This album has been released in Touch's cheaply packaged (and priced) line of live recordings. 06_12_03 is everything Land was not: captivating, organic, essential. Environmental sounds are still at the heart of BJ Nilsen's music and therefore, so is the dichotomy between nature and machine. The hand of man is heard in nature (a helicopter passing by, temporarily drowning the song of the cicadas, machinery in the field, church bells) and the hand of man transforms the sounds of nature. The music, a continuous set of 38 minutes in duration, strikes a gripping balance between source and transformation. Nilsen never lets you forget his presence or the fact that all you hear is an artificial construction, but Nature is almost always palpable. The piece begins with a focus on environmental sounds, especially wind, and develops slowly through phases of growth and recession. Halfway through, Nilsen introduces the pipe organ recordings he has used for "Breathe," his contribution to the Touch compilation album Spire: Organ Works Past Present and Future. By the end of the piece, the music is all organ, tones amassing and threatening to shift into overload. A sudden drop in sound cuts the climax short in a disappointing way -- it feels like bad compression kicking in -- and is followed by a hurried wrap-up. This weak finale aside, the piece is very strong and keeps us in the company of wind throughout, cleverly encapsulating Nilsen's interests of the past few years into a compact performance.
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