12″ White Label vinyl + 320 kbps MP3 download
The first in a new series of limited edition Touch white labels releases.
250 copies only… NOW SOLD OUT
1. Side A 14:44
2. Side B 15:14
Download (free when Vinyl bought from TouchShop):
3. Side C 19:52
Recorded on location in Sweden, Iceland, Austria and England using various microphones, media and formats. Sources include wind, waves, tone generators, piano, guitar and other stuff. Mixed in Berlin 2010. Cut by Jason at Transition, 13th January 2011.
Recommended nocturnal listening…
Worm Eats Bear – a free evening from The Tapeworm
Date: 20.10.11. Time: 7pm – 10.30pm.
Free entry. The Bear Pit, Bear Gardens, London SE1 9EB.
Announcing a special evening of bankside performances curated by The Tapeworm, as part of the Merge Festival.
London’s finest cassette-only label, The Tapeworm, presents its third annual event in the Capital. Exemplary music and much excitement is to be expected from a line-up of the label’s mates.
Mr Ken Hollings, a writer of note, shall be reading his text from the first Bookworm publication, to be launched on this very same night. Sweden’s BJNilsen will be flying in and making a splendid noise for you all. A second Swede, CM von Hausswolff (…he’s a king, dontchaknow!) will share a stage with Touch’s Mike Harding, in a reading of Edgar Allen Poe like none before. Cult vs. occult — former Medicine Head man Peter Hope-Evans and illustrator Savage Pencil will whip up a dark blue storm. Mr Pencil’s fine drawings will also be on display — exhibition continues 21st to 23rd October, 12 to 6pm. Hopping on the bus from Elephant & Castle is Zerocrop and his band; pop perfection from a local lad. And finally, a London eye — video installation by Vicki Bennett, aka People Like Us.
Spire Live at Lincoln Cathedral | 21st October 2011
Frequency Festival 2011
21st –29th October
Charles Matthews & Mike Harding – The Eternal Chord
The Spire Ensemble – Organogram
with John Beaumont (Tenor)
Mike Harding & BJNilsen, with a sound seminar by Jon Wozencroft
[Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussel in association with Transmedia]
Workshops, talks & field trips with a performance at recycleart on Thursday 20th January
Although the teaching element of the week is not open to the public, all are welcome to the performance night. For further information please visit the recycleart website
BJNilsen & Touch live
Thursday 20th January 2011
Station Brussel-Kapellekerk/Gare Bruxelles-Chapelle
Ursulinenstraat/25/Rue des Ursulines
Cinemateket Trondheim, Norway Presents Metropolis Feat. BJNilsen, Fritz Lang 1927, 147Min
12th and 13th of October 2010 18h.30min
This film received a 5 star review in The Guardian today. Music by BJNilsen & Stillupsteypa features on the soundtrack…
The track featured is “Det är bäst att jag börjar, annars kommer jag aldrig hem _ Nú er kominn tími til ad byrja, annars kemst eg ekkert heim aftur”
South by Frank Hurley, with new score by BJNilsen
Germany/UK | 2010 | 88 min
“MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY … BITTER COLD … CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL… “, Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Back in 1914, filmmaker Frank Hurley was on board the Endurance and captured the astonishing true story of the ship’s ill-fated 1914 attempt to cross the Antarctic. BJNilsen presents a new film score using field recordings from the UK, Sweden, Norway and Iceland and excerpts from Shackleton’s diary.
A track from this album was played on BBC Radio 3s Late Junction. More info can be found here…
CD – 8 tracks – 1:04:57
Jewel case with concertina insert
Artwork & Photography by Jon Wozencroft
Plus bonus 320kbps .mp3 download – 1 track – 33:44
TO:77DL – BJNilsen “Live at Café Oto”, Atmospheres 3, 7.xii.09
Available only when purchasing “The Invisible City” via the TouchShop.
1. Gravity Station
2. Phase and Amplitude
4. Virtual Resistance
5. Meter Reading
6. Into Its Coloured Rays
8. The Invisible City
About this release:
Recorded and Mixed during 2008-2009 in Berlin.
All tracks composed by BJNilsen using Tape Recorders, Computer, Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Electronics, Viola, Subharchord. Field recordings from; Sweden, Iceland, Norway, UK, Japan, Portugal and Germany. The Subharchord was recorded in the EAM Studio @ Adk, Berlin. Viola played by Hildur I. Gudnadottir.
Mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye
Published by Touch Music [MCPS]
Seeing the world around you through a distorting mirror can be a pretty frightening experience. Perhaps this is why BJ Nilsen’s “The Invisible City” was one of those albums that left no one unaffected this winter. Based on field recordings from his native Sweden as well as Iceland, Norway, UK, Japan, Portugal and his current home of Germany, Nilsen built a city of pure sound, an audioscape so vast, threedimensional and “real”, that it seemed to embody some deep, dark secret underneath the pretty-picture surface of the dermis of quotidian society. Consciously extending beyond the comfort-zone of pure source materials, the work placed them in a confounding new context, adding instruments such as Organ and the Subharchord of the EAM Studio in Berlin (“I love the blend of old and new technology”, Nilsen says) and creating an equally stirring and unsettling narrative. In a way, the album has turned into a open-ended concept album, possibly about the influence of sound on human life and the city as a self-created organism, that constantly surrounds us and influences our perspective of the world in a host of intricate ways. Reviewing the album for tokafi, Antoine Richard wrote: “Listen carefully and don’t let the appearance fool you, the album seems to whisper, ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ are just words invented to make you naively believe in an easy duality: a city is as natural and artificial as a hive.” We sat down with BJ Nilsen to talk about his perspective on the city and the process of sculpting the record – as well as hunting for demons in the Japanese forests.
The techno-dominated 90s were an affirmation of the exciting qualities of modern metropolises. In a lot of contemporary Sound Art, however, there seems to be a strong urge to focus on the beauty of the countryside. How is this for you: Could you imagine living away from a big city?
Sure, I grew up in the countryside so I definitely have a need for it, but has to be under the right circumstances. I like both.
So do you feel as though living in Stockholm has shaped your perspective on music in a particular way?
I’ve been living in Berlin for the past three years and I’m spending lot of time in different places but I think my years in Stockholm shaped what I do for sure – at least up to a certain point. It´s a pretty open city in terms of space, especially with all the water and light, so it´s easy to get work done and concentrate. However the city suffers from many things. It suffers from a small town syndrome and it´s pretty conservative also, very safe if you like. During the mid 90´s-00´s there were lots of new things happening, I was part of a group of people organising performances and concerts and during those years mostly at one particular venue called Fylkingen. There was lots of new music around and we felt we were in the middle of it all. Inspiring times meeting a lot of musicians and artists. All of this was possible because we had some funding to invite people.
What causes this simultaneous fascination and uneasy feeling with regards to cities?
Since I was raised in the countryside, the city was always something that was charged with a lot of exciting energy. I always had a longing for the big city, but it´s a place that can be both dangerous and beautiful. I also like the meditational qualities that the city can provide with its endless drone of activity.
Are cities by default unnatural organisms?
I think most of this impression is caused by what one could call side effects. Most cities are places that slowly, gradually get out of hand. We don’t mean to fuck it up but we do one way or the other. Today the awareness about how sound affects humans is much bigger amongst designers and architects, but still we are fed constantly with sounds and music blasting out of stores and restaurants. Most of it could be taken care of instantly, while other sources are so integrated into society that it´s impossible to change them. I think that cities are as natural as we make them.
Couldn’t one see these daily sounds as a form of music as well?
Depends how you listen. You could adapt this thought to any sounding environment, parts of it can work like this, but I don’t necessary believe that switching on a microphone anywhere makes for an interesting recording. I would think that the city 100 years ago was actually even noisier in some ways.
Would you say that the influence of sound compared to visual stimuli is generally overrated or rather underestimated?
Sound requires more training and concentration I think. Most people just feel discomfort listening to abstract sound. I think that sound can trigger memories to a greater extent, similar to the way smell can. One time a lady came up to me after a performance and said that it reminded her of giving birth to her child …
When, for example on a sound walk, you close your eyes and listen to the city, the scenery is very much dominated by the hum of cars and machines. Do cities more or less sound the same all over the world nowadays?
Yes I guess most Western cities do. Would be interesting to hear a blind person’s thoughts about this. I don’t think you can learn something about a city by listening to it. There are so many layers to a city … I think you learn more by the smell of it (laughs).
You said that the exact origin of the audio sources for “The Invisible City” did not matter. In general, though, what kind of timbral qualities were you looking for?
I always reach for sounds that I feel fit in the mix. However, I wanted something more sharp and with a clear for this one. I also worked with binaural effects and psychoacoustic elements. But the sounds are all carefully structured and edited for the composition.
Would you say that your collaboration with Chris Watson offered you some interesting insights for the field recordings part of the project?
Perhaps not for this CD particularly but as a whole yes. I´ve been working with Chris since 2000 starting with the Wind Album. It´s very educational to be around him, also with the way he executes his work. He’s always been a great inspiration.
In another interview you mentioned that “it’s very enlightened and spiritual when you really ‘tune’ in” to the sounds of the city. Are there perhaps some interesting examples from from your work on “The Invisible City” in this regard?
This goes for recording in the field in general. But if you don’t have a special target to record you can end up with amazing results as well. I was in Bergen, Norway for a week a few years ago and decided to take a walk up a mountain close-by. I had been reading about Japanese mountain spirits and demons at the time and was interested in the topic. By chance I took a different route from the main path and walked further into the woods. Suddenly I heard this haunting creaking sound from a distance, very difficult to pinpoint its exact location. But after 20 minutes or so, I found the source and it was two dead trees leaning against each other creating this squeaky sound. I placed the mics in the hollow tree and recorded it. You´ll hear it on ‘The Invisible City’.
Our reviewer asked: “Is “The Invisible City” a concept album about the cohabitation of creatures, nature and man-made technology?”
I can relate to that. The concept grew out of the material I was working with. I was focusing on small situations. Stuff that people perhaps never pay attention to.
“The Invisible City” is available from Touch. BJ Nilsen is also currently working with Stilluppsteypa on new material for a double-LP as well as an installation for the Donau festival together with Icelandic artist Ingolfur Arnason. He is furthermore finishing a soundtrack for a Swedish documentary about the American desert and the people living there called Test Site. [Tobias Fischer]
You can find the interview on the Tokafi site here
Taz writes: “BJ Nilsen komponiert für Hummeln und Hammondorgeln. Für sein aktuelles Album “The Invisible City” sammelte er Klänge in Skandinavien, Japan und Berlin, wo er heute lebt. Ein Porträt des schwedischen Musikers”
Click here to read the full article on www.taz.de (in German).
CPH PIX Presents
Metropolis Feat. BJNilsen, Fritz Lang 1927, 147Min
@ Imperial Cinema April 17th 23.59
The new cut includes nearly 30 minutes of restored, never-before-seen footage discovered in 2008 in Buenos Aires with a new live score by BJNilsen
April 29th Collaborative event with Stilluppsteypa & Ingólfur Arnarsson & BJNilsen & Franz Graf.
May 8th Hildur Gudnadóttir & BJNilsen
An interview with BINilsen on headphonecommute can be read here
Spatial explorations in art, science, music and technology
25 – 28 February 2010 in the Paradiso, de Balie, NIMk and STEIM, Amsterdam
The thirteenth Sonic Acts Festival in Amsterdam is entirely dedicated to the exploration of space in performative and audiovisual art, film, music and architecture. Sonic Acts XIII – The Poetics of Space examines the importance of physical space in times of far-reaching technological developments, and the physical and psychological impact of spatial designs.
Concerts / Performances / Films
The evening programme in the Paradiso comprises a wide-ranging exploration of the spatial dimensions of image and sound and examines the relationship between spatial architecture and the listening ear and how our brains process sensory input. Events include immersive audiovisual performances, highly intensive listening experiences, experiments with spatial sound, multi-screen projections and films that extend beyond the screen and pure light.
With performances and films by Jürgen Reble & Thomas Köner, Haswell & Hecker, Fred Worden, Paul Sharits, Anthony McCall, Takashi Ito, Yann Beauvais, Bruce McClure, Optical Machines, Annea Lockwood, Jacob Kirkegaard, Barry Truax, BJ Nilsen, Eric La Casa, Gilles Aubry, Hildegard Westerkamp, a tribute to Maryanne Amacher, TeZ, Francisco López, Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfland, Paul Prudence, Hans W. Koch and Yutaka Makino.
The three-day conference in de Balie forms the heart of the festival. Besides lectures and presentations, the comprehensive programme also features interviews, film screenings and short performances. An international gathering of theorists, artists, researchers, composers and critics will shed light on different aspects involved in working with space, centered on the theme: how does technology change our experience of space, how do artists investigate this in their work, and how do they enhance or modify the spatial experience?
With: Brandon LaBelle, Daniel Teruggi, Raviv Ganchrow, Barry Truax, Naut Humon, Christopher Salter, Branden W. Joseph, Marcos Novak, Dirk Hebel & Jörg Stollmann, Trace Reddell, Roger Malina, Jacob Kirkegaard, Edward Shanken, Yolande Harris, Robert Whitman, HC Gilje, Michael J. Morgan, Hildegard Westerkamp, Philip Beesley, Eric Kluitenberg, Duncan Speakman and Fred Worden.
Gjöll, Evil Madness, Stilluppsteypa & BJNilsen, Amfj, Stereo Hypnosis, Biogen, Franz Pomassl @ Amsterdam. Hafnarstræti, Reykjavik
Aðgangur er 1000kr með traustvekjandi.
Húsið opnar klukkan 21.00
Café Oto, London
December 7th, 20h00-23h00
In performance: Philip Jeck (turntables), BJNilsen, Lawrence English.
BJNilsen will be premiering tracks from his forthcoming album, “The Invisible City”, which will be exclusively available for sale at this event, ahead of its official release.
Atmospheres is a London-based festival featuring Touch artists and occasionally a guest or two. The first two were held at The Bedford Arms & The Museum of Garden History in 2007 and 2008.
Takes part of the Soundwalk Editions monthly archive for October.
New extremely limited edition of a new cassette-only release on iDEAL Recordings:
Two recordings of two separate thunderstorms passing over Berlin.
Recorded on May 31 and June 6th 2009 and distributed over a 4.2 system.
October 1st-4th 2009
Botanic Sounds, Gothenburg, Sweden