BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa
Big Shadow Montana
LP HMS 020

WFMU : Beware Of The Blog
May 2011

    Not having been to the Treasure State myself, I am guessing that Big Shadow Montana is not a site-specific reference. Instead, the two untitled tracks might present a vision of Montana's big skies and open spaces as dreamed up by an oppositional android with a penchant for the surreal. Having collaborated numerous times before, Nilsen, Sigmarsson, and Thorsson sound like one hive mind at work here. Not sure who's doing what, but it hardly matters. The ever-evolving stew of processed sound, a fantastic array of washed-out analog keyboards, disembodied voices, menacing drones, and what sounds like field recordings, electronic bird calls, and fragments of sitar, accompanies the troubled dreamer's imaginings. An analog bubblebath this ain't. Traces of chiming clocks and Geiger counters mix with phone static and stretches of dark turbine drift. Out of nowhere, the android emerges in an underground reservoir with only dubbed out bass floatation devices for company. Within minutes he is alone with hundreds of stars collapsing around him - brightening and fizzling out to reveal whispering tree trunks and snatches of opera. Was that a trumpet or just a tweaked teapot boiling? Bam! The automaton is transported to a ghost town saloon where an electronic music box trio plays to a roomful of heavily-accessorized and somewhat sedated grizzlies dancing with each other in slow motion. The Montana tourism board may not want to adopt this psychotropic dreamscape as its official soundtrack, but I bet all the haunted ghost towns would finally feel enfranchised! -- Daniel Blumin