BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa
Drykkjuvisur Ohljodanna
CD HMS 008

The Sound Projector
by Aaron Robertson
Issue 16, Winter 2007 / 2008

This CD with an almost unpronounceable name is the second collaboration between Swedish Touch regular Nilsen and Icelandic duo Stilluppsteypa, otherwise known as Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson. Following on in much of the same vain as its 2005 predecessor Vikinga Brennivin, also on the Helen Scarsdale Agency, this album apparently charts the existential dilemna all three seem to have with the demon drink. There abound many stories from the frozen north about people drinking themselves to death at an early age, and Nilsen has apparently been spooked to think he too is on the slippery ice-covered slope to alcoholism and an early grave.

To say that these sounds these three have managed to commit to disc are glacial would be an understatement. This would seem to be mainly Nilsen's doing. Although unknown to me, Stilluppsteypa (whose name apparently has something to do with the illegal home-butchering of livestock practiced in Iceland) are by all accounts much more of a rowdy duo. The album's almost omnipresent drones, that presumably take their cue from a snow-covered landscape familiar to them all, are interrupted only infrequently by small sonar-like blips and electronic beetles. These have been sent out to search for other life forms in the surrounding impregnable atmosphere. The despair begins to set in when they come back empty-handed.

How this all translates into some alcohol-ridden angst I'm not really sure. Yes, there is a vague feeling of disquiet about the album, but it's difficult to localise. Maybe they were so hungover that they really didn't want to do anything to disturb their own schnapps-inflicted misery. If this CD really is a document of an existential dilemna then it's a little too calm for my liking, and maybe all three of them need to go much deeper into that dilemna to find something more worthy of committing to disc. However, if it's simply an album of minimalist electroacoustic music that we're talking about, well then it's not too bad at all.