Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa
Man From Deep River
2008 editions Mego CD
1. Man From Deep River Part One
2. Man From Deep River Part Two
3. Man From Deep River Part Three
Compiled and mixed in Berlin and Reykjavik 2008
Mastered at Piethopraxis, Köln July 2008
The boiling up bottomless numbness. Slowly disappearing and so suddenly reappearing. A constant vivid reminder yet as honest as possible. The man from deep river quickly develops between two lonely desperate individuals, and the savage natives around him turn just as quickly against their own mountain god. The ‘illness' is caused by several deeply depressing circumstances and by the intense difficulty of other sickening circumstances happening around deep river. The underlining of this situation is precise but not quite naturalistic which has only a very limited influence on the god mountain. Those lovable Nordic heroes are back with a fourth album of intense listening and shined isolationist compositions. In doing so, they have issued yet another brief statement in defense of their research: "Like another wall of jungle trees Man From Deep River leaves us both stunned and disoriented. It is an environment of high tension but also with moments of temporary insanity and auditory hallucinations. Based on a found tape from 1975, which served as guidance for the compositions"
Man From Deep River opens up a new development in their sound. Melodic passages with sweeping electronics and analogue synthesizers mixed with field recordings and disturbed voices creating a multifaceted piece. The Swedish born BJ Nilsen defines his work as "focused upon the sound of nature and its effects on humans, and the perception of time and space as experienced through sound." He has numerous recordings on Touch and has collaborated with the likes of Chris Watson, Christian Fennesz, and Z'ev. The Icelandic citizens Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson are Stilluppsteypa, whose electronic abstractions engage absurd theatrics that mar the pristine surface of minimalism.
Limited to 500 copies.
The e in eMego doesn't stand for easy-listening, that is for sure. Over the last few months, the thoroughly revitalised eMego have sent forth a sublime salvo of the most intriguing and challenging of records. Much of their most recent work has come in the form of collaborations: KTL's IV paired label boss Peter Rehberg once more with Stephen O'Malley, while Angel's Hedonism represented further strange fruit from the meeting between Dirk Dresselhaus and Pan Sonic's Ilpo Väisänen. The best of this estimable bunch, however, is the newest in a series of collaborations between BJ Nilsen and Stillupsteypa.
Icelandic duo Stillupsteypa are serial collaborators, having previously worked with the likes of Ryoji Ikeda, irr.app.(ext.), The Hafler Trio and Melt Banana; indeed, this is their sixth joint venture with BJ Nilsen. Nilsen is probably the better known, through his remarkable releases on the Touch label, both solo (The Short Night, with its blend of field recordings and abrasive noise attained the dubious honour of being my album of the year for 2007) and with Chris Watson. Their new joint venture, Man From Deep River is an extraordinary, unsettling record.
It takes as its starting point an evocative recording made in the rainforest in 1975, and spins nightmares from it. It begins like Chris Watson gone wholly wrong; as a clatter of gamelan and a patter of rain are interspersed with increasingly corrosive sections of drone. I'm captured, drifting in and out of consciousness, mysterious monologues and the mutterings of monkeys breaking through a canopy of metallic greys. Part two is more musical, with muffled melody being increasingly beset by huge vibrations; at one point I felt like I was being trepanned. The closing half hour is way up river and Lynchian in tone, and…is that the sound of someone starting a fire…it's all taking light…what (or who) are they burning? Oh dear god, no.
I don't know the story behind the original recording, and in particular what happened to the person who made it…if The Man From Deep River is anything to go by, he may have made it, but I don't think he made it out. -- mapadaisical