BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa
Passing Out
CD HMS 013

Vital Weekly
by Frans de Waard
May 2008

It's good to see a label committed to a work, and that the trust to explore certain roads further. Passing Out is the third album recorded by BJ Nilsen and Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson, the later two also known as Stillupsteypa. Passing Out of course refers to drinking, just like the previous albums. Not the drinking as a social habit, but fierce drinking as only the scandinavians can do really good. Or so it seems. For a moment I considered to buy a good bottle of this or that, and wait for the evening, drink the bottle, with pen and paper within reach and listen to this album. But it's monday afternoon and I know I have to get up early tomorrow, so it'll has to do completely sober, sunshine all round and soft spring breeze - all the wrong conditions I guess. Perhaps this contrast of good condition (all around) makes the album even stronger, I was thinking. The complete and total isolation of the music, the long passages of seemingly no action (there is just one piece, clocking it at 68 minutes), with then a sudden break, a melody filters in, the radio starts humming and field recordings - that backbone of so much in Vital Weekly and certainly here - make this an album of not just pure drones or just processed field recordings, but the strange elements thrown in, give this album a stranger, almost alien feel to it. If it's the equivalent of passing out is a bit hard to say: the act of passing out on alcohol prevents you from remembering anything. This is however their best album to date and makes a strong trilogy.