BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa
Vikinga Brennivin
CD HMS 004


Paris Transatlantic
by Dan Warburton
April 2005

The first edition of this album is already something of a collectors' item, as Helen Scarsdale's in-house designer (and frequent Wire contributor) Jim Haynes prepared just 300 handmade copper foil inserts with the album title and track info silk-screened on them. They look very nice indeed, even if they're stuck in a standard jewel box, but to be honest I'd have preferred a free bottle of Brennevin myself, Brennevin being a seriously headfucking potato alcohol normally bottled in suspicious-looking black glass and highly popular in Iceland, which is where electronicians Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson aka Stilluppsteypa come from. They're joined by BJ Nilsen, who hails from Sweden – where they also produce some pretty wicked liquor, but that's probably beside the point – on five (there only seem to be four marked on the copper plate) tracks of utter majesty. Don't you dare say electronic music can't move you to tears; these huge, spacious glowing structures are sombre, magnificent and exquisitely constructed (and I haven't got the faintest idea what their titles mean.. something to do with the booze, who knows?). And I thought that irr. app. (ext.)'s Ozeanische Gefühle was a hard act for Helen Scarsdale to follow. Like Matt Waldron (irr. app. (ext.) to you), our three protagonists here have something that's all too often lacking in today's boot-the-Mac-click-open-soundfile-and-let-it-rip-and-while-it's-playing-I-can-answer-email (just joking) electronic music culture: damn good ears. They probably don't have much liver left if the press release is to be believed, so make sure you get your copy of Vikinga Brennevin before stocks dry up altogether. (If you miss out on Jim's copper plate, don't worry – the music will be the same on the second edition.)