Release Information 1999
Silence: Unlike a Virgin
…lots of good reviews… :)
There are many records that are reasonably good. Some are even very good. And then there are sometimes, no more than maybe once or twice a year, records that are a real stroke of luck. Albums that not only fill our ears, but in a strange way our whole being. They surprise us with every note and at the same time sound so conclusive that you have the feeling that you have waited all your life for this melody sequence. “Unlike A Virgin”, the second album of the Slovenian duo Silence, is one such album. On their weird and catchy debut “Ma Non Troppo” (1997), the musicians proved that pop isn’t pop, but with their new release, singer Boris Benko and his colleague Primoz Hladnik put one more thing on top. They dare more, have become even more complex, eccentric and intense, and in some cases harder and more aggressive. Soft melodies combine on “Unlike A Virgin” with noisy and noisy passages, contrasts merge into a harmonious whole, and the beguiling singing - sometimes purring, sometimes begging, sometimes angry-demanding - clouds the senses like a drug. That may sound pathetic, but in my opinion the album justifies even the greatest exuberance. After “Unlike A Virgin”, which has nothing to do with Madonna by the way, you definitely can’t get past Silence anymore!
Dark, aggressive, without belonging in the goth corner. Silence is somehow different, harder, more gripping and yet clearly rooted in the wave. I’m especially taken with the increased use of rather nasty synthi sounds, which almost shred the loudspeaker. A very atmospheric disc, yet destructive. This band does not seek consensus but confrontation. And she doesn’t care who falls by the wayside. There is no reconciliation here. Somehow between Deine Lakaien and Kraftwerk, but completely independent. A disc without weak points, anything but quiet and with “Scream, Greeneyes…” there is also a catchy tune that could make its way into the discotheques. My personal favorite is “4-2”, which leaves no questions left. You’re just flat after this CD.
How can you describe an album with words if it actually beats the language? All I can do is try: The Slovenians Boris Benko and Primoz Hladnik set new standards with their second album. If one could confidently describe the debut as synth pop with an inclination to slope, “Unlike a virgin” can only be described as a weird but nevertheless melodic style conglomerate. Like acrobats - without net and double bottom - Benko and Hladnik fly from trapeze to trapeze and pass different popular music styles. Big beats, hard guitars, distorted frequencies and double bass - no musical means is spared. Each song is a hike between melancholy and aggression, well supported by Benko’s stirring emotional singing. And despite all the stylistic and emotional baths, harmony is always a star in the ring.
… Dynamic, melodic, excellently produced - you have to reach deep into the box with positive adjectives. Silence are Dark Pop at it’s best. Sometimes quite synth-poppy, sometimes fierce, but always good. Imagine a crossroads of Depeche Mode in the late 80s, Spahn Ranch and NIN/Marylin Manson… doesn’t exist? I suppose there is! If Depeche Mode hadn’t thrown so much drugs and concentrated more on their musical skills, they might be making music like Silence today. But only maybe. However, “Unlike a virgin” is one of the best albums in this music sector this year and has the undeniable advantage of not being boring even after the tenth listening. A contribution to this is made by the singer’s voice, which is very characteristic and covers the wide range of musical demands. There are no hints, because everything is good.
TIP of the month!
Tip! The title of the Simon & Garfunkel classic “The Sound of Silence” gets a completely new meaning from the point of view of the new album of the Slovenian band Silence. If, after their first album in 1997, the duo was still quite unanimously placed in the Synthipop drawer, this classification can no longer be maintained in 1999. The sound of Silence is far too broad, far too colourful, far too varied and above all far too independent to have to stand up to any comparisons. If other bands from the synthi- and electro environment consistently follow the path of the apparently perfect harmony and the more and more unadorned melodies, Silence have long since broken out of this knitting pattern. Their songs leave enough room for experimentation and a producer like Peter Penko (Coptic Rain, Laibach) brought creativity and the joy of experimentation to unimagined sound qualities. Almost all varieties of modern electronic music can be found on “Unlike A Virgin”. Trip hop, breakbeats, a few decent guitars and above all contemporary electrosounds give every song an unmistakable face and a tremendous expressive power. Sometimes it may sound a bit strange and distorted and even for vocal excesses there is enough room. Because unlike many others, singer Boris Benko is allowed to express feelings other than melancholy with his voice, to shout aggressively, scream desperately, whisper mysteriously or croak exhaustedly. Whether at home or in the club, songs for every mood can be found on “Unlike A Virgin”. And so you can find yourself in the title, depending on your state of health. Silence sound authentic and honest, that also makes this disc something very special.
“Unlike A Virgin” - of course, after all, this CD is not the Slovenian band’s debut. That was years ago and was stylistically still clearly what is called synthie pop (only better). The duo has not stopped since then. On the contrary. They have evolved and conjured up an early masterpiece with “Unlike A Virgin”. In 1999, the sound of the two musicians combined several influences to an independent and unmistakable greatness. Of course there are still some small weaknesses here and there, but the emotional depth and the dense intensity of the group is beyond any doubt. Silence fly weightlessly and high from the depths of life through the ancestral gallery of really good music (David Bowie, Depeche Mode, etc.) and analyze the impressions of the past with the theories of Trip Hop, Grunge and Industrial. The voice of singer Benko has that certain manic something in the voice that only Mike Patton (FNM) has represented credibly so far. In the context of the sometimes claustrophobic, oppressive, then reconciliatory harmonic sound, REALLY FANTASTIC. Silence are on their way. That much is certain.
(Record of the month)
When the Slovenians Boris Benko and Primoz Hladnik released their debut album “Ma Non Troppo” in 1997, the ongoing revival of the classic 80s synthiepop finally received the shot of creativity and progressiveness that the countless epigones, who could at best copy the 80s sound, but had no songwriter qualities of their own, had so far lacked. What Silence spiced up in such a stimulating way on their debut album with a good portion of experimentation in the matter of electronic sounds, experiences an interesting continuation on their successor. Now the duo blends their mature compositions with hard breakbeats, noisy industrial sounds and still haunting pop harmonies, making “Unlike A Virgin” a versatile listening pleasure full of surprises once again.
The Slovenians Boris Benko (vocals) and Primoz Hladnik (instruments) aka Silence are regarded by experts as innovators of synth pop. In fact, the songs of “Unlike A Virgin” are good fuel for the floors. The two sound researchers have underlaid their tracks with all kinds of beats, loops and roboovices. If you just want to listen to the melodies, Silence welcomes you.
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung:
You can read it in the booklet: “No animals were injured during the recording of this CD”. I don’t think so. Instead, the Slovenians Hladnik & Benko have tortured synthesizers, sample machines and computers to the core. The result is successful, their album “Unlike A Virgin” is one of the most versatile records that the electro scene has recently produced. The two sound inventors are not even limited to synthetic sounds. In the background a double bass pulsates, cellos and violinists form a flowing carpet, which is suddenly cut up by Metallica-like electric guitars. The whole thing is carried by weird and shrill breakbeats, which never seem obtrusive and never displace the reserved voice of singer Benko. So where to place it? Silence combine TripHop with Electro, Jazz with Techno and Synthie-Pop with Heavy Metal - Silence, so one can say without exaggeration, have made their own drawer. The work is certainly not simple, multiple listening is necessary. At least when you want to be surprised over and over again. Tips on how to play: “The Fifth Element”, “Barbara”, “Something”.
Well, who’s making fun of my esteemed Madonna? Such an outrage. But the two are allowed to, because whoever delivers such a great record, can also blaspheme. After the debut album “Ma Non Troppo” the two Slovenians now send 11 more little pearls after them. Here it is very difficult to classify them, because if one were to say electro-pop, it would be much too easy, since one would assign a lot of their sounds and rhythms much more to other genres. Have you ever heard how it sounds when you present Industrial a la P.A.L.L, mixed with A-ha? Sounds silly? Well, let’s have a listen to “Barbara”. The pieces are arranged very lovingly, and at every corner a surprise awaits the listener, for example by recording completely new melody sections during the song or completely unexpected breaks and/or guitar interludes. In this area, the best thing that has come between my fingers for a long time.
OBLIVION Metal Magazine 12/99
What the two Slovenes are doing really doesn’t sound virginal. On their second album they present us a sophisticated intelligent fusion of synthi pop, break beat, trip hop and wave. And if you think (just like me first): Leave me satisfied with this electro, there are no guitars in there, you should listen to this CD and broaden your horizon. Silence are not a 08/15 synthi-pop band. Silence become a spider that lures you into its web with its media, its variety and its perfect arrangements. Especially singer Boris Benko is able to inspire with his voice. He can sing really well, especially not as narrow-gauged as his synthie colleagues. And it doesn’t shy away from louder, different sounds and effect devices either. Well, how can you say, this music is universal…..
MUCKE AND MORE Online-Mag:
After the grandiose debut “Ma Non Troppo” the two boys of Silence now release “Unlike A Virgin”, their successor. The Slovenes have evolved. The debut was still in synth pop of the quiet, sound-intensive kind, but now you still get to deal with great sounds, but the music has become a lot harder. Besides synthiepop, the album is not less influenced by other styles like trip hop or industrial-electro, much more powerful than the first album, more experimental, more surprising. The songs are therefore even more varied, but I don’t know if anyone who loves “Ma Non Troppo” can also get along with this album, which doesn’t go into their ears that easily and stays there. You will find everything from quiet to noisy pieces in any case. Peter Penko (Ljubljana, Coptic Rain) has produced again, and in this point the highest level is offered again. A development is always better than stagnation, and even if the calmness of my debut was perhaps a bit more to my liking, this record has become really good again, you just have to listen to it and also be open to harder sounds.
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