Wednesday, January 13, 2010

BJ Nilsen - The Invisible City

Touch, 2010

I've held off on BJ Nilsen for a while because his aesthetic seemed a bit dry to me at first look, but this album has proved it otherwise for me. Subtle and composerly electro-acoustic music that manages the space between field recording and pure drone in such a professional manner that hasn't been seen too much since old, peak Stars of the Lid. While still Arctic/ North Atlantic in feel, this album turns its eyes towards the lonely yet populated cities, the silent and sleeping spaces of our glorious metal hives, deep in the hours before morning. Yet like Thomas Köner (to whom Nilsen I think is often best compared to) and his seminal work Nuuk (specifically its 2004 CD+DVD reissue on MillePlateauxMedia where it was urbanly-rethemed) the sound here is of isolated cities in winter, cities on the arctic fringe. Tromsø. Reykjavík. Nuuk itself. Ghostly and alien because of the unforgiving subzero temperatures out in the aurora-dusted permanent twilight, abandoned by the warm yet armored Germanic hearts of geothermally heated flats. Makes me long for Iceland and a warm cup of tea on the tundra plain.


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