field report no.032717

LOCATION: Le Poisson Rouge NY.NY
SUBJECT: Supersilent

While I've followed Supersilent since stumbling upon their debut nearly 20 years ago, chances to see them live (stateside) have been nearly nil. (I've watched their live DVD, titled '7', repeatedly, though). Having to miss them this year, at the Big Ears festival—when they played the same day I was there—stung all the more for it. Luckily, the very next week I was traveling to NYC for work and they scheduled a stop the Greenwich Village stalwart, Le Poisson Rouge, on their way home to Scandinavia.

The New York audience was rewarded for their patience, as the trio played 3 extended sets in one sitting totaling nearly 2½ hours. The focused narrative of their improvisations renders their unscripted nature unbelievable. Each member multitasks across different instruments charting a dynamic range from heavenly to hellish. A number of years ago, the departure of their drummer left them as a trio but not without power. More than once, each member settled into trading blows with concussive electronics—creating choppy, unpredictable percussive patterns. Arve Henriksen's falsettoss and breathy trumpet glided atop the most serene passages. Helge Sten could coax clouds of ambience out of thin air by cupping his hand over a small mic and leaning in to illicit feedback from the stage monitor—using filters and faders to control its sound and shape.

Supersilent are in a class unto themselves: masters of their tools and in command of a singular, inimitable sound, crossing boundaries between jazz, progressive rock, noise and ambient electronica. I'd had almost 20 years of anticipation leading up to this one night, yet Supersilent exceeded all expectation.

NOTES: Supersilent- Arve Henriksen, Helge Sten, Ståle Storløkken; Matan Roberts, solo