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NILSEN, BJ & STILLUPPSTEYPA / ANLA COURTIS - Golden Circle Afternoon

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Editions Mego eMEGO 192
Release Year: 2014
Note: the series of 'intoxiation' - collaborations by BJ NILSEN & STILLUPPSTEYPA continues, this time a teamwork with ANLA COURTIS, inspired by their long tour travellings & little recordings made during it, resulting in two side-long tracks, music like a strange, unexpected dream....almost 46 min. in length
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €16.50


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"Recorded and mixed in Berlin, Reykjavk, Buenos Aires, 2013. Artwork by Helgi Thorsson, Bj Nilsen & Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson. 'Here back in Buenos Aires after more than three months touring so nice to slow down and relax a bit.' Those were the first words coming from an email from Anla after another long tour around Europe but there had been many other tours. Day 10. After a long train delay in Mannheim we were confused and exhausted and not remembering where the next destination would be. Mannheim had only offered a hard floor as bed and no sheets, and this is in the middle of winter time. Of course this experience gave us the idea that we should or more precisely MOST do a record together which concept would be: Travelling. Like an audio travel guide. Plus we are all big fans of the Travelling Wilburys. We thought this idea to be one of the best one on this tour so far. In the train we were listening to Future Days by CAN. Day 4. Moving backwards a bit here. We caught Anla working on recordings in his hotel room. This was in Stockholm and one of the better paid gigs, with hotel rooms for all of us. Anla was interested in the sound coming from the heater in the bathroom. So he started recording it's sound using a dictaphone. It sounded really interesting and was made into a long fade at the nights gig in Stockholm. That same sound you can hear on the record. Day 6. Copenhagen: Here traditional town flavors, located bookstores can be found all around. Beer capital town some might say. Weather was not on our side and the trip took close to 12 hours but was all worth it. I think it was Siggi saying something along the lines of: 'Expensive but worth it!' Helgi also remembering that time in the late 90s when touring with Reynols. Back then we did gigs with small card paper boxes as main sound source. Day 8. The Keukenhof Gardens, Leiden, Holland. We decided to invite some local musicians to the bar, as we had a few days off we took advantage of doing a few outtakes. Some of it appears on this record but we can't tell you where as the track listing got mixed-up by the recording engineers." [label info]

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"Ah, the plight of the supergroup touring the world with fits of drunkenness, wanton groupies, the drudgery of long travel days, and of course a couple of good gigs between. Such is the fictional landscape mapped out by the dada-punk sound artists BJ Nilsen, Sigtryggur Sigmarsson & Helgi Thorsson (aka Stilluppsteypa), and Anla Courtis. Nilsen & Stillupsteypa have been working together for many many years now, alternating releases between Editions Mego and The Helen Scarsdale Agency, proving to be a rare commodity in the realm of avant-electronics that a collaborative project can develop beyond the one-night stand of hedonistic improvisation followed by bouts of slumped file-sharing. No, their wintery psychedelic collages of existential madness, sheering drone, VHS horror sound design, and Haflerian confusion have developed into one hell of an expressionist vocabulary. In bringing the tireless traveller and exemplary paratactilist in his own right Anla Coutis into the fold, the notion of these four embarking on some stupid-ass world tour akin to the Travelling Wilburys seemed apt. So, they ran with it in the same lysergic madness that Leif Elggren musters in his ludicrously brilliant artforms. The languid drones of the opening number "Aurora Australis" (named for the southern hemisphere polar-light phenomenon) suspends cryptic field recordings and nocturnal creaks upon corona-glow drones that ebb and flow with a psychological tension that Lynch & Splet mastered on the Eraserhead soundtrack, but here pocked with frightening gasps for air and violent jabs of noise. Side B's title "Fish Is God" seems like the punchline to a surrealist's knock knock joke; and if that may be an apt analogy, these four take that credo of absurdity rather seriously. Rolling out oceanic swells of rippling tone that rise up its tidal crescendo only to have its motion cut out with a dramatic tug to silence before an unsettling chunk of guttural vocalizations of an one-man orgy fitted to scabs of fragmented white noise. It's hard to really tell what Courtis may be up to in these procedures, as the album is very much a continuation of those amazing records that Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa have crafted over the years. Brilliant stuff." [Aquarius Rec]



"In recent months we had quite a few releases by Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, one half of Stilluppsteypa. It seems that whenever Sigmarsson is together with Helgi Thorsson, the other half, BJ Nilsen is also present and they record their music. It's no longer one of those one-off things as by now they have a considerable discography together, and at discogs they have a listing as BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa. For their latest record they also have Argentinian guitarist Anla Courtis (once of Reynols fame and a former collaborator with Nilsen on the Brombron project - it's a small world) on board, and the cover indicates that the record was recorded in Berlin, Reykjavik and Buenos Aires, so presumably collaboration through mail. I don't think that's the reason why this new record has a slightly different sound than before. Whereas in the past drones played an all-important role to create dense and beautiful soundscapes, the improvised guitar of Courtis has quite a distinguished role.
Obviously this doesn't mean that the drones are entirely wiped out here. The heavily processed field recordings - towards the end of 'Aurora Australis' to be recognized as sea sounds - mingling with organ sounds, lots of electronics make up yet another intense record of musique concrete meeting with drones and this time also guitar sounds. Another new feature, which they do on each side of the record, is at the beginning to create a quick build up, towards a crescendo and cut out and start again. It's a collage like technique that I didn't hear them doing before, or perhaps not a lot. It works quite well and it's perhaps something they should consider doing more often inside the space of a piece. Of the two sidelong pieces I preferred 'Fish Is God' best, with a beautiful ending of a dark ambient nature slowly converting into rattling percussion. Great record." [FdW/Vital Weekly]