Supersilent 14 (Recording review)

Supersilent

14

Smalltown Supersound
2018

On Friday September 28th, Supersilent – the experimental trio of Arve Henriksen (trumpet, voice and electronics), Helge Sten (Electronics), and Ståle Storløkken (keyboards and electronics) – released a fourteenth album, their second for the label Smalltown Supersound. The group is best known for performances of “slow jazz:” avant jazz that unfurls at a gradual rate. Supersilent 14 revels in slow tempos, as the track “14.7” (embedded below) demonstrates. However, this time out there are a few other components shifted t0 make for a different listening experience.

The recording’s dozen tracks – labeled with numbers and nothing more – are relatively aphoristic, ranging from the horror movie industrial cast of the one-minute long “14.9” to the comparatively spacious and spacey “14.12,” which clocks in at five minutes and thirty-nine seconds. Thus, “slow jazz” tracks and more primarily electroacoustic soundscapes are allowed limited room for development, instead presented as atmospheres that often seem to begin in progress. Some Supersilent releases have hewed towards a lusher palette than 14, which instead tends towards the edgy. Henriksen’s trumpet is frequently distressed and sometimes subsumed by electronics. Sten, who also releases electronica under the name Deathprod, produced and mixed the recording. His approach revels in noise and overtones in nearly equal measure. The result is an impressive amalgam of both ends of the “sound art spectrum.” Occasional moments of recognizable patterning, like the Middle Eastern scalar passages that supply a coda to “14.4,” sounding all the more remarkable for their relative isolation in the proceedings.

At a certain point in their respective careers, most recording artists find it difficult to come up with fresh ideas. With “14,” Supersilent not only seems to have reconsidered their music afresh; they sound like a group just getting started.

 

RIP Matt Marks (1980-2018)

Matt Marks

All of us at Sequenza 21 are saddened to learn of the passing of Matt Marks. A musical polymath, he was a composer, new music advocate, provocative Twitter presence, co-founder and key organizer of New Music Gatheringand a versatile performer, both a vocalist-actor in various projects and a founding member of the ensemble Alarm Will Soundin which he played French horn and for which he did imaginative arrangements.

I met Marks on several occasions, but will allow his close friends and family to share reminiscences of a more personal nature. Among all those who knew and encountered him, either as a social media presence or “IRL,” his intelligence, sense of humor, persistent advocacy for gender equality in concert music and other worthy causes, and formidable talent will be sorely missed. Condolences to the many people whose lives he touched.

Read and Listen Further: Matt Marks

Matt Marks on Twitter.

The Matt Marks Music Page (personal website).

Matt Marks at New Music USA.

A 2017 review in the New York Times of Marks’s opera Mata Hari.

And a scene from the opera:

Mata Hari from PROTOTYPE Festival on Vimeo.

Steve Smith, writing in 2010 in the NY Times, profiled A Little Death, Vol. 1, a performance piece and recording with soprano Mellissa Hughes for New Amsterdam. It served as an introduction to Marks’s music for many.

Arrangement of “Revolution Number 9” for Alarm Will Sound:

Performance with Hotel Elefant:

Death and Vanilla: “Dioz Delerium” (Soundcloud)

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Death and Vanilla have committed a 2015 live performance of the unreleased film score The Tenant (1976) to disc (both magenta LP and CD) for Fire Records (pre-order here). It will be released on February 2, 2018. Check out album track “Dioz Delerium” via the Soundcloud embed below.

Her Space Holiday: “Wounded” (Soundcloud)

Her Space Holiday - Ninelle Efremova
Her Space Holiday. Photo: Ninelle Efremova.

Marc Bianchi’s Her Space Holiday project returns with Gravity, a 4-song EP, on his own imprint, No More Good Ideas. 22 years on, still making formidable music. Check out Her Space Holiday’s single “Wounded” below.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: “An Intention” (Joe Goddard Remix)

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Have you heard Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s The Kid (Western Vinyl, 2017) yet? Inspired by the loss of a friend, it is an electroacoustic journey from childhood to the loss of innocence, Armed with a Buchla Easel and supple voice, Smith articulates the experiences of childhood with winsome lyricism and an effulgent palette of synth timbres. It is easily one of the best electronica albums of late, and I’m naming it my choice for Best “Synth-pop” release of 2017.

Bardo Pond: “Kailish”

Today we are cheering for one of Philadelphia’s finest bands. Bardo Pond will release a new album, Volume 8, on February 2, 2018. We are fortunate that they have decided to share a track from the album ahead of time with us. “Kailish,” a rousing jam riven with flute and distorted guitars, is below.