Supersilent – 6 (2003)

Once again, I’m a victim of desire. Desire to look intellectual and cool. I used to buy The Wire, a damn good music magazine, simply because it said “Adeventures in Modern Music” on the front. One issue, the reviews section had a little piece on a band from Norway called Supersilent – a free jazz/ambient noise quartet, of drums, keyboards, electronics and trumpet (played by the inimitable Arve Henriksen), they fashion long, winding, involved, but very ethereal musical expressions.

I have no basis for comparison. Nothing at all I’v ever listened to sounds like this, not even Supersilent’s record 5. Oh sure, the set up’s the same, but on 5, there’s a much rawer, much more galloping feel: here, they’re stately. It feels, in some ways, like Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis: massive, powerful, crafted, yet a primal expression of emotion and technique.

So I read about them, research them, do everything apart from actually hear them, and finally import 5 and 6 from Norway; the joy at seeing these fall out of a jiffy bag was spectacular, completely out of proportion to what I ought to feel. Oh well, sod it. My inital assumptions were that I would be hearing some kind of jazzed up, swingingly spacey Sigur Ros, but in reality, the sonic landscape conjured here calls to mind Mogwai, but for the brain, not for the gut.

The meshing of Deathprod’s electronics and Henriksen’s trumpet go a long way to making this sound otherworldly – the keyboards seems to float along in a world of their own, and it’s much less percussion based than 5. Recorded in four days, and ready to go in two months, these boys don’t hang around: 6.3 and 6.4, both fairly long tracks (13 and a half, and 9 and a half, respectively), are the centrepiece of the album – 6.3 is so achingly beautiful, every time I hear it, I hear it for the first time, so to speak; 6.4 is a more strident piece, relatively, but powerful, immensely powerful.

This is not music for the faint hearted. You need time, space, good headphones and speakers, and above all, an open mind. This is not blunts, 40’s and bitches.

8/10

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One thought on “Supersilent – 6 (2003)

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