DISCOGRAPHY | ALBUMS
Musical Accompaniment for the End of the World
The Pekinpah Association, 2012
Musical Accompaniment for the End of the World is the musical equivalent of enjoying a glass of Laphroaig whiskey while observing a rapidly approaching storm through the window. It is soothing ... despite the unshakeable sensation of impending doom.
Silence's first regular album since Vain – A Tribute to a Ghost (2004) was released on April 14 2012. The release date was selected on account of its exquisite catastrophic pedigree; preceded by Friday the 13th, it marks the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic.
Due to its minimalistic concept (summarized in the album's subtitle, Songs for two pianos, tactful synths, and voice), Musical Accompaniment appears to pick up where Vain's closing track, Runalong – Acoustic Version, left off. The album features ten songs performed by two remarkable pianists, Igor Vićentić (with whom Silence first collaborated on The Passion of the Cold) and Sašo Vollmaier. The pianos were recorded at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall in Zagreb. The vocals and synthesizers were recorded in Silence's private production facility, the Daily Girl studio.
Silence's engagement in theatre – especially the prolific collaboration with director Tomaž Pandur – has had a prominent role in shaping the album's sound. It has prompted the duet's decision to discard drums and bass in favor of an intimate, predominantly acoustic sound. It has also nudged the piano arrangements toward a more classical feel.
The album's title and cinematic atmosphere, however, stem from Silence's infatuation with movies. Musical Accompaniment pays tribute to the work of Hladnik's late father, renowned director Boštjan Hladnik. Sequences from Hladnik's films Fable of Love (1954), Masquerade (1971), and Dancing in the Rain (1961) were reissued as videos for three songs from the album; Death is New York, Heart of Darkness and Electricity. Even though they're divided by decades, the footage and the music fuse seamlessly, yielding an extraordinary father/son collaboration.
Vain – A Tribute to a Ghost
Matrix Music and Chrom Records, 2004
With their fourth studio album, Silence became part of the legend surrounding Matej Smolnik a.k.a. Vain, a promising young artist whose sudden death in 1998 – a death that remains shrouded in mystery – unveiled a unique musical legacy, as well as an assorted collection of prose and drawings.
The connection between Vain and Silence is apparent and yet difficult to pinpoint. They share many things: bits and pieces of their past, certain aspects of their personalities and, most importantly, their work. It is impossible to draw a clear line between Vain and Silence, as it is impossible to distinguish between myth and reality.
The music, a combination of electronic beats and acoustic elements – ranging from classical string arrangements to exotic instruments (santur, koto, valiha ...) – is where Vain and Silence are one: uncompromising and undeterred by the stifling demands of the music business. As Vain wrote in his diary: The trouble with music is that it often deals with listeners.
Unlike a Virgin
Chrom Records, 1999
The duet's second album was a radical departure from the amiable electro-pop of Ma non troppo. This intense, unruly, tumultuous record – laden with distorted synthesizers, digital noise, and electric guitars – is Silence's grittiest, angriest work to date.
The making of the album introduced considerable changes to Silence's usual methodology. Normally, the duet avoids venturing into the studio before wrapping up the songwriting process. In this case, however, Silence entered the studio with nothing more than sketches. The latter were then gradually moulded into fully-fledged songs. The duet was thus able to merge the songwriting and production processes and achieve a greater amount of spontaneity.
Unlike a Virgin revealed Silence's proclivity for experimentation. It also introduced one of Silence's key traits: the duet's knack for eluding straightforward categorisations.
The title of the album, an allusion to Madonna's 1984 album and single, was concocted by Benko's father, Bogdan. The latter is also responsible for the title of the duet's debut. After listening to Ma non troppo for the first time, he remarked: Silence ... ma non troppo (Silence ... but not too much).
Ma non troppo
Chrom Records, 1997
With their debut album, Silence paid homage to the music of their youth. This was not a conscious decision, though. As such, it resulted in a remarkably candid, guileless album. Ma non troppo is a love letter to one's idols, written with a lover's fervor ... and blindness.
The album blends the synthesizer galore and unbridled melodiousness of the 80's with beats typical of the 90's. It includes a surprising cover of Elvis Presley's slightly overlooked classic, The Girl of My Best Friend. Silence's version first appeared in Elvis de Luxe (1997), an outlandish play produced by the Grapefruit Theatre. Another prominent track is Kraljestvo mačjih oči, the only song on the album in the duet's mother tongue. The record also features a hidden track, #1 Hit Single. This innocuous, jocose song was actually a source of considerable distress for Chrom Records. The label was convinced the song's euphoric lambasting of the media would alienate the press. Drastic preemptive measures were implemented; the song was placed five minutes after the album's penultimate track, I'm a Memory, and removed from the booklet.
Ma non troppo marks the beginning of Silence's long-lasting and remarkably prolific collaboration with producer Peter Penko.