BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa
First edition of 300 released: February 15, 2005 SOLD
Second edition of 700 released: April 5, 2005
The second edition is now available through the Helen
Scarsdale Agency for $13.00
Brennivin is an Icelandic liquor vulcanized from the humble
potato and flavored with cumin, although youd be
hard pressed to taste much beyond the astringent burn
that it leaves in your mouth. Bottled in matte black glass
and stamped with ominously simple labels, brennivin appears
less like something to imbibe and more like poison; and
in that creeping slow death kind of way, it is. For the
Icelandic electro-absurdist outfit Stilluppsteypa, brennivin
has soaked into every fiber of their being; and as a result,
oozes out of their terminal drones, sputtered rhythms,
and atomic fractures. As much brennivin (and mind-altering
chemicals in general have been a muse for Stilluppsteypa,
they are also a curse; Stilluppsteypas oblique Dada
expressionism and devilish black humour erupt with megalomaniacal
invincibility that comes with a few too many drinks; but
at the same time, Stilluppsteypa has developed a parallel
ethos of clinical minimalism the reflects the introspection,
headaches, and melancholia of the morning after.
In their poetically abject celebration of brennivin, Stilluppsteypa
(comprised of Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson)
accepted the invitation from Swedish composer BJ Nilsen
to collaborate upon an album related to alcohol and its
mind-numbing effects. Nilsen has been working in various
constellations of experimental music, best known for his
recordings as Hazard published through Touch and Ash International.
Focusing the perception of natural sounds through a reconstruction
of time and space, Nilsen has rendered the commonplace
sounds of wind, rain, and snow as stealthfully seductive
and quietly menacing drifts of frozen sound. Their resultant
collaboration is an existentialist allegory in which the
three drunkenly stumble out in a Scandinavian winter night
and spiral toward the inevitable point in which they blackout.
Lest this be construed as a derelict piece of method acting,
the craft that Nilsen, Sigmarsson, and Thorsson brought
to Vikinga Brennivin is impeccable, as the extended
soundfields breath 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.
The first edition of Vikinga Brennivín was
strictly limited to 300 copies due to the elaborate artwork.
The Helen Scarsdale Agency commissioned its in-house fabricator
Jim Haynes to produce the exquisite packaging of hand-manipulated
copper foil with silkscreened text.
A second edition with the same silkscreened design on
paper has been published with the same musical program
and a slightly more economical artwork exchanging the
metal foil for an equally luminous copper-hued paper.