This Norwegian quartet has remained a favorite over the years, taking their sparse, icy sound (which spins on an axis of early ECM and Miles Davis' circa "He Loved Him Madly" to devastating effect) and always finding new folds within it. So when it was announced that percussionist Jarle Vespestad left the band before recording their ninth release, we were wondering just where the group would head. A drummerless trio along the lines of Jimmy Giuffre, perhaps? Or go get another percussionist? Call it a day? No matter what our predictions were, a disc of four massive outré soundscapes concocted on three Hammond organs (and mixed by Deathprod) never crossed our minds! Eerie, nuanced, patient, gorgeous, and more, this sees Supersilent striking out for new lands yet again.
Other Music (US)
The throb is the thing on “Supersilent 9” (Rune Grammofon), the ninth release from this experimental Norwegian collective. Freely improvised and glacial in its movements, the album features everyone in the band on Hammond organ, even though they aren't, strictly speaking, organists. This is not crazy, though it's a little perverse: the idea apparently arose after the decampment of the group's longtime drummer. (The utter absence of rhythm here registers almost as an act of passive protest.) Over the course of four tracks that are numbered rather than titled, in accordance with Supersilent custom, the remaining three members - Arve Henriksen, Stale Storlokken and Helge Sten ( aka Deathprod), who also produced - shape a swirling fog of quavers, chirps, rumbles and drones. It's music to get lost in, stumbling slowly through the dark.
New York Times (US)
Like getting a bold new haircut after being dumped by a lover, the three remaining members have abandoned their former roles, recording instead a session with all three improvising simultaneously on Hammond organs, pulling a broad palette of sounds from the guts of the keyboards, from deep rumbles and throbs to twinkling chimes and shrill blasts. There was always a hint of the cosmic about Supersilent, with Storløkken´s plangent synths conjuring Sun Ra´s wide-eyed evocation of astral spaces; unhitched from the earthy weight of the drums, the music soars into ever vaster and more desolate reaches. Essentially, it's the sound of exploration, of a group searching for a new direction. More than ever, it's the documentation of a process rather than a product and, while it might not have the same structural logic as some of Supersilent's best work,
Radicality is called Supersilent in Norway, and not only there. The band, which has been hymnized several times in this gazette, which never rehearses and never discusses their music, but only meets for concerts and recordings, takes radicalism to a new peak in the current number 9 of its list of works. After percussionist Jarle Vespestad's abrupt, not entirely radical, exit one (!) Day before the recording sessions for this album, Sten, Storlokken & Henriksen meet as an abysmal Hammond organ trio! Certainly: A radical concept is one thing; there are plenty of them across all genres. But only with the fewest concepts, such as pointed, sophisticated or scientific to philosophical they may all come out music in the back. The idea behind it is often unique and its expression to be forgotten, then again the music sounds casual and its ulterior motive larifari. And that is precisely - inseparable from Supersilent's hard as an intellectual and therefore political approach - his invaluable asset: the musical added value resulting from radical thinking. The dark (Sten also operates under the name Deathprod!) And the ghostly, the subcutaneous and the subversive, the cave of despair and the cliffs of madness are just a few of the milestones completed here, the completely reduced 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 and 9.4 be called. Apart from that, the authoritarian abuse of the organ (albeit "only" in its Hammond version) is, of course, secularized and appropriated appropriately; and not - as for example by Linz09 music director Peter Androsch (see freiStil # 23) - accepted as unchangeable by the church. Self-empowerment rules. So I'm sorry because (hopefully wrongly) it smells of corruption or narrowing of taste: With this record, Supersilent has to be at the top of the current freestyle hit parade again.
.... As if the proverbial silver lining, the dawn or an evening gold edge turned into delicate tones, even the most delicate. They grow crystalline and sparkle in the twilight. I am tempted to call it impressionistic if it weren't for something that eludes the eyes and bare senses dreamily, almost mystically. In the end the music goes back to silence, without rearing up, without pathos. Wondrous and quite extraordinary.
Bad Alchemy (DE)
Supersilent remain true to their name: the music seems to live in the silence from which it slowly emerges - and into which it steps back again. The dynamic arches remain rather flat, here tension is not generated by clumsy tempo changes or volume differences, but the entertaining attention is offered an entertaining listening experience. Sometimes on the border to the 1960s Italo-SciFi Camp, with a sublime religious tone, elsewhere an almost playful interplay of swellings, noisy densifications and surprising transitions. All of this comes across without the sacred seriousness of the Frickelklang faction. Supersilent doesn't need that.
Supersilent is probably the most consistent, the most adventurous and the most extravagant band in the far north. There are no titles, no references to the cast, and certainly no information whatsoever on the CDs, which are numbered simply and consistently, and: no agreements before the recordings. Now that drummer Jarle Vespestad has left, Arve Henriksen, Ståle Storløkken and Helge Sten are a trio. And this time they go a step further by not accumulating their disturbing and bewitching spherical sounds on any other instrument than on three Hammond organs. Space is the place. One hears a collective gut, telephatic sounds without comparison. Exhaustingly beautiful.
Leipziger Volkszeitung (DE)
So what is that? The soundtrack to the social crisis or the collected works by Captain Nemo, composed 20,000 miles under the sea? The Norwegian sound researchers led by Helge Sten have always understood how to transform their musical roots in electronica, rock and metal into a type of doom jazz that really did not need any references. The four musicians have designed an absolutely independent world of sound on their opaque albums over the past 12 years. Now the drummer Jarle Vespestad has got out and the remaining trio changes completely to the Hammond organ and produces with the four tracks from “9” an irritating soundtrack to an “alien” film that may still be made. On the other hand, this album is so radical and headstrong that you can also imagine here three organists who had gone mad before loneliness had recorded their fears in a transylvanian monastery. Really scary, this bravest and perhaps best album of 2009.
Musique liturgique pour mystiques extraterrestres ou simple prize de risque par rapport á un instrument peu pratiqué, Supersilent ne nous donne une fois encore aucune clé et nous laisse nous perdre dans ses labyrinthes intemporels.
Musicians i Supersilent har tatt den varme og litt sprø lyden av hammondorgelet og mutert den i alle retninger. Fra knapt hørbar hvisling to harde knert og organ cascade har albumet en enestående dynamikk i lydbildet. 5/6.
Bergens Tidende (NO)
"9" he blended ekstremt meditativ og konsentrasjonskrevende musikk - kanskje deres minst tilgjengelige utgivelse så langt. Her har man kun antydninger av riff, rytmiske figurer eller trompetmelodier å lene seg på. Likevel har musikken sterk pulse og framdrift together with grunnfjell så buldrende intent at det merkes helt ned i tærne. Ikke minst clearer of the art styket å bevare en idé, en slags illevarslende forventning om noe truende including total tilstedeværelse gjennom all fire deler. 5/6.
Address notices (NO)
Første gang du legger Supersilents niende plate i CD-spilleren, kan det hende du sjekker om noen kabler kan ha løsnet. Når du aksepterer at det ikke er tilfellet, og heller øker volumet og lar lufta slows down fylles, er du clear for en stor lytteropplevelse, en silent stund med et band man ellers er vant til at trekker deg i tanna. A lot of trekk he imidlertid tålmodigheten som ligger i musikken, en slepende, slows down oppbygaving nerve som avspeiler seg som lavmælte, strengthens concentrated partier. Helge Sten (Deathprod) has "9", og vektlegger the monumental energies som ligger i det valgte uttrykket. Dette reimburses the nærmest grafiske lyden slik vi kjenner the more fratid plater and
conserver, the result is super silence. 5/6.