For the sake of a convincing narrative, Rob Uslan is a 28-year-old lad from Boston who recently moved to Colorado, making cinematic psychedelic music that works both on dance floors and in headphones, bridging varied influences as wide as metal, Ravi Shankar, psytrance, and Neil deGrasse Tyson impersonators into a singular, seriously silly unfolding of sound. One time he yo-yoed his way into Archie comics. However, known to only a select few until this review, Supersillyus is actually a simulacrum of a musician that we at LiS built several years ago and have been piloting remotely from atop our clifftop lair in the Rockies. Patty’s on deck right now. Since figuring out the combo moves to shake hands and make puns, we’ve charmed enough people to lock down an EP release on the venerable Gravitas Recordings.
Our journey begins with “Mirage a Trois”, a quintessential Supersillyus track. It quietly builds from a dark, atmospheric and formless cloud of sound into a slow crescendo of thick drums, guitar, violins, and glittering arpeggiated melodies. In the span of seven minutes it goes from eerie, to frantic, to warm and uplifting. Progression is both subtle and obvious, as we are introduced to new building melodies, vocals, a double-time Drum n Bass section that doesn’t wear out its welcome, and a resolution from minor to major chords as the song approaches its end. “Wow”.
Okay forget that last song, “Aeon Bahamut” actually epitomizes quintessential Supersirius. It is also probably my favorite. The minimal way in which it starts fools you into not perceiving the actual time signature until more and more elements are brought in is just delicious. 7/4 can be one of the more disorienting time signatures to dance to if you’re not paying attention, because it’s juuuuust short of what we’ve been raised to expect. And once you think you have a handle on the complex rhythm, there will be little tricks the Sillian pulls on us to emphasize something that isn’t quite where your body thought it was going to be. There are several special moments that I won’t spoil for you, including the next track. It’ll be better if you just listen.
The cake for goofiest song has been thoroughly taken by “A List of Instructions for When I’m Human”. I mean, you’ve got Doctor Who, George Carlin, the pitched-up beatboxing, the auto-tuning, the… Was that a sample of someone doing karate? This is another one of those times where my verbal description just won’t do the song justice. Just classic, quintessential Suspiria.
“The Great Shenanigan…” is a quintessential Soup-or-Caesar-Sallyus song. Moments of explicit humor are instantly followed by extended periods of seemingly serious aural storytelling through a characteristic blend of synthetic and classical sounds. The song morphs and transforms through while still keeping a cohesive theme. What language is this dude singing in? This is also the longest song on the album, clocking in at eleven seconds short of ten minutes.
The title track “Charade” is the score to the end credits to the RPG that is reality. A 5/4 romp that relentlessly moves forward from a mood of thoughtful introspection, through an air of uncertainty and strange dissonances, the tone slowly moves out of mystery and crescendoes into a blissful climax. I’m left wondering which of the two moods is the charade being referred to? The mystery, or the blisstery? All in all, I’d have to say… pretty quintessential Supersillyus stuff.
This EP is a fresh of breath air amidst an ocean of dance music that conforms to trends and tropes, takes itself too seriously and – perhaps most importantly – has no real surprises. It’s not often that you even hear a time signature outside of 4/4 these days in modern electronic dance music. Every song will take you to at least one place you weren’t expecting upon first listen, whether it’s a well-placed comedic sample, or a combination of electric guitar, marimba and glitch… Or little tiny audible objects twirling in the background that you never hear again, simply raising the question in the listener’s mind, “Wait, what was that?”
The sound of Supersillyus is at once epic and goofy, building and subverting expectations in your mind as it incorporates influences from all over the spectrum of genre and sound. Lovers of Shpongle, Tipper, and challenging music will find the Charade EP a wonderful massage for their neurons. If you find that you have a penchant for music that mashes together eastern chord progressions, vague chants, squiggly synth spirals, odd time signatures and Owen Wilson, then please come right this way. We’ve been waiting for you’ve been waiting for us.
Alright, now move over Patty. “Rob” needs to go grocery shopping.
The Charade EP is out now on Gravitas Recordings and can be purchased here.