Two months after the release of Supersilent 8 it is time for a debrief - in the form of a clipboard of international reviews. -The almost mystical renown of this elusive Norwegian band continues to grow, making Supersilent a kind of gray-black Moby Dick; some incomprehensible force, born, or sworn, to secrecy.
Supersilent is eight records, and ten years old. And this Super silent decade has been one of production, response and expectations of a rare kind in music, and in art as such. And it is most of all the aura surrounding Supersilent; the kind of omnipresent absence that the name Supersilent suggests - musically engulfing, in all other ways simply nowhere to be found- that makes this Norwegian quartet so uniquely intriguing. For Supersilent is not a band like most, it is not something planned, contrived, rehearsed or executed in accordance with strategy: it is not about people, the logic reversed: with Supersilent one can deduce from the fact of the music that there are people involved, but one can not go the other way.
Prior to the release of ‘8’ we wrote of the band on this site:
From the monumental hardcore blizzard storm of ”1-3” to the elegant electro jazz of ”4” and from the quiet soundscapes of ”5” to the epic ”6”, Supersilent have yet again re-invented themselves with ”8”, an album that to a certain degree explore more abstract and mysterious pathways beyond categories and comparisons. The 68 minutes that ended up on ”8” was chosen from 5 hours of finished music, and at one time we considered a double or even triple album. It’s quite possible that some of the excellent music that didn’t make it to the final cut will appear in one way or another at a later time. The album has been mastered by US mastering guru Bob Katz in close collaboration with producer Deathprod, and it has been handled almost like classical music to keep the extremely dynamic range of the original recording.
Again, the names of the players do not appear on the cover. This is Supersilent music, collective work, group improvising, and not a matter of individual grandstanding. They never rehearse as a group and don't discuss the music with each other, meeting only to play concerts or to record. Supersilent music lives in a no-man's-land between the genres, somewhere between rock, electronica, jazz and modern composition. It can sometimes appear to be written or at least arranged, again making it clear that these musicians communicate on a high, almost telepathic level. Needless to say, there are no overdubs.
Back to the present: International reviews have been pouring in over the couple of months since the release of 8. And critics are astounded; not just at the music as a matter unto itself, but just as much regarding the nature of the enterprise of Supersilent as such; a venture hailed as true art in ways almost never seen. Here are some clippings from a few of the leading voices:
The Norwegian quartet manages to achieve everything that the genre strives for; they collectively and spontaneously make music and respond intuitively to each other without the restraints of style, structure, or tempo. And instead of cacophony, of noises at odds with each other, of the screeching wash (simultaneously beautiful and horrific though it might be) that has often been the result of this formula, Supersilent produce something so delicate and spare that each individual voice is sacrificed to the whole. Which is why, despite the devastating, even menacing emotional effect that this music reaps from the listener, the essence of this music is that of profound spiritual meditation. How else to explain that mind-numbing paradox of something that embodies such restraint and such complete freedom at the same time? (cokemachineglow.com)
With Supersilent the premise is simple: no discussion, no preplanning, no rehearsals. All the more remarkable then, that the music of 8, as with past releases, feels both in-the-moment and preconceived. The term “noise improv” might frighten away some—and there are some harsh extremes to be certain. Still, there’s often surprising beauty, gentility even. There’s a reason why the word “silent” is part of the group’s name; as dense as the music can get, there’s also a less-is-more aesthetic allowing the overriding arc of any Supersilent album the opportunity to breathe. 8 may well be Supersilent’s most accessible album to date, although that doesn’t suggest a relaxing of its core concept or its pursuit of unknown textures and musical landscapes. (All about jazz)
Despite occasional bursts of fire, Supersilent’s more recent albums seem increasingly twilit, occluded and subdued. 8 is no exception: it’s magnificent and funereal and demands to be played long and loud. (BBC)
The latest bulletin from the far north's most mighty improvisers is nothing short of staggering. From start to finish it is a bewildering and bewitching journey; the familiar trappings of rock and jazz being reprogrammed into a chimera of musical styles in a strange, shifting landscape. It is the sound of absolute freedom, of musicians completely breaking away from the constraints laid upon them by those who have gone before. (brainwashed)
Listen to and buy Supersilent 8 here: