The Silence - Hark the Silence 2LPDrag City Records
The Silence are a storm that has been brewing across Japan for over a year-and now that system is breaking into the skies of the rest of the world! Their self-titled debut of this past spring was simply a preamble to the fluid and formidable electro-acoustic interplay that has quickly evolved since then. The first record is of a song-based nature, rendered with careful beauty familiar to long-time listeners of Masaki Batoh and Ghost; a sound that turned on occasion into greater journeys. Hark The Silence takes that notion and runs with it in a powerfully jamming album containing all the musical elements that define The Silence in flowing and transcendent performance, all of it recorded on 24-track analogue tape, a process which brings their musical and spatial qualities into dynamic balance. Everything in the universe accessible to The Silence may be found in the "Ancient Wind" trilogy that fills side one of Hark The Silence. From the depths of space rolls washes of gong, through which a terse, minimal bassline comes marching. Rattles of prepared piano spark and pass through the frame, blown over with the celestial omnipotence of a flute. The now-sensuous groove is underscored with luxuriant stereophonic drums rolling across the speakers. Representing the state of nature from which all music as well as The Silence has to come, "Ancient Wind" Part 1 ceases to exist, and explodes into a furious Bo-Diddley beat for Part 2, a chant replete with acid-rock guitar solos, an encompassing saxophone testament and an echo-unit driven drum breakdown. Part 3 of "Ancient Wind" resumes the chant in the mode of "Gangamanag" (from Ghost's Hypnotic Underworld opus) and extends the fury of the progression in 7/8 to include a dazzling organ solo over unending volcanic eruption. As the swirling mass subsides, a few rusty blue notes from an acoustic guitar are sounded over the encroaching Silence. Showing in one side that The Silence are capable of EVERYTHING. But there are three more sides during which The Silence continue to travel through the universe that "Ancient Wind" has blown open. Side two features two jams of a different color. Recorded completely live, "Ornament" continues with resonant guitar acoustics from the fading embers of side one, starting with a gentle mode, and sung by Batoh in their native tongue, before the song ascends to explorations in space with music. "DEX #1" continues the ride, a heavy jam in 4/4 dedicated to Dexter Gordon with loads of texture from keyboards and saxophone that make for very compelling physical listening. Do you now realize that Hark The Silence is truly an experience and a trip that you have to take yourself? We can't describe it ALL for you, but we will that the second half of the album contains an exquisite and intense rock arrangement of Damon and Naomi with Batoh's tremendous singing atop the pile-driving power of The Silence in full swing, plus several other awe-inspiring encounters in live performance, minimal jamming, poetry, baritone-sax breath and group-think at it's best. As the album closes with the clarion call of "Fireball," the graveyard of all history traversed by The Silence is illuminated by the dead's spirit burning in the air-a great and profoundly jarring moment. Hark The Silence is a composite of such moments, an album that travels enormous distances and captures live energies in astonishing studio sounds. The Silence are clearly one of the most powerful groups playing today ANYWHERE in the world-Hark The Silence should provoke audiences everywhere to demand The Silence for themselves!