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Supersilent, "9"

cover   imageFinding themselves a drummer down for their ninth release, Supersilent have this time approached their music from a completely different angle. Dispensing with their usual instrumentation, the remaining members have instead utilized Hammond organ exclusively for these four pieces. While the end result sounds nothing like their previous work, this is a thrilling and captivating album that is an unusual entry into an already curious catalogue. The music is cosmic, sacred and psychedelic in ways that have not previously been delved into by the group.

 

Rune Grammofon

Supersilent - Supersilent 9

As ever, Supersilent did not plan what they were going to do for this album before entering the studio. The results clearly reflect this approach to music production, the variation in playing style throughout 9 runs from the staid and minimal end of the spectrum to the wilder edge of improvisation. The four pieces here explore limits of the mighty Hammond organ, the music often sounding distinctly unlike the familiar tones of the Hammond. The opening piece begins with a sparse and largely silent introduction before some tremulous melody lines are played. The music slides out of earshot again, an enigmatic and haunting beginning to the album.

The mood here is very different to what would normally be expected of the Supersilent crew, although occasionally they fall into the type of anti-rhythms that permeate their work. For example, the second piece on 9 begins on a similar path as the opening piece of their last album. However, this path has become overgrown and dangerous since we last walked down it; the sinister horror movie character of the Hammond coming through strongly. This is especially true later in the piece when the organ sounds more like some kind of man-eating theremin/guitar hybrid.

The remainder of the album is given over to more ambient-inclined pieces, which is a little disappointing as I would have enjoyed another “busy” piece or two. Listening to these pieces on their own merit as opposed to part of an album (albums being an unnatural environment for Supersilent’s music based on their working method), their true worth becomes evident. The devil is in the detail and devoting one’s attention fully to the textures within the music reveals the luxuriant and multifaceted tone of the Hammond organ.

I wonder whether Supersilent will now continue without Jarle Vespestad on drums, find a replacement drummer or, Darwin forbid, remain super silent. That last option is too horrible to consider but equally I imagine it would be hard to find someone who could fill the void on the drum stool. As good as this album is, I cannot see them repeating it either in terms of instrumentation or in terms of mood. However, hopefully this shake up to the band’s dynamics will spur them on to further experiment with their already fluid sound. And should this be the last we hear from Supersilent, it is a worthy end to a stunning string of releases.

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Review of the Day

Cyclotimia, "Trivial Pleasures"
Monopoly
Within 25 minutes of pressing play everything in this space will be bleached, cleansed, and returned to its proper place. There is nothing out of place, no surface smudged, and no voices speaking above eachother; everything is closely, carefully, and painfully monitored. Cyclotimia's cold, cold presentation makes the setting of Orwell's 1984 seem like a happy place filled with the vibrant activity of free and strong people. The mechanical and soulless presentation makes sense, though: Trivial Pleasures comes with a booklet that outlines Nasdaq's personal mission statement and provides information on "Miniaturized, Implantable Identification Technology;" the implication is clearly that of a Big Brother atmosphere. In addition, this album was apparently inspired by Wim Merten's For Amusement Only, a composition written for pinball machines. The inspiration shows: many of the sounds are repeated loops of chimey and high pitched rings modulating through various tones. The effect is dizzying and somewhat frightening. The sounds of knives scratching together crash into a chaos of tin and other metals crushing together while synthesizers moan deep beneath the surface of some icey landscape - this is not intended for pleasant afternoon listening. For all of its alien facts, Trivial Pleasures is surprisingly fun to listen to. There's an element of cynicism that has to be appreciated in songs like "Market Experts." Horrible machines used to grind human bones to pulp churn underneath a repeated vocal loop... "analyzed by experts, analyzed by experts, analyzed by experts." Everything is perfectly safe, trust me! All that happens here is in the best interest of the people! Nothing here could be possibly be of any harm, right? And with a laugh Cyclotimia grin and continue to grind out the choking sound of capitalist industry. Though this kind of jumbled noise would normally turn me off, Trivial Pleasures manages to keep my interest. Granted, it's a short album, but that only works to its advantage.

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