By Allana Mayer
For those of us that may never see this abstract Norwegian quartet in their live improvisational mode, the grainy 16mm recording of their Oslo performance in 2004 may be the next best thing. Though all their albums are equally off-the-cuff, it’s another thing to see this work created in real time. Though I haven’t yet got my sweaty, nervous hands on a copy of this “ultimate” live performance DVD, the audio tracks have been e-pilferable for some time now. It’s only whetted my and other spaced-out electro nerds’ appetites. And until I can chalk up a 40-dollar DVD purchase to satiate my obsessive self, I’ll just loop the soundtrack and dream.
This highly mysterious group lacks album and song titles and is rumoured never to practice in between recording or performance sessions, letting everything flow naturally when required. From almost two hours of live music (including an enthusiastic audience’s strange habit of applauding in unified rhythm) comes a vision of the band at their most connected, dramatic, and expressive. In the first 8 minutes of “7.1″ the tension builds, and doesn’t release until the conclusion of the encore six tracks later. Chopped vocals, something unseen in earlier releases, only adds to the mystery. Supersilent remain wordless and unconventional in their communication.
Trumpet, drums, keys, and electronic manipulation add up to more confusion, as a soft trumpet solo sounds more like a flute, sporadic rhythms speak to synthesized beats, and shiny chimes ring out from lazy fingerings. In the last three minutes of “7.4″ it becomes obvious that this band could seamlessly transition into fully functional electronic music, with rhythm and loop and traditional dynamics galore. Instead, Supersilent chooses to create its own language, of sound and body and discrete looks, speaking to each other, and their fans, in fascinating and compelling ways.