Supersilent
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
Supersilent: 1-3 (1998), 7.5/10
Supersilent: 4 (1998), 6/10
Supersilent: 5 (2001), 7/10
Supersilent: 6 (2003), 7.5/10
Supersilent: 8 (2007), 6/10
Supersilent: 9 (2009), 6/10
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Motorpsycho's keyboardist Helge "Deathprod" Sten has recorded with improvisers Supersilent (keyboardist Stale Storlokken, trumpet player Arve Henriksen and percussionist Jarle Vespestad). They debuted with the triple-CD 1-3 (september 1997 - Rune Grammofon, 1998), the massive manifesto of their violent and cacophonous jazz-rock. Their aesthetic was more reminiscent of Borbetomagus and the Mnemonists than of free jazz. 1.1 is a ten-minute collage of vocal samples, dissonant instruments, electronic noise and tribal drums, followed by a 12-minute wall of noise (with varying degree of impetus), followed by seven minutes of drums-driven jazz-rock jamming. The cacophony turns dramatic in the 14-minute 1.3, a stunning example of dynamic soundsculpting. 1.4 is the exact opposite: a relatively calm and rational jam grounded in a thick tapestry of percussive sounds. The second album opens with an unusually slow and subdued piece, 2.1, with sparse drumming, a confused synthesizer and a distorted horn attempting a melody. The virulent and chaotic 2.2 restores their reputation, but overall the second disc is less apocalyptic than the first. 2.5 has 16 minutes of spastic drumming and violent noise, followed by a divine five-minute solo for electronic drilling sound, and then a seven-minute coda of more extreme "drum and noise". The highlight of the third disc is the 25-minute 3.3 that has subtler approach to mixing wild dissonance with wild dissonance, extreme noise with extreme noise. There is a more careful juxtaposition of timbers, and less reliance on drumming. When the drums appear, after eight minutes, the tone has been set for a hyper-kinetic jam of acoustic and electronic noise. Then Supersilent's gift for ignoring all musical laws is set loose, and the cacophony reaches the levels of the first disc. The 20-minute 3.4 is its alter-ego, relying on simpler constructs and milder sounds with more drumming presence and less electronics.

4 (Rune Grammofon, 1998) veered towards a oneiric fusion of doom-metal and Miles Davis. 4.1 is a mini-concerto for microtones until it awakens in a sort of castrated jazz jam. The nine-minute 4.2 is a blurred nebula of exotic rhythms, chirping instruments, droning organs, more reminiscent of Jon Hassell than of avant-noise ensembles, despite the crescendo that leads to a tribal bacchanal. The first hint of Supersilent's deranged aesthetic comes with ten-minute 4.3, but even this piece is unusually restrained chaos, with emphasis on percussion. Even the orgiastic 18-minute 4.6 exudes a jovial atmosphere that evokes Latin-American beaches rather than hell.

5 (november 2000 - Rune Grammofon, 2001), recorded live, further solidified their status as founders of a new form of music, at the border between free-jazz and post-rock. The 20-minute free-form jam that opens the album begins as a dialogue between evil subsonic hisses and theremin-like ethereal squeals, barely disturbed by sparse random percussion. As the furnace-like noise increases, fueled by pointless wailing horns, a mega-distorted guitar intones its terrible "om" to the skies. The following eleven-minute track plays mostly at very low volume, sculpting a soundscape of wavering keyboards and minimal instrumental sounds. That liquid, shapeless format mutates into the noir chamber jazz of 3 (14 minutes): fragments of melody surface from the moaning, whining, groaning mass of slow-motion sounds (even though the five-minute coda is a crescendo of frenzied cacophony). 4 seems to toy with even more minimal sounds, barely "sounding" anything at all. Harmony disappears in the asymmetrical vortex of the closing, 17-minute 5, another essay in infinitesimal music made of scant tones and feeble percussion.

Building on the emotive strength of its predecessor, and surrendering part of its stubborn looseness, 6 (december 2001 - Rune Grammofon, 2003) achieved an otherworldly balance of moods and sounds in six compositions (not only improvisations) of subtle counterpoint. Supersilent's fusion of electronica, jazz, noise and rock secretes the harsh, dissonant merry-go-round of 1 (eleven minutes), whose multiple "lead" instruments careen blindly together and blend into an organic stream, sounding like the tune of a music box being warped as it travels through massive black holes; the frenzied chatting among digital metallic devices of 3 (13 minutes) that degrades to a mostly silent ambience and then grows to an explosive finale; digestive robot soundtrack
More than in any of the previous albums, moments of simple pathos abound: the Jon Hassell-ian trumpet that moans alone in a raga-like space (vaguely reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Set The Controls For the Heart Of The Sun) throughout 2; the intense organ lines that sets 4 on fire, again straddling the line between psychedelic and dissonant music; the stoned "chanting" over out-of-tune piano and funereal synths of 6, that ends the album on an angelic note.

Supersilent's trumpet player Arve Henriksen released the solo albums Sakuteiki (Rune Grammofon, 2003), a parade of ambient-jazz pieces for trumpet, harmonium and percussion (all played by him), and Chiaroscuro (Rune Grammofon, 2004), recorded with percussionist Audun Kleive and digital/electronic musician Jan Bang, that adds his voice to the mix. Strjon (Rune Grammofon, 2007), mainly scored for trumpet, electronic keyboards and wordless singing, struck a balance between Supersilent's death-jazz and Henriksen's original ambient-jazz.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Luca Cantoreggi)

Il tastierista dei Motorpsycho Helge "Deathprod" Sten ha registrato con gli improvvisatori Supersilent (il tastierista Stale Storlokken, il trombettista Arve Henriksen e il percussionista Jarle Vespestad). Hanno pubblicato: 1-3 (Rune Grammofon, 1998), imponente manifesto del loro violento e cacofonico jazz-rock, 4 (Rune Grammofon, 1998), che vira in direzione di una fusione onirica fra doom-metal e Miles Davis.

5 (Rune Grammofon, 2001), registrato dal vivo, ha ulteriormente consolidato il loro status quali promotori di una nuova forma di musica, al confine fra free-jazz e post-rock. La jam free-form di 20 minuti che apre l’album inizia come un dialogo tra perversi sibili subsonici e impalpabili grida come un theremin, disturbate appena da casuali percussioni irregolari. Quando il rumore da fornace aumenta, riempito da insensate trombe che guaiscono, una chitarra mega-distorta intona al cielo il suo terribile "om". Gli 11 minuti del brano successivo suonano per lo più a bassissimo volume, scolpendo un paesaggio sonoro di oscillanti tastiere e minimali suoni strumentali.

Questa liquida, informe struttura muta nel jazz noir da camera di 3 (14 minuti): frammenti di melodia affiorano da una serie di suoni rallentati sotto forma di gemiti, pianti e lamenti (sebbene i cinque minuti finali siano un crescendo di cacofonia frenetica). 4 sembra divertirsi con suoni ancora più minimali, impercettibili. L’armonia svanisce nel vortice asimmetrico dei 17 minuti di 5 che chiudono l’album, un altro saggio in musica infinitesima fatta di toni scarni e percussioni flebili.

Basandosi sulla forza emotiva degli album precedenti, e rinunciando a parte della loro ostinata dissolutezza, 6 (Rune Grammofon, 2003) raggiunge un equilibrio spirituale fra stati d’animo e suoni in sei composizioni (non solo improvvisazioni) di abile contrappunto. La fusione dei Supersilent di elettronica, jazz, noise e rock secerne lo stridente, dissonante carosello di 1 (11 minuti),del quale i molteplici strumenti "guida" avanzano insieme alla cieca e si fondono in un flusso organico, che suona come la melodia di un carillon deformata dal passaggio attraverso imponenti buchi neri;

la frenetica chiacchierata fra congegni metallici digitali di 3 (13 minuti) che sfuma verso un’atmosfera per lo più tranquilla e quindi cresce in un finale esplosivo.

Più che in ogni altro album precedente, abbondano i momenti di puro pathos: la tromba à la Jon Hassell che geme solitaria in uno spazio quasi raga (con vaghe reminescenze di Set The Controls For the Heart Of The Sun dei Pink Floyd) per tutta la durata di 2; le intense linee d’organo che accendono 4, ancora al limite fra psichedelica e musica dissonante; il canto sbronzo sopra un piano stonato e un funereo synth in 6, che termina l’album su di una nota angelica.

Il trombettista dei Supersilent Arve Henriksen ha pubblicato da solo gli album Sakuteiki (Rune Grammofon, 2003), sfoggio di pezzi ambient-jazz per tromba, harmonium e percussione (tutte suonate da lui), e Chiaroscuro (Rune Grammofon, 2004), registrato con il percussionista Audun Kleive e il musicista elettronico/digitale Jan Bang, che ha aggiunto la sua voce alla composizione.

Supersilent's fifth album of "death-jazz", 8 (august 2005 - Rune Grammofon, 2007), following a dvd titled 7 (august 2004), collected shorter performances and was the most ethereal yet of the series. The first five pieces embraced a "gentler" form of ambient cacophony, although 1 and 5 slowly built up to monumental noise, The overall feeling was that Supersilent was returning to a more "humane" form of chamber music, a suspicion confirmed by the most original piece, 6, that sculpted an eerie atmosphere with shrill vocals and jarring glitches. 7, instead, erupted into the usual pummeling chaos, although throwing vocals into the mix.

Deathprod is the solo project from Supersilent's and Motorpsycho's keyboardist Helge Sten, mostly devoted to chamber electroacoustic music. Treetop Drive 1-3/ Towboat (Metal Art Disco, 1994) contains the three-movement 33-minute Treetop Drive and the 18-minute Towboat, two works of abstract electronic soundsculpting. Morals and Dogma (Rune Grammofon, 2004) pushed his sordid manipulations into the digital age. Using low-tech home-made recording devices, and emphasizing the very limitations of those devices (the hiss of an old tape recorder, or the distortion of a defective sampler, or the deteriorating sound of a digital-to-analog transfer), and then mixing them with live instruments, Deathprod de facto ventured into digital chamber music. The four-disc box-set Deathprod (Rune Grammofon, 2004) collects all his recordings since 1991.

Humcrush, the duo of Food's drummer Thomas Stronen and Supersilent's keyboardist Stale Storlokken, released Humcrush (2005) and Hornswoggle (Rune Grammofon, 2006)

On's Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night (Les Disques Du Soleil Et De L'Acier, 2004 - Type, 2009) was a collaboration between French composer Sylvain Chauveau and Pan American's percussionist Steven Hess, remixed by Helge Sten of Deathprod.

Deathprod's ideology dominated 9 (march 2008 - Rune Grammofon, 2009), that disposed of drummer Jarle Vespestad and featured only three keyboardists. The result was glitchy rhythm-less ambient music.

10, Supersilent's second album as a trio (Arve Henriksen on trumpet and laptop, Ståle Storløkken on piano and keyboards, Helge Sten on guitar, keyboards and laptop), contains unreleased tracks from 8's sessions and some mediocre new material. More material from 8's sessions surfaced on 11.

Deathprod's Imaginary Songs From Tristan Da Cunha (Rune Arkiv, 2012) mainly collect a live performance of The Contraceptive Briefcase II for large choir.

Supersilent's trumpetist Arve Henriksen reunited his three Norwegian albums, Sakuteiki (2001), Chiaroscuro (2004) and Strjon (2007), on the seven-LP boxset Solidification as well as new album Chron. In between was Cartography (2008), scored for a large ensemble, notably Jan Bang (live sampling, samples, programming and arrangement), David Sylvian (voice, samples, programming), Eivind Aarset (guitars), Lars Danielsson (double-bass), Erik Honor‚ (synthesizer, samples, field recordings, choir samples), and probably his best work so far.

Supersilent's trumpetist Arve Henriksen collaborated with Belgian drummer Teun Verbruggen for Black Swan (september 2010). He led sextet on Places Of Worship (Rune Grammofon, 2013): Jan Bang (samples, programming), Erik Honore (samples, synth bass, synthesizer), Lars Danielsson (double bass), Eivind Aarset (guitars), Jon Balke (piano) and Ingar Zach (percussion). His Cosmic Creation (Rune Grammofon, 2014) is an eight-movement suite.

Supersilent's 12 (Rune Grammofon, 2014), their first album in four years, but recorded in 2011, was performed by Helge Sten, Stale Storlokken and Arve Henriksen.

Supersilent's Helge Sten Monochromes (Bolt, 2015) contains three compositions by pianist Tomasz Sikorski: the 4-movement 14-minute Quads, the 16-minute title-track and the 22-minute Solitude Of Sounds,

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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