STORMHAT: VINDSPEJL
CDR: Cohort Records CSCD 118 [2006]
Ltd x 100


Mols Bjerge August
Night Of Mirrors
Funnel
Impossible View
The Darkness Surrounding The Place
A Dusty Summer Morning
Into The Kingdom / Through The Gates
Stony Forest

A hot summer day in June finds me listening intently to a recording by Denmark’s Peter Bach Nicolaisen, recording under the name Stormhat. Surrounded as I am by the idyllic trappings of a semi-rural soundscape, a haphazard, yet utterly coherent melange of birdsong, fused with rush hour traffic, the gentle swoosh of trees, and a dusting of distant building work, I am sometimes at odds with what is occurring outside of my window, and what is coming out of the speakers of my hi-fi – a kind of skewed simulacra rendered in sound .

“Vindspejl” elegantly bestrides the twin disciplines of location recording, and electronic/digital composition,at once positioning itself somewhere between the visceral minimalism of Steinbruchel, and the organic soundscaping sensibilities of, say Koji Marutani, or Chris Watson. But this is not to say that Stormhat does not have his own unique signature. Tracks like the haunting, bristling 'Night of Mirrors', or the glistening, 'A Dusty Summer Morning', with lustrous microsonic instrumentation occasionally and surprisingly perforated by the sound of birdsong (I genuinely had to turn the sound down in order to check that this was on the recording) leave me spellbound. Nicolaisen has a great ear, and a mastery of the art of creating tension and resolve, weaving shards of expansive electronics, digital manipulation, and oftentimes startling and idiosyncratic location recordings together to form a thing of beauty and restraint.

The brevity of the press release, and the low budget aesthetic of the CD’s hand made cover do little justice to the quality of the recordings presented here, and the label’s inevitable, yet ultimately redundant description of the album’s parallel with the early ambient work of Brian Eno is disappointing, and left me questioning how and where they would like this recording marketed. Eno’s name has all too often drawn vague comparisons from the most unlikely of sources in a vain effort to attract the attention of the now super saturated “ambient” scene – perhaps signifying that ambient music is now confronted with the conundrum of who (in the 21st Century) should take on the mantle of the new “Godfather of Ambience”

Stormhat deserves to be heard by the faithful, discerning adherents of microsonics, and minimalism, as befits labels such as Mille Plateaux, Line, or Non Visual Objects, and with continued effort, and a corpus of work with the character and craftsmanship of “Vindspejl”, will hopefully gain considerably wider recognition.


ECM

[Stormhat] / [Cohort Records]

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