Boomkat Product Review:
Hot on the heels of their jaw-dropping ‘Space Finale’ cassette and LP on Editions Mego last year, ‘Big Shadow Montana’ is the sixth album from BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa and sees them returning to hallowed San Francisco experimental imprint Helen Scarsdale. Those of you already familiar with the collaborative project will probably be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of more dusty drones, unusual samples and ethereal harmonies, and let me tell you there’s plenty to keep you going. The first side opens with a familiar overdubbed wheeze, but as the grimy analogue hiss begins to subside, we’re left with a slice of near-orchestral ambience. Punctuated by church organs, BJ Nilsen’s signature synthesizer fizz and Stilluppsteypa’s distant, scraping percussion; you could almost compare this to Deaf Center or (recent) Tim Hecker with its majesty and subtle control, but the real Ace in the pack comes with the second side. The orchestral grandeur of the first piece slowly melts away into the distance, and is swapped out for woozy analogue synthesizer drones – something like hearing Keith Fullerton Whitman jam with Eleh in a distant corridor, possibly underground. This hardly prepares you for the conclusion however, which ends up in near-exotica territory with drum machines, vintage organs and bass playing a jaunty but disturbing funeral march into hell. As usual from these guys ‘Big Shadow Montana’ is essential, gripping stuff, but it’s the artists’ sense of humour that really sets them apart from the competition. Anything is possible, and all of it is essential. Highly recommended.