Swedish-born Benny Nilsen started recording as
Morthound during the Scandinavian "cold wave" of Raison d'Etre and In Slaughter Natives. Morthound yielded the electroacoustic suites of
This Crying Age (Cold Meat Industry, 1991), with
The Age of Crying (15:33),
Age of Dreams (17:48) and
Glaciers of Scandinavia (12:31),
Spindrift (1992), with the 17-minute Riverine, and
The Goddess Who Could Make The Ugly World Beautiful (1994).
Nilsen then changed moniker and began recording as Hazard a tetralogy of
albums tha focused on digital processing of natural sounds:
Lech (Malignant, 1996), North (Ash, 1998), Wind (Ash, 2001) and Land (Touch, 2002).
Nilsen then began releasing music under his own name BJ Nilsen, notably on
Fade To White (Touch, 2004), with the 15-minute Nine Ways Till Sunday and the ten-minute Purple Phase, and
The Short Night (Touch, 2007), with the 14-minute Front, that
first toys with a dirty ear-splitting drone and then indulges in an
undulating minimalist trance,
the nine-minute Finisterre, that transitions from confused
samples to an ominous buzzing sound to loud floating cosmic drones,
Viking North, whose faintly pulsing turns into an industrial-grade
They were both amateurish drone-oriented works
based on manipulations of field recordings and instruments.
Each piece seems to enjoy a disorienting strategy of mutating abruptly into
something else, shedding its identity like a snake's old skin.
Nilsen also recorded a trilogy with
Vikinga Brennivin (2005),
Drykkjuvisur Ohljodanna (Helen Scarsdale Agency, 2006) and
Passing Out (The Helen Scarsdale Agency, 2008).
BJ Nilsen, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, and Helgi Thorsson also collaborated on
Man From Deep River (Editions Mego, 2009), a musique-concrete
variation on a found tape from 1975.
Other collaborations included:
Storm (Touch, 2006) with Chris Watson,
22' 22" (iDEAL, 2007) with Zev,
Second Childhood (Quecksilber, 2007) with Hildur Gudnadottir and
Space Finale (Editions Mego, 2010) and
Big Shadow Montana (The Helen Scarsdale Agency, 2011)
were further collaborations with Stilluppsteypa devoted to pensive, melancholy
Goda Nott (Editions Mego, 2012), instead, found the trio delving into
a claustrophobic sense of gloom and doom.
Nilsen continued his program of
austere droning music for acoustic instruments, electronics and field recordings
on the ambitious
The Invisible City (Touch, 2010), with the 17-minute Gravity Station, a much more static and stately piece of music than anything he had done
before although as usual completely mishandled at the end,
the 15-minute Virtual Resistance, possibly his best composition yet,
a subdued and funereal flow of drones disturbed by cryptic glitches and mysterious natural sounds,
and the eleven-minute Gradient, one of his most elegant droning metamorphoses,
and the mini-album Vinyl (Touch, 2011), comprising two lengthy untitled compositions.
Despite all the ambition, many of Nilsen's efforts still sounded amateurish,
either too simplistic or too unstable (and particularly weak were the endings).
The supergroup Evil Madness (Nilsen, Petur Eyvindsson, Johann Johannsson, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, Helgi Thorsson) played cute disco-pop on
Demon Jukebox (2006),
Demoni Paradiso (2008),
Cafe Cicago (2010) and
Super Great Love (2011).
BJ Nilsen also formed the Swifter, a trio with Berlin-based Australian-born pianist Simon James Phillips and Italian percussionist Andrea Belfi, whose debut The Swifter (The Wormhole, 2012) excels at a sort of electronic version of the trance-jazzy Necks (Wave Guidance Allows Three).
The project Novi_Sad, namely BJ Nilsen, Daniel Menche, Francisco Lopez and Pan Sonic's Mika Vainio, debuted with the neurosciences-inspired Neuroplanets (2013).
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