on life, music etc beyond mainstream

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Archives: BJ Nilsen

Birthdays go along with memories. Even with memories beyond nostalgia and general consent. Harold Budd’s „Bandits of Stature“ isn’t the most immediate of listens. Not because it’s like not any good, obvz. No, more because it is so advanced that listening to it involves a degree of neuroplasticity. Your brain has to form new neural networks in response to it. It is, literally, a mind-expanding work.


I immediately set up my equipment on a dry pile of bricks that was reaching up to the roof. The panorama view over the valley was incredible and as the storm took shape rain and thunder was building up. Lightening was striking both horizontal and vertically. One lightening hit a nearby peak creating a rock avalanche that threw head size boulders down the same path as we ascended from. Truly mesmerizing event that went on for at least half an hour, the thunder rolling around in the valley was creating the most incredible real time phasing effects.



Is music pre- or post- or super- or meta- or ultra- or sub-linguistic? Does it project senses onto the listener or do we project senses into the music? Does it tell a story? I don’t know, and I don’t much fucking care. What I get from this is what I get from it. And what I get is a sense of noir placed in blinding light, aridity and blazing heat. Of mystery hiding in plain sight. Of wide streets at the edge of the desert. Of illumination so intense that the inner self diving further ever further downward to escape the glare, only to resurface in the time of gloaming.


I could not believe my ears when I suddenly heard the farmers bringing out the cattle from the larger farmhouse behind us, trying to navigate them onto the grassy knoll for grazing. I looked to the side and there a huge bull stood majestically looking out the valley, 10m away. I wanted to use the whole version but felt too long so I edited it down and decided to add some underlying electronic manipulations, bringing it somewhere else.


Stars and cars and radio waves. If you listen to these 55 minutes of music, you might get lost in your dreams near the end. Janek Schaefer wouldn’t mind, he is quite a nocturnal person and has just released his calmest record yet. But at first, Meredith Monk’s vivid dance will stop you in the tracks: the track that starts this „blue hour“ is like a shot of coffee at 4 o’clock in the morning. Then (oooh!) this „country death record“ (or how you might call it) by the Canadian drifters and troubadours of Timber Timbre: a time travel to the „Gothic South“ – traces of black-and-white spy movies, Roy Orbison in the Grand Canyon – David Lynch loves this band (and apart from being trapped in promoting TM  – see the documentary ‚David Wants to Fly‘, and you know! – he has a good taste for the cinematic qualities of music.) The ghost stories continue with sound-artist BJ Nilsen and his fantastic sound-trip through London: everyday life turns into dream fragments. To stroll properly, one should have no particular plans. After a short, merciless noise, Tara Jane O’Neil comes along: her journey through foggy hinterlands in the middle of nowhere (made in America) is another dark affair of distant lights. At the end, everything comes to rest  at the outer limits of nighttime London, with cars and stars and radio waves. (me)



1)  Meredith Monk: Folkdance, aus: PIANO SONGS, Cd 03, 4’00“ 2) Timber Timbre: Curtains!?, aus: HOT DREAMS, Cd 03, 3’43“ 3) BJ Nilsen: Londinum, aus: EYE OF THE MICROPHONE, CD 01, 10’44“ 4) Tara Jane O’Neil: Elemental Finding / All Now Vibe / The Signal, Wind, aus: WHERE SHINE NEW LIGHTS, Cd 07, 08, 09, 3’53”, 2’07”, 2’20” 5) Janek Schaefer: Radio 101 FM / Radio 102 FM / Radio 103 FM / Radio 104 FM, aus: LAY-BY LULLABY, Cd 01, 02, 03, 04, 5’25”, 3’47”, 5’26“, 6’59“

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