Silent Neighbor — Tired Of Your Smile

Wilco? Tom Waits? Daniel Johnston played by a free jazz combo or maybe an Ed Sheeran- Stravinsky crossover? «Tired Of Your Smile», the new album by silent neighbor, is just as multi- faceted and sometimes seemingly contradictory as these comparisons suggest. The unconventional songwriter and his unusual band take trips in every direction: after a theatrical beginning, beautiful pop and folk melodies emerge just to be torn apart by soundscapes that are reminiscent of 19th and 20th century compositions, as well as complex harmonies borrowed from the world of contemporary jazz. «Tired Of Your Smile» is an album filled with musical wit and lyrical poignancy, bipolar emotional states and unexpected turns, but still is accessible to the listener. At the heart of it, there’s always the songwriter’s craft: a clear structure, textual consistency and reduction to the max.


The four musicians of the distinctive quartet each have a background in improvised music and they are used to following their intuition without compromise. After two years of playing together, there was therefore no question of how the album was to be recorded. All ten songs were recorded on just one weekend in September 2019. After a few cuts and exactly one overdub – a musical saw – the songs were ready to be mixed. Because of this, «Tired Of Your Smile» is a vivid snapshot filled with spontaneous interactions between the four band members who sculpted every song into a unique version. On the cello we hear Joachim Flüeler, an experienced improviser who also works as a composer of film and theatre music. Philipp Hillebrand plays the clarinet and switches effortlessly between traditional and more modern and open forms of jazz, while always maintaining his signature style with a strong focus on melodic cogency. On the drums, the sampler, and many other electronic gadgets that he often uses to catapult the band sound to unexpected places, is Maxime Paratte. For years, Maxime has been one of Switzerland’s most sought-after drummers, whether it’s for adding some groove to the next big radio hit or sensitively shaping the sound of a modern jazz combo. And lastly, there is of course the songwriter himself. Philipp Saner started his musical career as a slightly depressed Nirvana teen, who went through an explosive Punk Rock phase and ended up as a jazz nerd who spent day and night practicing. He then managed to bring back the punk spirit into the world of jazz by the means of free improvisation. At the same time, he never lost his passion for language and songwriting, which was the reason he picked up a guitar in the first place. The «silent neighbor»- project has been around in different forms since 2012. With this new quartet, Philipp has finally found a setting that allows him to play his songs the way they naturally flow out of him without forcing himself into a stylistic straitjacket.


Even the name chosen for his songwriting project, silent neighbor, is sourced in two different worlds: The name is based on the title of a composition by the avant garde guitarist Ben Monder, and also inspired by Tom Waits’ spoken word song «What’s He Building in There». The artwork for «Tired Of Your Smile» was contributed by the Zurich based artist and animator Anaïs Voirol. The characters she created, lost somewhere between toddlers and old age, enter into a dialogue with the songs on the album and create new associative spaces where imagery and music influence each other in their perception and meaning.


Line up:

Philipp Saner: vocals, guitars, composition

Philipp Hillebrand: clarinet, bassclarinet

Joachim Karl Melchior Flüeler: cello

Maxime Paratte: drums, electronics

Promotion:Mouthwatering Records, (CH)