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Supersilent: 12

Album Review

A masterclass in electronics and telepathy.

With ominous rumblings, drones and an unsettling, mechanistic thrum, the opening moments of the 12th release by this respected Norwegian band could provide the perfect soundtrack to a dystopian sci-fi movie.

The band — Ståle Storløkken (keyboards), Arve Henriksen (trumpet, voice, electronics) and Helge Sten (electronics) — formed in 1997, and since the departure of drummer Jarle Vespestad in 2008, have moved deeper into meditative explorations of colour and space. Though largely stately, the often abrasive harmonies and dynamic sparks push the album light years away from the decorative passivity of ambient music. Instead, the assembled ranks of synths and manipulated FX operate with a free improv sense of nuanced deliberation. With no rush to fill in the gaps, ideas drift hazily in and out of the foreground like dust motes unexpectedly exposed in shafts of light. That ability to summon up and navigate a way through nebulous and numinous regions recalls the impressionistic atmospheres found in Zeit or Atem-era Tangerine Dream. Like them, when Supersilent push toward the frontiers, it can be a chilly but breathtaking ride. 

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