The Great Silence //

Album label: 
Release date: 
Recording location: 
Duper, Bergen
Recording date: 
Monday, September 15, 2003
Recording technician: 
Jørgen Træen
  • 1. Back To Nature (14:47)
  • 2. The New Sound (29:02)
  • 3. The Great Silence (08:09)


The Great Silence is probably the BEST recording I have ever heard from Lasse. It was recorded in Jørgen Træen's (professional) studio, and it's produced by Golden Serenades (Træen + John Hegre)... While Lasse himself has said that the disc is "as primitive as it gets", I wouldn't really agree... What it is, is a devastatingly PURE display of the finest kind of harsh noise, and yet another in the long line of records showing Marhaug's incredible feeling for vital and living noise. Highest recommendation for this one... fucking ESSENTIAL!
-- Tommy Carlsson (Treriksröset / Segerhuva)

"Fearsomely relentless" - Wire

"A sturdy, hefty mark on the scene" - Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Lasse Marhaug- The Great Silence CD (Troniks/ Pacrec)

I know very little about this man other then he is very known in the avant and industrial world and if this CD is another close to what he does on a regular basis. I bow down to the man. Crushing violent harsh noise with electronic mash up mastery. This CD is full on kicking the shit out of me. Wow this is in the same league of awe as Sickness, Control, Fire in the Head, Whitehouse etc!!!!!! I just don't want to stop listening to this it maybe the best Noise release to come out in the last 12 months for me. " The Great Silence" is going to make me look into his back catalog as the collab material he has done is very different to this not as harsh, bleak or mind blasting in any way shape of form. Lasse Marhaug at a mere 32 plus yrs has given us a CD release to set all future Harsh noise records as a standard too. YOU NEED THIS !!!!!!! (

Lasse Marhaug - The Great Silence [Pacrec - 2007]

Not unsurprisingly with this been the work of One half of Norwegian noise terrorist's Jazkammer and released on the Pacrec label, this has very little to do with silence great or otherwise. It's a deep and textured collection of noise craft, that along the way melds in-between the sound roar and rush some quite musical traces.
In all there 3 tracks dating from 2003- utilizing guitar, amps, peddles, microphones and electronics. Back to nature opens the album up with the looped and grinding tones, with some neat feedback burns and distorted and overloaded toypaino like tones that keep taping out repeated fiery harmonic tones, giving the track quite a playful if violent feel. The new sound is next up and the longest on offer here at nearly 30 minutes, again it rips out of one speaker. Mixing grinding static, cut up and melted voice elements, bent jarring organ or melodic snippets of sound and what sounds like melted pop singing. Along with other sound flotsam and jetsam that sudden appears darting out of the rolling and burn noise storm. Really very effective and disorientating track especially with headphones on, as you have keeping having slip them off thinking someone is talking to you. As the track develops it goes into more rhythmic and looped guitar elements that move in quite a memorable manner. Lastly we have the title track which is made up of sawing and whistling tones with quite and messed up harmonic feel. On this track I guess you can make out the guitar origins better, as you can clearly hear guitars tones throbbing and let off distorted squeals. It all end's with a wonderfully rich high pitch sand storm type vibe.
Yet another very rewarding and attention keeping slab of noise art, with layers of sound detail to discover with each new play and interesting harmonic traces. (


The silence of Marcel Duchamp is over-rated, as Beuys once said, and John Cage found out there is no silence. So if there is no silence, why not go complete opposite? That's what Lasse Marhaug may have had in mind when he recorded 'The Great Silence' one september day in 2003. Armed with guitar, amps, pedals, microphones, noise electronix, etc (that presumably is not the laptop that he was armed with for some time after that, before going guitar again), he does 'a Merzbow' here. Record a full album in one day of ear-splitting noise. Three long tracks that work like monochrome paintings - in black that is. Mean, dirty and loud and Marhaug is like the son of Masami. Crafting a fine album, which leaves no room for any surprises, which are these days hard to find in the world of noise, but 'The Great Silence' is a sturdy, hefty mark on the scene. (Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)

It may seem like I’m on some sort of vendetta against PACrec. I reviewed three albums distributed by PACrec in the course of a year and gave them all low scores. Truth is, TMT headquarters sends us albums based on our areas of perceived expertise. Since I am one of the default noise-and-weird-music guys, headquarters hooks it up with bubble-wrap mailers full of promos that fit this niche. Sometimes I luck out and receive some great albums in the packet, but I mainly receive average- and below-average albums. For every four- or five-star albums, seven albums warrant a rating of three stars or below. (Almost all music factors into this equation but at a larger scale.)

PACrec releases a lot of albums each year, and while much of its output is worthwhile, the label’s prolific output factors into the aforementioned equation. Almost every time I get one of their promos, the album ends up being a run-of-the-mill noise record with little-to-no innovative variation. Each of these releases exhibit the “angry white male” mode of noise-making with walls of fuzz, caterwauling, and high-pitched breakdowns at ear-bleeding levels.


Lasse Marhaug’s The Great Silence is no different than any of the angry white male noise albums. In fact, it’s no different than any Japanese power electronics record from the late-’80s or early-’90s. Obviously, one can discern between, say, Sickness, Cherry Point, Prurient, Marhaug and the 3,000 other power electronics acts that sprouted up in the post-No Fun Fest/Lightning Bolt America, but the same elements make up each entity’s approach to music. Execution separates the doers from the dabblers. On The Great Silence, Marhaug seems like a dabbler figuring out what to do with a few pedals, a mic, and a Strat. Though Marhaug created a vast body of work in the past 20 years, both with Jazzkammer and solo, one cannot tell by listening to the album. Some angry screaming gleams through the chaos, but Marhaug brims the record with standard dense stop/start fuzz blitzkriegs.

The tracks, however, exhibit a varying approach. “Back to Nature” starts the record by instantly infesting the stereo with a thick swarm of buzzing amp intensity, occasionally interrupted by a high-pitched mic screech or frenzied train-whistle frequency. The thrill wears off after Marhaug screams into the mic, and it blends in with the sound. Soon, Marhaug transports the listener to a bland realm with a series of grating television fuzz swirls injected with the customary BUZZZZZZ [STOP/High-Pitch] BUZZZZZZZZZZ [STOP] antics. A few thrilling moments of venomous metal drilling and eerie keyboard cannot save this one from the used rack.

For nearly 30 minutes, “The New Sound” cuts up and mixes every Whitehouse track into a gapless, non-stop blur of noise with a few organ and radio sounds for good measure. Thirty-minutes is a lot to ask from a listener, and when the best one can muster is a gelatinous ball of rumbling cacophony conjured from overused metallic sounds, the fast-forward button is often the best option. The title track musters some great live moves with a blistering attack similar to Pain Jerk, the inherent problem being the track blasts through your stereo, not some PA speakers at the club. As with the majority of The Great Silence, it loses some of its intensity in translation and, in the end, could use a distinctive voice. (S.Kobak, Tinymixtapes)

I have a stressful job. The things I see on a day to day basis are disturbing and sometimes pretty traumatic. Sleep has been pretty variable for the last couple of years as things I encounter during the day sometimes revisit me at night. In the last year I’ve found walking home from work pretty helpful. Something to do with serotonin levels or something. During those walks I find that some albums have an almost therapeutic effect. In the past I’ve mainly listened to Merzbow although in the last couple of months Daniel Menche and Kevin Drumm’s Gauntlet has been working a trick. I find extreme noise soothing. It cuts me off from the traffic noise and outside world and almost scrubs clean the pile of crap that sits in my head so by the time I get home I’m ready to re-engage with the world.

Maybe this is why the title of The Great Silence makes perfect sense to me. On an objective letter the title is nonsense because The Great Silence contains some of most brutal and primitive noise I’ve ever heard. Walls of static and distorted electronic abuse which doesn’t let up. This is pure white-hot noise and an album I’ve enjoyed for the past couple of weeks. For a comparison there are some similarities with Merzbow’s work from the early to mid-1990′s yet my interaction with this record had me thinking whether records like The Great Silence are an ultimate, extreme version of drone. The noise doesn’t change much over the three lengthy tracks. There are no Merzbow “rate of change” comparisons here. Maybe what Marhaug does here is a form of power ambience. This is the first Marhaug solo record I’ve heard. I’m not sure whether it is reflective of his other stuff but as a stand alone record for someone looking for a noise record at the more relentless end of the scale then The Great Silence is one to track down. (