B.J. Nilsen

Short Night

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One of the 21st century's newer breed of location-recording experimentalists -- if there's a natural or unnatural sound to be found somewhere in the world, it'll be sought out for something -- B.J. Nilsen's already built up a good body of work in recent years, something which The Short Night continues. Attractively presented as all Touch releases are, The Short Night's compositions match the cover art -- shadowy, mysterious, but with a little light sneaking in around the edges. Opening track "Front" showcases this well -- initially the wind/ambient sound at the start of the lengthy piece makes it seem like it might be full-on minimalism in its most natural sense, but a series of brighter drones start to emerge, creating a serene space rock flow that's a nice tip of the hat to more '70s-derived electronic meditations crossed with Brian Eno's perfections of the form. From there, The Short Night balances these impulses in a variety of different ways, sometimes fully embracing a more immediately melodic route (if the core one on "Pole of Inaccessibility" is subsumed within a wash of treble-heavy shimmer, it's still there), sometimes by fully embracing an open-ended flow of sonic wash that is not that far removed from shoegaze bliss-out at its most gently extreme, as "Viking North" demonstrates excellently. An amusing twist appears at the start of "Viking, Cromarty..." where a weather forecaster's voice introduces the track calmly -- yet it's still a sudden shock after the hitherto wordless tracks up to that point.

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