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Ulver - Teachings in Silence CD (album) cover

TEACHINGS IN SILENCE

Ulver

Post Rock/Math rock


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aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Teachings in madness

It's hard to find words to describe the status of ULVER. A pack of inspired musicians, never compromising experimentalists, that are beyond any commercial sense regarding music. They keep surprising the listener with every new release. Teachings in silence is a compilation of two pretty weird (!) EPs that went out of print; that is probably the only reason that this cd has been released. Otherwise, there would be no meaning, as it contains the EPs Silence Teaches You How to Sing and Silencing the Singing back-to-back. The first 24 min track is in fact the first EP, and the rest three comprise the second.

The introduction was the easy part; the hard part is to describe the material. The first thing that can be easily observed in this compilation is the lack of structure. Don't expect compositions with a beginning and end. ULVER drag themselves to the edges of experimentalism with this release. A handful of noises counteract with short passages of guitars and keyboards, mainly dancing on electronic music. There are moments that you might feel fed up with meaningless sounds, but short intervals of brilliant composure then interfere and break the silence. Record scratches, bells, psalms, background electro beats and finally some vocals and inspiring piano sessions all mix together to create this insane soundtrack.

The whole atmosphere ranges in slow tempo and background music. This compilation (like other ULVER albums) would make an excellent soundtrack to a mystery movie. The title is quite 'spot-on' as the lessons learned from this record are taught in silent tunes... Despite obvious weaknesses, regarding 'actual' music duration and repetition, the more I listen to this album, the more it grows on me. I believe that this lies within the band's ability to make their sounds interesting even if, at first place, nothing seems impressive.

However, I would not recommend this for a first ULVER experience to people who are not familiar with the band, as it is far from the studio recordings in terms of structure. It is obviously useless for those who have acquired the two EPs, but essential for fans of the band and the electro/experimental scene.

Have you been taught your lesson in silence? Well... this might be a start...

Report this review (#188817)
Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars As you may know by now, this is a compilation of two of Ulver's at that time most recent EP's. This however, is the definative way to purchase this music, together, as it is linked stylistically and conceptually.

Now that I have put that out of the way, I must say that the music on this album is not normal. I don't mean that in any common way either. It's not the occasional random clicking and server sounds throughout. It's the completely indescribable atmosphere this album displays throughout.

I do have to say that the first song "Silence Teaches You How to Sing" is the greatest number on this album, that does not make the rest of the songs obsolete, although it may seem so on the first couple of listens. The songs require each other to sustain the wholeness of this album. The backbone to that completeness is the energy arch displayed. That means the first song is the most energetic and changes the most often, while the last song is the most minimalistic of them all.

It is the last song I must mention as well. It seems many people do not respect this song for what it is. That i could not disagree with more. "Not Saved" is, in the least complicated way of explaining, a repeated sample of a bell with music that is also repeated. But the song is smooth and it is changing. The bells climaxes at a certain point growing to intense loudness, and near the end falls behind the music as it is electronically extended. This extention is absolutely surreal and creates the feeling of fallng behind time itself. It is something that must be experienced

As for the songs between, "Darling, Didn't We Kill You?" Is very similar to one of the sections on the first song, and fits very well after it for sustaining the compelling atmosphere.

Then another one of the most exciting pieces, "Speak Dead Speaker" is the slowest one to start, and you can feel that on the first listen. A constant clicking that gets ever farther spread apart is all that exists for the first two minutes, but the main theme eventually appears and is, however, not pervading that silence engulfing it.

I must admit that the first time i listened to this, it was exceptionally dull, and it took about 5 listens for it to grow on me enough that I enjoyed it. The reason for this is that there is music that is hidden behind the silence that it takes a while to find and appreciate, deservedly.

Report this review (#499307)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This compilation - originally released as a limited edition, but now available on general release - brings together the Silence Teaches You How to Sing and Silencing the Singing EPs to form what is in effect a complete album of all-original material. Really, this is the best way to experience the material in question, since the two EPs flow together marvellously and both take more or less the same musical direction. Combining creepy, almost symphonic instrumental playing with harsh electronic noise, this is the sort of music which plays over the radio to let you know the ghosts have taken over the set.
Report this review (#645731)
Posted Sunday, March 4, 2012 | Review Permalink

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