BJ Nilsen - The Invisible City

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BJNilsen (b,1975 Sweden) is a sound and recording artist, has since the early 90´s been putting out work in various constellations. Primarily focused on the sound of nature and its effect on humans, field recordings and the perception of time and space as experienced through sound, often electronically treated.

A follower to 2005's Fade to White [Touch # TO:65], BJNilsen develops his work further, based on field recordings and electronics. This time he adds harsher yet clearer harmonies with musical elements to the compositions, creating a beautifully complex and detailed study. Recorded in 2006-7 with mostly analogue equipment, using up to 50 year-old tape-machines, filters and generators that end up being the soft cushion in these cold location recordings.

Boomkat (UK):

Touch are a label that always put quality control above all else. They don't release much, but you can guarantee that when they do release something it's of an almost untouchable standard, and their small but perfectly formed group of artists are a testament to that. They first welcomed Swedish experimental artist BJ Nilsen into the fold in the late 90s, when he was writing under the name Hazard, but since then Nilsen has developed and 'The Short Night', his latest full length record, is for me his most coherent and enjoyable album to date. Nilsen has been busy in the last few years, contributing to the incredible 'Storm' album with field recording veteran Chris Watson and also to 'Second Childhood' with cellist Hildur Gudnadóttir and Icelandic trio Stilluppsteypa, but 'The Short Night' feels like the masterwork these records were building up to. Utilising his tuned ear for field recording, Nilsen blends environmental sounds collected in Sweden, Iceland and England and layers them above and beneath some quite stunning electronic parts. Taking vintage equipment (Sequential Circuits Pro-One, old Scandinavian generators, Korg MS20 etc) and recording and mixing using modern computer technology he comes up with a sound that owes as much to early innovators Popol Vuh and Delia Derbyshire as it does more recent ambient-darlings Biosphere and Deathprod. The mood is one of grim, crust-laden darkness, something akin to being trapped in an abandoned building as the Phantom of the Opera plays mercilessly in a sewer below - but while the mood is shadowy the sounds never become oppressive. Maybe it's due to the hypnotic nature of the compositions that draw you in and take hold of you entirely or possibly the actual character of the vintage generators used but the sounds float in and out of your consciousness with a wool-lined ease. Even as the album draws to a tremulous close with the incredible organ-drenched 'Viking North' and the amps reach eleven it is still washed with a veneer of melancholy and a palatable sheen that takes it above and beyond so many albums lumped into the same category. Touch have done it again then and thrown out yet another high water mark for the genre and a shining beacon in a mire of mediocrity. Huge recommendation.


1 Gravity Station 16:52

Electronics [Subharchord], Grand Piano, Computer [Virtual Hammond Organ], Recorded By [Amplified Chair Dragged Across Floor, Window Shutters, Steel Whistle Coffeepot], Effects [Acoustic And Electric Guitar Feedback Run Through B&k Frequency Analyzer Type 2107], Tape [Studer B67], Effects [Various Dsps] ? BJ Nilsen
Viola [Pitch-regulated] ? Hildur Ingveldard Gudnadottir
2 Phase And Amplitude 2:03

Recorded By [Bumblebees], Acoustic Guitar, Tape [Studer B67], Effects [Various Dsps] ? BJ Nilsen

3 Scientia 4:10

Effects [Birdsong Feed-backed And Overdriven Through A B&k Frequency Analyzer Type 2107], Electronics [B&k Type 1024], Electronics [Subharchord], Recorded By [Wing Flaps And Birds Eating, Door Slam], Computer [Virtual Hammond Organ], Glockenspiel, Computer [Online Voice Decoder], Tape [Studer B67], Effects [Various Dsps] ? BJ Nilsen

4 Virtual Resistance 14:48

Electronics [Subharchord], Recorded By [Birds, Cat Climbing Up Door, Footsteps On Snow], Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Computer [Virtual Hammond Organ], Effects [Broken Fishman Parametric Eq], Acoustic Guitar [Bowed], Tape [Studer B67], Effects [Various Dsps] ? BJ Nilsen

5 Meter Reading 4:08

Computer [Virtual Hammond Organ], Recorded By [Train, Boat Ramp], Tape [Studer B67 Tape Cut-ups], Tape [Feedbacked Ferrograph Series 4], Effects [Various Dsps] ? BJ Nilsen

6 Into Its Coloured Rays 6:10

Effects [Wasps Run Through B&k Type 2107], Piano, Recorded By [Dead Trees Leaning Against Each Other, Crows], Tape [Studer B67], Effects [Various Dsps] ? BJ Nilsen

7 Gradient 11:17

Acoustic Guitar, Computer [Virtual Hammond Organ], Effects [B&k Type 1024], Tape [Studer B67], Effects [Various Dsps] ? BJ Nilsen

8 The Invisible City 3:15

Recorded By [Amplified Chair Dragged Across Floor, Rain], Tape [Feedbacked Ferrograph Series 4], Acoustic Guitar, Loops [Tapeloops Of Found Sounds], Effects [Various Dsps] ? BJ Nilsen