BJ NILSEN / STILLUPPSTEYPA

Big Shadow Montana

(Helen Scarsdale - HMS020) LP $15.00

After producing a frozen trilogy of intoxicated dronemuzik for the Agency, these Scandinavian gentlemen venture into fictionalized soundtracks for imagined Mondo films and science fiction serials. Slow-motion delirium manifests in occluded smears, nocturnal gasps, and arcane tones from a variety of analogue synthesizers. Flickered impressions flash in conjunction with Breton's Surrealism manifesto in the form of memories from happily drunk escapades in the heart of winter, the sidereal spells cast by innerspace travelers Klaus Schulze and Coil, and the nagging questions of existential portent: "Was that bassline from Goblin, or was it German Oak? Maybe something from Faust IV?" Nilsen, Sigmarsson, and Thorsson elegantly twist and bend fleeting images into a spiraling symphony of bubbling electronics and spectral drones that mutate into lugubrious yet carnivalesque waltzes. When this first appears, it is the echoing undercarriage of a simple melody, bobbing amid rattling chains and cascading cymbal crashes, only to dissolve into sequences of cold-war era tone beacons and empathic swaths of maudlin sound design. At the second occurrence, the melody washes ashore on the Iceland beach, where nude Viking men and women try in vain to get a tan with the sun just barely above the horizon line. It is a pyrrhic jubilation of calliope harmonies set down by organs and synths turning a pale-blue hue in the wake of all that white skin shivering underneath the arctic sky. Includes free download card.

BJ NILSEN / STILLUPPSTEYPA

Drykkjuvisur Ohljodanna

(Helen Scarsdale) CD $12.00

In Scandinavia, it’s not uncommon to hear of someone’s mother, grandfather, uncle, or plumber who drank him- or herself to death at an early age; and the Swedish drone artist BJ Nilsen has felt the alcoholic pangs which may foreshadow his own demise. In recent years, he has turned to his Icelandic neighbors Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson for existential sympathy over the problems of their collective lust for alcohol. Drykkjuvisur Ohljodanna marks the second collaborative document of abject minimalism that these three have composed; and like its predecessor Vikinga Brennivin, it is spiked with drunken thought. Any alcohol-induced euphoria has been tempered by perturbing blackouts, moments of cruelty, and an all-consuming nihilism. Beyond their shared Scandinavian heritage, their expressionist urge for the frigid drone, and their penchant for drink, Nilsen and Stilluppsteypa intend this recording as an open ended experience, wandering through their sound without the burden of any exegetical text that may get in the way.

BJ NILSEN / STILLUPPSTEYPA

Passing Out

(Helen Scarsdale) CD $12.00

The final component to a trilogy -- thematically linked by the psychotropic effects of alcohol -- of isolationist compositions for barren field recordings and lumbering electric drones by these Nordic sound artists. With one singular track that spans 60 minutes, a nearly constant thrum and rumble of monochromatic low frequencies casts a grim pall upon the precisely dialed-in modulations and vibrations. Spectral guitars, maudlin tunes from haunted radios, angrily growling voices, and field recordings of wind-whipped snow and ice bury themselves deep amid these subharmonic drones. Letterpress and silkscreen artwork in an edition of 1000.

BJ NILSEN / STILLUPPSTEYPA

Vikinga Brennivin

(Helen Scarsdale) CD $12.00

For the Icelandic electro-absurdist outfit Stilluppsteypa, the near-lethal alcoholic beverage brennivin oozes out of their terminal drones, sputtered rhythms, and atomic fractures. Their clinical minimalism reflects the introspection, headaches, and melancholia of the morning after. Swedish composer BJ Nilsen has rendered the commonplace sounds of wind, rain, and snow as seductive and quietly menacing drifts of frozen sound. Their resultant collaboration is a drunken stumble in a Scandinavian winter night via extended soundfields that breathe with the majesty of distant fog horns and sparkle with the delicate light of countless stars cast down from the black heavens onto the frozen tundra below. Frightening and barren, yet hauntingly compelling, Vikinga Brennivin is an isolationist masterpiece.