The music is, as usual, extremely complex, enthralling and exhilarating. The addition of vocal elements, defined somewhere between tribal chant and primal scream, provide an additional layer of grit. The music is utterly unpredictable and visceral. The formation is found exploring the outer limits of musicality and noise, combining both into something totally fascinating. Being given the chance to visualise the creative process as captured doesn't dispel the mystic of the work of these four men. In fact, if anything, it adds to it, as, thanks to Hiorthøy's uncompromising editing, the viewer is often thrown right in the heart of the action, spying on each musician almost simultaneously, and left witnessing the exchange of ideas and complete communication through the music. ”7” is a vibrant document of what Supersilent are, and captures the band in its rawest and most captivating form. 5/5.
It's one of the most engrossing and well-conceived concert films of the past few years. The strobe lights, the distortions, and the occasional blinding swell of light that engulfs the band from behind, all complement the music; they illustrate its ambiguity, and its endless, shadowy corners. 8.3
Filmed in stark cinema verité black and white, it puts the viewer-listener in the heart of the band's process, allowing you to see and hear the music unfold and develop in a way that is not nearly so clear when only listening. The extraordinary young trumpet player and vocalist Arve Henriksen is the revelation here, constructing solos from wisps of breath and voice that recalls the Japanese shakuhachi, a bamboo flute, more than any traditional trumpet playing. A riveting experience.
New York Times (US)
One gets to witness the physical interaction undertaken by Supersilent, without there being the remotest danger of their lapsing into the spectacular posturing of would be icons. And play they do, as effectively as anyone in the world right now, accessible yet challenging, luxuriant yet austere, probing a northerly and neglected no man´s land between jazz and rock improvisation. And, while Supersilent do repeat some of their tactics over the full stretch suggesting their bag of tricks is not bottomless, they sound like a group who are many decades from growing weary od tiresome.
The Wire (UK)
I caught a rare Supersilent show in Oslo, in 2003, after the Norwegian quartet had just released their sixth album. My life in a period of intense flux, I stood transfixed by their wise, regenerative music, feeling myself remould into something freed and healed. This beautifully shot concert is a reminder of how their perpetually mobile sound is mirrored in their onstage dymanic, you can see how the sound is passed around in some intricate glass-bead game until all considerations of personality and individual style are subsumed into a fearless group mind. Supersilent should be required listening for all free musicians, now there´s some required watching too.
Plan B (UK)
A portentous seriousness surrounds the seventh (and, according to rumour, last) release from Norway’s genre-smashing ambient-jazz pioneers, and rightly so: this is as important a document of intense, ground-breaking improvisation as you’re likely to hear, or see, all year. Filmed and edited by Norwegian multi-media artist, and Rune Grammofon sleeve designer, Kim Hiorthoy, the DVD employs his trademark clarity and precision, capturing the event on black and white 16mm film with very few gimmicks. For the most part the musicians are presented in close up, sometimes silhouetted against the stage’s bright backlights, sometimes shrouded in a more impenetrable darkness. There are some unobtrusive effects, such as a slightly psychedelic ‘double-vision’ that accompanies some of the more exploratory passages, but on the whole the feel is atmospheric and cool with a capital ‘C’, almost like a 21st century take on the hackneyed image of the jazz club, minus the cigarette smoke. The music itself is simply breathtaking. Six entirely improvised tracks, as usual named only with a number, capturing Supersilent at the darker, heavier end of their sound-palette. Then it’s all over. The band exits the stage, leaving just the faint steam of activity and the elusive, momentary glory of the music hanging in the air. We can only hope that the rumours have got it wrong: we simply can’t allow this to be Supersilent’s last hurrah. Start organising your petitions now!
The music alone in these first two tracks would finish off most bands, it's that intense, no wonder they all seem set to collapse as each performance finishes. “7.3” is a more searching modalesque composition built around Arve's rich harmonius vocalese with the airy keyboard patterns and haunting repetitive motifs before it ventures forth into the unknown. “7.4” centres around the eastern melodies from the solo trumpet, before the other members gradually enter the frame in a tranced out state, I'm tempted to compare this track to Miles's “In A Silent Way” but considering this is Supersilent comparisons are futile. The rest of the concert continues in more astonishing fashion. The camera work is sublime as well, shot in the blackest of black and white by Kim Hiorthoy, think “Eraserhead”, the fire extinguished only after 1 hour and 48 minutes have passed. Incredible. The concert recorded 16.08.2004 at Parkteatret, Oslo. Truly shocking music from one the worlds most original bands on frightening form.
It´s difficult to separate the music from the film, and it´s the chemistry between the band members that is the strongest card of this release. You can hear the sparks flowing, but here you can see it as well, so to say. Even if the whole production is at a very high level throughout, one highlight is ”7.3”. Here Hiorthøy follows the band´s speed and intensity closely, and when the half hour long track starts growing after twenty minutes it´s right up there among moments of genious. Ten minutes of pure ecstasy. Music, light and picture seem to melt into a total and symbiotic experience that is difficult to compare to anything else. 7/7.
When the future history of jazz will be written Supersilent have already secured a place as pioneers and trendsetters. Four unique sound creators, each of them having put their personal mark on countless productions, have in Supersilent created a synthesis of all that moves in Norwegian contemporary music, free improvisation, open meditative landscapes and clusters of violent explositions. An all defining crossing of genres with roots in history and sights set at the future. The film is is black and white with focus on contrasts, light and movement. Change between close-ups and over-view scenes, sometimes in an almost abstract way, captures the musicians glances and physical presence. In this way ”7” has become an artistic entity in itself, adding new dimensions to this groups impressive production work. 6/6.
Filmed at Parkteatret, Oslo in August, 2004, the performance itself is often downright stunning. As with most of Supersilent's output, this generous 109-minute set largely defies categorization (the comparison to the Miles Davis band of the early-'70s might be the most accurate) as the free-flowing foursome fuses ambient passages with modal jazz and progressive rock with surges of noise and Eastern melodies. A deeply moving and physical experience from the most lethal improv combo of the present. No overdubs, just pure, raw energy.
Other Music (US)
The music Supersilent deliver on ”7” is completely brilliant. Their totally own mix of jazz, electronica and prog belongs to the very top drawer when it comes to brain and heart, both in our western neighbour country and in the world and here they prove it once again. One hour and fifty minutes pure joy. Regarding the footage, there´s nothing negative to say, either. Supersilent are actually very visually attractive, as they sit rocking. And the camerawork is nice. 8/10.
The 108 minute concert is recorded entirely in black and white, the group seated in semi-darkness, the lighting calculated perfectly to highlight the drama of their performance. The six pieces of music captured here navigate a spectrum from an instense mainlining of primal urges to a delicately hushed lyricism. Such is the power of ”Supersilent 7” that it´s difficult to imagine anybody not being both moved and changed by it.
Fantastic. Simply fantastic.
This year´s best Norwegian album can not be put in a cd player.
This is a unique opportunity to see one of Norways´s most exciting bands communicate and build a sound of wall monster that they time after time break through in search for silence. Kim Hiorthøy´s effective black and white footage gives the concert a very stylistic character, often with direct focus on the musicians but also drifting away in unfocused glimpses to break up something that could have become monotonous. ”7” is simply a gift to anyone who loves noice, free jazz, electronica, rock and experimental music.
Soundwise Supersilent have been the sharpest knife in the drawer for a long time, well documented both on record and in concert. So if was only a question of time before a visual documentation from the best possible angle, the concert stage. Musically this is Supersilent at their very best, a concert where the leaps are big, the attacks brutally energetic and where silence is the fourth wall in improvisation and composition. The pictures are crystal clear, as is the sound. You wont get closer to a concert without being there, in this case a concert that is already said to be one of their very best.
I remember once trying to explain to someone of just how wonderful Supersilent are and in the end taking them to see the band perform at the Purcell Rooms, an hour into the show they were convinced. Therein lies the beauty of this DVD, being able to watch the four band members working off each other, Arve Henriksen on a wooden chair centre stage surrounded ominously by keyboards and drums, taking the size of the stage and reducing it to the bare essentials for the band. Supersilent make improvised music that by turns glows, terrifies, enlightens, excites, but above all fills me with joy. Theirs is the sound of fjords in creation, glacial shifts of noise bursting from contemplative phases of subtle sound. This release then is the perfect introduction for newcomers to the world of Supersilent and easy access into their live world for those already fans.
The cameras capture faces in deep consentrasion, in and out of focus before we´re back on stage. Kim Hiorthøy has found a fine visual expression for the music, which can go from massive walls of noice to careful, hymnlike singing.
Bergens Tidende (NO)
Supersilent traps jazz in a network of wires, scatters it through 21st century fiber optics, reassembles it into transnational splatter. When the machine met man, creativity was not killed in the collision, but multiplied into schizophrenia, a condition channeled and honed by the Norwegian quartet. Their improvisational process is dizzying enough to hear, but on 7 we're forced to see it too. I say forced, because there is no escaping this DVD. Through an abundance of how-are-they-doing-that moments, 7 induces participation. Though the film, an entire concert recorded in Oslo in 2005, becomes exhausting as it nears a second hour, its length should be celebrated. On 7, Supersilent further cements its reputation as the jazz band to be seen and heard by the post-everything generation.
Shot in lush black and white, there are chapter breaks for each of the six untitled compositions, but no extras, no menus, no FBI warning or any other extraneous stuff, just brilliant, insinuating, unclassifiable music for slightly over an hour. Highly, highly recommended to any adventurous ear.
Global Rhythm (US)
The foursome weave an intense head-twisting ebb and flow out of electronics, trumpet and drums with more than a touch of Miles Davis´ frenetic early 70s jams in there.
“7”, the latest live album from Norway's Supersilent, shows music at its most multidimensional and promiscuous. The quietly medititative crawl of a Mellotron against a brittle digital canvas gives way to chromatic tidal rolls of metallic sound, darting synths, and the agonized squeal of Arve Henriksen's trumpet. The album is in DVD format, but the added visuals do nothing to demystify these dark, brooding compositions, the image of four sleek individuals set against a black-and-white stage simply adds to the many enchanting tangles and delicious sensual contrasts forged on the spot. True, Henrikson often seems an easy focal point. But it's more accurate to say that no one player is outdone by any of the others. Supersilent capably craft a colorful, engaging pastiche of sound, merging free jazz, ambient, and rock improvisation into one startlingly complex, yet wholly approachable, document.
Best Live Performance (Duo or Group)
Supersilent – 7 (Runner Up: Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice – Moon Void of Course)
Moon Void Of Course may be the most far-out tour documentation I’ve laid eyes upon, but sadly the performances from WWVV are not the best James Toth and company have to offer. Supersilent’s latest album via DVD, however, is some of the most simplistic and beautiful takes on minimalism to be found. 7 is a gorgeous black and white document of Supersilent performing new material to a hungry audience. The atmosphere is ripe with creativity. If only some chain smokers had taken up the front rows, we’d be in for the musical equivalent to Good Night and Good Luck. The throwback to a forgotten time in jazz minimalism paired with a group truly hitting their prime is enough to catapult 7 over the 21st Century Flower Power of Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice/Sky High Band/Omen Bones Band.
They're an electro-acoustic improvisational group that has some jazz elements. I always wished that Tortoise was able to improvise like Supersilent. We've tried. We have great improvisers but for some reason we just can't really pull it off. Supersilent are so utterly unique because I can think of very few groups that have that level of empathy and innate understanding-- it's almost like precognition. They're speaking to each other without saying anything, it's incredible. You see a group like that and you're like, "How do they do it?"
John McEntire (Tortoise)