You would think that with such a universal name, and one relating to sound and music; that there would be at least one really big band or album named silence. Well besides the Blindside
album of that name, it hasn't really received much attention in the music world. Then came the band Silence, native to Belgium and focuses on making guitar heavy trip hop. What you can tell from researching the band is that they are not or fame, which is a refreshing site. They are without an entry on allmusic.com, have a .tk website, and offer their entire album for free on Jamendo. Clearly a band run on computers, but is that a bad thing? Their main instruments are computer guitar simulations, added with synthetic beats and atmosphere leads to quite the artificial sound. Their debut full length, L'autre endroit (which translates to "The Other Place" in English), may not win any awards or bring international fame and fortune to the band, but it does provide a worthwhile listen.
The label says trip hop but this band is far from the idea of mindless mood setting that goes nowhere and containing no direction. One instance that proves this point is the tune, "Stop!"
, which gets across the story of a violent encounter in audio form. The piece begins with an immediate low sounding beat, it is not repeated but remains lasting. In the distance we can hear the opening or a door. The song is given a few moments to set itself, like freshly opened wine, and age; a block of time which is followed by footsteps and the formation of a set artificial drum beat. Bass comes in after this beat ages itself, not playing a particular line, but ascending a scale. Simple, yet effective, just like the band itself. The music is joined by screams from a female figure, presumed helpless and not at fault for her involvement in the incident taking place, just another victim. The bass and drums, joined by the newly introduced guitar continue along, as if nothing is happening. A higher and more constantly playing guitar joins the party, as it sounds like our female guest is down for the count. The guitar gains tone in the act of intensifying the piece, merely adding on with the woman's screams and the sounds of blows being landed. The programmed guitars keep playing on and off each other, quiet high notes and heavy low notes, until the piece breaks down again, and we seemingly start from the beginning, except no woman, she is a faded memory now. there are many other songs that make up the highlight section on this album that also deliver the goods progressively and originally like this has done. Some of these are "Particule"
which is a light murky piece surrounded by a feeling of being trapped under ice but remaining constant with the few piano keys that play along with it, and "Realite"
which follows up the sub par beginning track (which we will explore in a moment) with the opening of the Silence case of musical weapons, using them all with precision and keeping the listener focused.
Alright so they avoid the cliches and fatal flaws of the genre, but what do they do to really make it their own sound? Some things yes, but when they aren't hitting their spots in the right places, this can sound unpopular-for-a-reason dull. Overall, the album is a good piece but the opening "Cellule"
shows potential sketches of what the next half hour could sound like, and it makes said listener a bit nervous. Its guitar alright, slow guitar hidden behind many effects and electronic goings on. The repetition of each section mercilessly overlapping each other with so much time spent not bringing in new material is not time spent well. A reprieve is granted during the first soft section, each section is not playing and the listener can sit back and enjoy, but there is no established atmosphere section to enjoy, rats. The song pretty much goes back to square one from there, playing over again and its just as dull as it was before, except the more prioritized and leading guitar, but its too little too late, even with the cool keyboard that joins it near the end. Other than the blatant use of filter (as captured in the one dimensional "Sale"
) and the existence of some of the dull tracks ("Follow Me"
), L'autre endroit is solid, and should put Silence on the map (hopefully not the same map where 95% of Americans can't find the native land of the band, but some map)
This music probably won't change your world, nor will it unite the real one, but what Silence have put down here is solid stuff. The band is hard to find out about but from what we know, these kids have potential, and with a little more focus and consistent songs, perhaps they won't be hard to research much longer.
Note: If you are interested at all or want to hear this band, this entire album is available for listen/download on Jamendo. http://www.jamendo.com/en/album/830/ Will take you right to the page for L'autre endroit