Original Silence

The First Original Silence

  • CD-STSJ-124
  • CD
  • $9.99

There is rarely a middle ground for superbands: they either work or they fail miserably. When we are dealing with an improvised setting, the odds for success are even scarcer. Fortunately, Original Silence's debut is a notable exception. Formed by Mats Gustafsson (saxophones), Thurston Moore (guitar), Jim O'Rourke (electronics), Massimo Pupillo (electric bass), Paal Nilssen-Love (drums, percussion), and Terrie Ex (guitar), the band offers a perfect balance between structured improvisation, raw noise, and thunderous rock beats. The sextet storms into the cryptically titled "If Light Has No Age, Time Has No Shadow" with a bass-drums give-and-take reminiscent of Pupillo's other band, the Italian hardcore outfit Zu. Only a few seconds into the opening track, Gustafsson imposes his metallic squawk on Moore and Ex's free-form guitar skronk, punctured by O'Rourke's electronics, almost pushed into the background by the overwhelming racket. There is, however, a strong sense of purposefulness throughout. In comparison, the 46-minute "In the Name of the Law" offers some respite. Although not abandoning the bellicose collective tone that prevails, there are long stretches of clearer interaction and quieter spots where the band opens up the wall of sound and allows the music (and the listener) to breathe, thus smoothing the way for the crushing barrage that follows. Harsh noise and free improvisation are not a palatable menu for everyone, but Original Silence will surely delight the adventurous listener. Highly recommended.