Supersilent is a band built around a singular vision of improvised music without ego. The group hasn’t been very active lately—the recordings that comprise 12 were all made in 2011—but they were also never a conventional band in the first place, meeting only to perform completely improvised pieces together and never discussing their music before or after playing it. Albums are named numerically in sequence, and the tracks are named the same way. If you follow Norway’s improvised music and avant garde scenes, you likely know the work of Helge Sten, who records on his own as Deathprod and has produced Jenny Hval and Jaga Jazzist, Arve Henriksen, who records as a solo artist and session musician, and Ståle Storløkken, who has played with Terje Rypdal among many others. In Supersilent, though, the three musicians work assiduously to efface their usual identities, collectively creating music that defies easy categorization.
12, their twelfth album as the title implies, is no exception. It is at times intensely beautiful, playing like a soundtrack to footage of the frozen surface of Europa, but more often exudes a creepy, ashen vibe, as if the mission to Europa had gone just slightly wrong, leaving no way for the survivors to escape an alien world. More aggressively abstract and unsettling than most of their previous work, it nevertheless has a compelling shape, leaving the ice fields of its outer thirds for a place no less strange but more active. Storløkken’s keyboards and Henriksen’s trumpet rise out of the churning textures to become recognizable for fleeting moments, and it becomes clear just how much of that foreboding texture that greets you at the beginning of the LP is trumpet, stretched and smeared to a point where it surrenders its identity and merges with the electronics.
Direct reference points for this music are hard to come by. Pink Floyd’s most consciously out music, Iannis Xenakis’ Metastaseis, Ash Ra Tempel’s Schwingungen, Ligeti’s work with tone clusters, and Tangerine Dream’s Atem all operate in similar sonic territory, but Supersilent arrive there from a completely different direction. Whether they’re focused on a cavernous, gravelly drone or subsuming a nascent melody under a scraping wall of electronics, the results are spellbinding and make for a unique entry in the band’s already deep discography.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1APYRMI