By Josef Woodard | Published February 2017
As a rule, Supersilent’s name doesn’t match up with its aesthetic. This much we know about the striking and uncompromising Norwegian free improvisation group, which can be known for producing a super-dense and noisy sound. Yet as with everything Supersilent does, the squall is not without a keen sense of sonic poetry.
The fascinating sound range continues. With a history going back nearly two decades and now consisting of trumpeter Arve Henriksen, artful electronics-wielder Helge Sten and keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (heard in Humcrush with Sidsel Endresen), the group has entranced and mystified fans and critics over the course of a dozen albums for the Rune Grammofon label. Enter the album numerically titled 13, the group’s first for the label out of Oslo, and ranking amongst their finest—and most enigmatic—to date.
Recorded mostly in 2014, with a couple of tracks from 2009—just after the departure of drummer Jarle Vespestad—13 consists of nine tracks, each identified by a number and each with a different musical agenda. The diverse set of textures and ambiences add up to a cohesive “suite”-like whole. Hints of Indonesian gracefulness in “13.1” contrast with the roiling retro-synth ruckus of “13.3” and the avant-gothic organ gestures of “13.5.”
Supersilent proposes a personal variation on the theme of electronica. This model has plenty of musicality to draw on, resists the tyranny of lockstep grooving and heeds an in-house mantra about creating free-ranging music as a search party without end.
13: 13.1; 13.2; 13.3; 13.4; 13.5; 13.6; 13.7; 13.8; 13.9. (57:00)
Personnel: Arve Henriksen, trumpet, electronics, percussion; Helge Sten, electronics, percussion; Ståle Storløkken, keyboards, percussion.