Supersilent: 8
Rune Grammofon

After a near-five year absence, Arve Henriksen returns with partners Helge Sten (aka Deathprod), keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, and drummer Jarle Vespestad for Supersilent's eighth outing. Henriksen's Strjon and 8 are about as different in character as might be imagined, as the latter's nightmarish opener, an eleven-minute, coagulant sludgefest of arrhythmic drumming, bass-heavy fuzz, and tolling bells, makes clear. In this context, Henriksen's trumpet is merely one voice of many (its first appearance comes during the funereal meditation 8.4, thirty minutes into the album), with the focus instead on collective music-making that references Krautrock, electronic composition, and free-form jazz without committing itself to one more than another. Rooted in an improvised, real-time approach (sans overdubs), the group's material develops organically, and exudes a primal feel similar in explorative spirit to the Art Ensemble of Chicago's open-ended style (the closing minutes of 8.3 could even pass for a harrowing King Crimson improv circa 1972, of all things). In the album's most extreme case of contrast, Henriksen's falsetto voice floats angelically during 8.6, an exercise in restraint obliterated by the incinerating meltdown that follows in 8.7. Such long-form pieces constitute a challenging listen, to say the least, but Supersilent's uncompromising music oozes integrity.

December 2007