I sat down to write this on Saturday morning after an impossibly long and challenging work week. I managed ten hours of sleep last night, which I desperately needed, but that left me with that weird sort of sleep hangover where you feel like you both got too much sleep and not enough at the same time. As I sat in front of the computer with my second cup of coffee I looked down and there was a little island of tiny bubbles floating at the top of the magical liquid, still slowly circling the middle of the cup from where I had been stirring it. And somehow, at that moment, that was the perfect visual accompaniment to the beginning of Stilluppsteypa’s “Wonderful To Communicate”, the momentary pure blending of my foggy state, a cup of coffee, and sound.
A few months ago Stilluppsteypa released Beach Jolanda, a collection of a dozen tracks recorded between 2006 and 2017. I picked up a copy via a Facebook post and have been looking forward to giving it a spin. It’s hard to describe what’s happening on Beach Jolanda. I suppose the easy word to use is “experimental” in that the compositions generally don’t follow any standard musical flows or patterns, but that sells it a bit short. This isn’t just some kind of electro-noise album – there’s an intentionality at work. There’s an overall ambient current that gives the listener a starting point. From there it undulates in different directions, at times feeling like a field recording (“Denise”), at others like a 1960s sci-fi movie soundtrack on acid. (♠) And somehow it all seems to fit together.
It’s been over a decade since the last release that came out under only the Stilluppsteypa name – most of the more recent works have been collaborations with BJ Nilsen. I wonder if it will be the last… we’ll have to wait and see. The vinyl is limited to 400 copies and can still be found online HERE, so get it while you can.
(♠) The grooves on the vinyl don’t clearly delineate the songs, and nothing seems to truly end in a conventional way… so while I know this was about half way through side A, I have no idea what track it is.