REVIEWS

High Rise and Ink

Portugal-born, Stockholm-based Susana Santos Silva has become one of the most prolific, identifiable and quietly celebrated presences in avant-garde jazz in recent years. A trumpeter, composer and sound artist by trade, so diverse is her catalogue that it’s impossible to distil into one vibe. Whether over the course of one long-form piece or three tracks, she’s capable of running the full gamut from beautifully introspective to menacingly dark. And 18-minute piece for experimental Italian label Superpang, ‘From the Ground Birds Are Born’ sees her drop the trumpet for shimmering organs and resonant, maximalist but multi-faceted synth movements. Though it never gets quite as dark, it sort of picks up where January’s ‘Sometimes It Rains A lot‘ left off in its Jim O’Rourke-esque expanse, shifting through 4th-dimensional gears. Like a lot of the best drone stuff, its early power is in the sheer weight of its stillness, engrossing whether taking on an ominous or heavenly tone. To me, it feels not so vivid in imagery as it is in mental state, whether that be jubilation or suffocating anxiety. When motion rises out of the stagnancy, it’s utterly compelling in the same respect. That’s best emphasised by the transition from skittering tumultuousness around the 6-7 minute mark followed by twinkling respite a few minutes later, which seems to characterise what most of us may have felt internally over the last 12 months. At this stage, it’s pretty much a cliché to talk about ambient music as being the ultimate accompaniment to deep thought, but ‘From The Ground…’ never rests on one mindset. It’s not so much about reflection as it is about company and acceptance, no matter how you’re feeling.