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SILENCING THE SINGING

Ulver

Post Rock/Math rock


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Ulver Silencing the Singing album cover
3.39 | 25 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Darling Didn't We Kill You (08:52)
2. Speak Dead Speaker (09:33)
3. Not Saved (10:29)

Total Time 28:54

Line-up / Musicians


- Band / music

Releases information

EP, Jester Records
December 4th, 2001

Limited to 3000 copies

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ULVER Silencing the Singing ratings distribution


3.39
(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
12%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
44%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (16%)
16%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ULVER Silencing the Singing reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trickster F.
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Silencing Garm's singing.

One of the two Silence EPs, the companion of Silence Teaches You How to Sing, Silencing the Singing once again shows us the group in a new experiment, during which they achieve fresh and exciting results. Nothing in the group's vast catalogue really sounds similar like this EP, the other Silence EP being closer in sound to this than the other material.

Silencing the Singing is once again one of the recordings of Ulver during their Electronic era. Recorded not a long time after the breathtaking full-length Perdition City, several moments here can be compared to that particular release, however, this is a new experience for all fans of the group. First thing that should be noticed, and it is a warning to those with conventional music tastes and attention deficit disorder: this is Ulver at their most minimalistic and ambient. The most remarkable part of this album is atmosphere not technique - you should feel it instead of understanding. Unlike Silence Teaches You How to Sing, which consisted of a single 24-minute long track, this release consists of three tracks with similar lengths and structure. There is a different melodic theme on each track that repeats throughout the whole track or during some parts of it. There are no vocals here which is a pity, however, I can honestly say that they wouldn't fit this style of music. Still, nobody will deny that not having Garm sing is a disappointment(although the album is titled Silencing the Singing for a reason). There are pianos playing here and violin on the second track, yet overall the composition is dominated by electronic sound effects and at times even beats which gives the ambiently flowing music the rhythm it lacks.

The frst track called Darling Didn't We Kill You has the main theme repeated during the beginning and the last minute of the song, the middle section being occupied by a disonant electronic part that is somewhat similar to the one on the track called Nightmare Heaven from The Sham Mirrors by Arcturus. Speak Dead Speaker follows and it takes two minutes for the main melody to come out after the beginning "intro". Once it calms down the main theme is played by a violin, being the album's highlight and also its most memorable part. Not Saved is the most repetitive track here and it closes the album very nicely. The moment during about 8:40 into the track strangely sticks out and doesn't leave your memory hours after listening to the record.

Comparing this to the other Silence EP would seem unfair as they are quite different from each other: the first one being darker and more disturbing than the latter, and the latter being more laid-back and relaxing than the first. However, what unites them is the musicians' denial of normal song structures and minimalistic songwriting. They both have their repetitive moments, so think what kind of a listener you are before approaching this record. If what I just described sounded boring and you know you wouldn't expect to keep attention throughout the record, then it would be wise to ignore this release until you feel you are ready(even if you are an Ulver fan). The most important aspect of these releases are not the main melodic themes themselves but rather the sound effects in the background which whist not "musical" in the popular sense of the word are interesting and make the core of this album. If it still doesn't fascinate you(I know it does it for me!), then you could just put it as background to whatever you are put - this is lad-down, relaxed and nice music.

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Minimalist experiment continued.

Although this is grouped with Ulver's other "Silence" project, the two are completely separate beasts, the former being much darker, weirder, and the like, so comparing them is somewhat ridiculous. While being calmer, this record is still quite strange, especially to anyone who has not experienced much outside of symphonic, melodic prog and the like. Sorry Yes and Genesis fans, this isn't for you.

I don't find any particular track to stand out from the others, as much of it revolves around a similar concept for all 3 of them. Melody is virtually non- existent, instead there are a variety of sounds and soundscapes created in unusual and peculiar manners. Some of these are quite intriguing, and others not so much. It's important to look at this not as a song but a work of art and evaluate it from there. Indeed, much of this would never be labeled as a "song" to begin with.

As with any Ulver experiment, it is important to begin with an open-mind. This is a one of a kind band with really no one quite like them. What's perhaps most exciting is how young the band started, which means theres likely to be more twists and turns in their career of the many that have occurred, as found in this EP.

Review by TCat
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Moving from black and folk metal to instrumental and moody soundtracks, at this point Ulver had finally come out into an electronic style. When they released their acclaimed and excellent 'Perdition City', everyone was interested in where they would go next. However, during the sessions for that album, Kristoffer Rygg was experimenting around with taking things to a subtle and ambient place, and during that time, recorded music that was not intended for that album, but was to be released separately, mainly because of the ambient and experimental nature of the music. This music filled up two EPs and it was decided to release them in limited editions. Since that time, the demand to make them more readily available, the two EPs were combined onto one disc (called 'Teachings in Silence', again in a limited edition, which was later released more widely a few years later. However, the two separate EPs have since been made available for download in 2013 and are now easily available on Bandcamp.

'Silence the Singing' was one of the two EPs containing this atmospheric and ambient music. It is comprised of 3 tracks that together take up almost a half hour run time. It begins with 'Darling Didn't We Kill You?'. Even with this formidable title, the music is quiet, yet dark and foreboding. There is an unsettling beauty to the music, again all mostly electronic or processed loops and sounds. The music all works together to create a simple, yet somehow complicated beauty heard not just in the music passages, but the use of sounds and noise to give a unique and interesting experience. Even though some of it may seem random, you can't help but feel that it is all purposefully placed because of how well it all works together to develop the sound, and you will notice slow progression into alternative themes as it continues, slowly building a level of movement that never gets loud, but definitely gets more intense even so. The creativity is in the slow and repetitive nature of the music in the foundation, but also in the adding and taking away of atmospheric noises, clicks, hisses and so on, with a high pitched, but even hardly heard synth improvising softly over it all.

'Speak Dead Speaker' doesn't rely on a beat or repetitive loops like the first track, but is much more ambient, allowing itself to be carried forward by glitchy noises, pops and such while quiet violin and piano are used to create texture more than melody. This is one best experienced with headphones so you can hear the subtle changes in texture as at times, the 'drone-like' foundation that lays lightly on the background created by static can suddenly stop leaving you feeling like you are hanging in mid-air. But, as it can quickly stop, it can also quickly begin again while the phrased violin motif continues on gluing it all together. But the few times when almost all sound stops, the silence can be the most deafening thing about the track. Towards the end, the strings increase in volume as does what sounds like some kind of string drum. But, again, it never really gets loud, just more intense.

'Not Saved' is a glitch-noise masterpiece. A solemn organ keeps the sound consistent in the background, but the unpredictable noises are the centerpiece here, and they are used so effectively well. It's like some warning trying to break through the silence, and the scariest parts is when it just about succeeds. Along with this, a clanging bell chimes at regular (?) intervals, and even it gets manipulated by the mysterious force clouding over the entire thing. Again, headphones will give you the best experience here. When the sound fades, you think you are safe, but then it suddenly bursts through your speakers with a vengeance, the bell seems to desperately try to disperse the uneasiness of it all, but even their sudden increase ends up only encouraging the darkness of created by the strange noises going on around. This just goes to prove that you don't need heavy levels of noise to create dark textures, that maybe, just maybe, the silence and the ambience can be scarier than heavy blasts of noise. It's simply astounding.

This won't be for everyone because you might need a higher level of patience, but it is guaranteed to grow on you if you let it. It is also easy to get lost in the atmosphere of it all, and Ulver, somehow, created a masterpiece out of it all. It is one of the best recordings of its kind, and has even ended up being more influential to ambient/noise soundscapes than what it may have intended. This, along with the companion EP 'Silence Teaches You How to Sing', is one of the best studies of the use of music, noise and silence around, but you have to let it work on you to really feel and understand it.

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