Mini50 Records – 6th November 2015
I’m by no means the first to declaim that we’re now in the post-everything era. It can’t simply be that everything has been done, and done to exhaustion, although it’s beginning to feel very much like this is the case. That this is a sentiment which dominates our times may well be a significant factor in the ever-expanding nostalgia trade. Culturally, we’re done with kitsch and the current batch of hipsters, many of whom weren’t even out of shorts when the hipster thing exploded the best part of a decade ago now represent the post-irony generation.
The Silence Set is a collaboration with a certain pedigree: consisting of Gothenburg based musicians and composers Dag Rosenqvist (formerly Jasper TX and also known for his From the Mouth of the Sun project with Aaron Martin), and Johan G Winther, who made a name for himself with angular math rock outfit Scraps of Tape and his previous solo effort as Tsukimono.
With Teeth Out, The Silence Set achieve three things: in the most contemporary of fashion, they raw on myriad elements to forge an amalgamative sound that one may best describe as post-folk. It also so happens the songwriting is divine, conjuring ethereal dreamscapes that drape unpretentious acoustic arrangements in layers of misty synths, and in doing so create something new – something that hasn’t been done before, not quite like this. They may call to mind the likes of The Album Leaf, Efterklang, Mice Parade, Múm and Sufjan Stevens, but The Silence Set are indeed, a beautiful and unique snowflake in the blizzard of noise that s the media, the Internet, the word. Thirdly, they effectively imbue their delicate songs with a sincere emotional depth that simply cannot be fabricated or forced, and in doing so, they’ve created a work that’s timeless.
The vocal treatment on ‘Mirrored In’ is disorienting and penetrating, a soft piano ballad transformed into a weirdly dislocated piece that is the sonic evocation of the uncanny, as chimes and extraneous noises interfere with the obvious and accessible flow.
‘Deliverance’ somehow transitions from an easygoing banjo-based folk song to a tidal wave of noise and chimes that tears at the air and reshapes the atmosphere. ‘Needles’ is a simple, atmospheric piano piece, but once again ambient sounds and interferences alter the texture and the feel of things, reminding us that life is not perfect, there are no perfect moments any more, only near-perfect moments with disturbances. A best slowly builds in the distance, and synths and brass swell to an uplifting crescendo, while leading the track further from post-folk towards expansive electronica.
It’s the ability of The Silence Set to make these transitions, and so move between forms in such a fluid fashion, that makes Teeth Out such an engaging work. It’s a magnificent album, that isn’t any one thing beyond its own undefined boundaries. This is music. Great music, that strokes the soul and both soothes and stimulates the senses.