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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

In most places where this is listed for sale, it is called "1", not ""; just so you know if you're looking for it. Michael Fakesch (Funkstörung) wrote a glowing review of it, and that is what most folks post as a blurb. And why not? Fakesch (and Deluca) released it on their excellent Musik Aus Strom, and one can see where it crosses lines with their music. Where Funkstörung just cant seem to help themselves in the "I'm-not-gunna-let- this-beat-run-in- straight-meter" tomfuckery, Crunch lets the beats run in straight meter. He picks some highly digitized sounds and builds with that, none of the 4000 samples per 3 minutes here. There are changes, great changes, sweeping changes within each track even, but it seems more within the scope of the track. If you've ever thought or said, "this funkstörung record is great but i wish they'd keep a beat and stop showing me how many millions of samples they have stored", then this is close to what you asked for. Most of the record is decidedly downtempo, either head-noddingly slow, pulse beat or beatless; synth washes are generally on the somber side, with melodies subtle and often quite beautiful. Most of the programming sounds pretty complex, if controlled. Headphones are recommended for occasional use. Overall, this is very nicely varied electronic music, really one of the best in recent months I've heard. Somehow original sounding enough in a genre fast becoming homogenous. If you get the chance, get it on thick slabby double vinyl, in the great sleeve Fakesch got gooey about. I don't have anything bad to say about this record and I'm really looking forward to other stuff from this anonymous outfit. If you want a comparison beyond Funkstorung, none of this would sound out of place on a Schematic Music Company compilation. Very recommended. Thank you for your time.


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