwana zusammen. Einen Schwerpunkt hat das Album ebenso wenig, wie sich mit Ausnahme von Henriksens Trompete konkrete Klangimpulse zuordnen lassen; stattdessen schwebt es unentwegt in der Schwere. Die Stücke beschreiben eine endlose Seilbahnfahrt durch eine verhangene Gebirgslandschaft: ohne Hoffnung auf Ankunft. Der Wind pfeift und von unten greift der Abgrund. In seiner depressiven Grundstimmung ist "12" das richtige Album zum Herbst.
Jazzthing (DE)

This album is really creepy, unheimliche Musik, it’s not to blame on the mausoleum alone. There is nothing uplifting here, it’s blue music for thinking and deep listening.
Manafonistas (DE)

Vier Jahre nach den Alben „10“ (grau) und „11“ (rot), aber keinen Monat, nachdem die Resultate der Sessions zu „11“ erstmals nicht nur auf Vinyl, sondern auch auf CD erhältlich sind, erscheint jetzt „12“ (dunkelblau) des norwegischen Klangforscher-Trios Supersilent. Da die drei Beteiligten Helge Sten (aka Deathprod), Arve Henriksen und Stâle Storløkken allesamt in diversen Projekten wie Motorpsycho, Humcrush,The White Birch und als Leader eigener Bands viel beschäftigte Multiinstrumentalisten sind, fällt die Dauer des Produktionsprozesses nicht ins Gewicht. Die Komplexität der Post-Production dagegen ist nicht zu unterschätzen. Zumal Supersilent als Band bekanntlich nicht proben, sondern sich nur im Studio und auf der Bühne begegnen, wo dann nach Möglichkeit Absprachen vermieden werden, um spontan kollektiv zu improvisieren. So faszinieren hier die dräuenden, sämtliche Genres zwischen Electronica, Industrial, Improv und Neuer Musik transzendierenden Klanglandschaften, bei denen es oft rätselhaft bleibt, mit welchen Mitteln sie überhaupt produziert worden sind. Da ist man mitunter schon erleichtert, wenn Henriksens Trompete einmal nicht elektronisch manipuliert klingt, sondern nach einer, äh, japanische Folklore spielenden Flöte. 5/5.
Klenkes (DE)

Arve Henriksen, Ståle Storløkken und Helge Sten aka Deathprod beherrschen die Kunst der Improvisation auf einem Level, das man präkognitiv oder telepathisch nennen kann. Jedenfalls beweist ihre monolithische Präsenz als Gruppe ziemlich eindrucksvoll, wie das Individuum auf gleichsam magische Weise im totalen Kollektiv aufgeht. Die Intensität der Gruppenerfahrung wird noch dadurch gefördert, dass es die Regel des Kollektivs ist, sich nur zu Konzerten und Aufnahmen zu treffen. Somit ist auch das zwölfte Album von Supersilent ein Zeugnis einmaliger Momente im musikalischen Niemandsland der Genres, zwischen Avantgarde, Free Jazz, Rock, elektronischer und neuer Musik.
Westzeit (DE)

Das ist vielleicht die konsequenteste Band des hohen Nordens. Keine Proben, keine Kompositionen, keine Stück- und CD-Titel. Stattdessen alles schön durchnummeriert wie für ein ordentlich geführtes Archiv der spontanen und nicht sehr häufigen Begegnungen im Studio und auf der Bühne. Seit 1997 geht das so und auch auf CD Nummer 12 sind die Ergebnisse aus dem supersilent-Zwischenreich von Electronica, Free Jazz und Avantgarde-Rock ein erst durch diese vom Quartett zum schlagzeuglosen Trio geschrumpfte, erstaunlich stabile Band formulierter meditativer Futurismus. Helge Sten, Ståle Storløkken und Arve Henriksen sind jeder für sich Instanzen der progressiven Musik Norwegens. Sphärische Drones und Klangberge, wie verloren und doch aufgehoben darin einsame Trompetenexerzitien, alles zusammen ist Telepathie.
Leipziger Volkszeitung (DE)

12 (RCD2162), die - logisch - 12. von Arve Henriksen, Helge Sten & Ståle Storløkken, ist, obwohl in dreizehn Abschnitte codiert, dennoch ein einziger dark ambienter Flow. Eine faszinierende Électronique Noire, wie man sie von Norwegern erhoffen darf und wie man sie auch bei SUPERSILENT immer gewärtig sein muss. Auf der inneren Lein­wand entfaltet sich mit, wie es scheint, hauptsächlich elektronischen Mitteln etwas Unheimliches. Unbehagen paart sich mit der Neugier, herauszufinden, wo man da hin­geraten ist. Angezogen wie von einem Magneten, einem schwarzen Loch, einem sanf­ten Mahlstrom, dem schillernden und strudelnden Zentrum eines undurchsichtigen Zwielichts, in dem dann doch, kaum noch erwartet, Henriksens Trompete aufstrahlt, wenn auch schon wie nicht mehr ganz von dieser Welt. So schlafwandlerisch jeden­falls, als wären ihre Klänge kaum noch von Bewusstsein gesteuert. Dazu quellen und wabern Soundwolken, wie von den Fingern eines blinden Moogspielers oder Organis­ten ertastet. Und ein zweites Mal hebt Henriksens Horn zu leuchten an, um über eine unbeantwortete, vielleicht unbeantwortbare Frage zu brüten, die dann auch wieder in einem Rauschen untergeht, einem Elektronensturm, der frösteln lässt. Die Trompete, die dabei zu verkümmern scheint, hält aber, unverzagt zagend, fest an ihrem Sehnen, gegen stumpfe Impulse, gegen dräuend schweifendes Gedröhn, mit letzter Kraft. Auf einmal wird die Atmosphäre unter der rechten Hand am Keyboard ganz kristallin, al­lerdings mit gedämpften Detonationen im Bassbereich. Soundwolken quellen mit ver­stärkter Virulenz, anschwellendes Gedröhn steigt am Horizont hoch. Alarmierte An­sätze münden in weiteres Brüten. Eine Glocke schlägt düstere Sekunden. Wilde Strah­lenbündel zucken über einem grollenden Abgrund. Bis sich doch eine nicht mehr er­hoffte Pforte für die Trompete auftut, die in Trauer und Hoffnung gewandet auf die Schwelle tritt. Aber bloß die Trauer, nicht die Hoffnung, findet Durchlass.
Bad Alchemy (DE)

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