Erik Nilsson

Erik Nilsson“delights at every turn… an unfailingly tuneful and entertaining whole that transcends its techniques through sheer musicality”Music is Good

Drawing on folk, classical and electronica, Erik Nilsson blends acoustic instruments with field recordings and computer-generated sounds, crafting music akin to early Four Tet, Tortoise at their most minimal, and fellow Scandinavian soundscapers The Gentleman Losers. His Hidden Shoal debut Hearing Things advances the compositional strategy Nilsson first explored on his acclaimed debut Recollage: simple rhythmic and melodic elements are manipulated and recontextualised into richly textured, emotive pieces.

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Discography

 

The Imperfect Tense


April 2018

From the cascading acoustic guitar loops of ‘A Tap At The Window’ through to the emotive found-sound, post-rock crescendo of closer ‘Once, I Held You In My Arms Forever’, The Imperfect Tense triangulates a musical landscape of potent melodic terrain, full of evocative details and melancholic shadows. Nilsson expertly interweaves the electronic with the acoustic, precision-crafting each track with an auteur’s ear for dynamics and space, resulting in an instrumental suite that is as accessible as it is experimental.

 

Recollage


May 2016

There is a vibrant playfulness across Recollage’s nine tracks, with each song mapping out its own discrete world. Nilsson skilfully mixes electronics with live instruments and field recordings, before subjecting the songs to digital manipulation, creating an uncanny and arresting blend that is often as technically dizzying as it is musically and emotionally engaging. Glitchy yet exquisitely tuneful, Recollage’s music-box melodies bring to mind Björk’s Vespertine, while its compositional style is reminiscent of The Books’ cut-up approach to songcraft.

The album is clearly a vivid precursor to acclaimed second album Hearing Things (2015), but also its own unique creature. First released through Luxus-Artica Records in 2011, this re-issue of Recollage has received extra instrumentation, been fully re-mastered, and also includes the original version of album track ‘Rumore del Roma’.

 

Hearing Things


July 2015

Drawing on folk, classical and electronica, Erik Nilsson blends acoustic instruments with field recordings and computer-generated sounds, crafting music akin to early Four Tet, Tortoise at their most minimal, and fellow Scandinavian soundscapers The Gentleman Losers. His Hidden Shoal debut Hearing Things advances the compositional strategy Nilsson first explored on his acclaimed debut Recollage: simple rhythmic and melodic elements are manipulated and recontextualised into richly textured, emotive pieces.

Biography

Erik Nilsson lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Initially inspired by the grunge scene, Erik first picked up his mother’s old, busted guitar in his early teens and formed rock quartet Banda de Ladrones. Upon hearing Björk some years later, Erik became fascinated with audio manipulation and spent much of his time in the following years mangling samples on his digital workstation. Meanwhile, his musical tastes and influences evolved and expanded into folk, jazz, classical and contemporary experimental music.

Erik’s previous work includes the album Recollage, released by Luxus-Artica Records, and the score for Ahmed – Almost 13, a Norwegian documentary screened at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam. His music can be heard in Project Power, which chronicles civic resistance to privatisation in New Brunswick, Canada, and in Are You Still There?, finalist in the 2011 edition of the short film competition The 24 Hour Film Race. Erik is a regular contributor to the Disquiet Junto Project, an online collective exploring the creative potential of constraints. He is also singer and guitarist of folk-rock trio Otinget, whose debut album will be released in 2015.

News

Reviews

  • Erik Nilsson “The Imperfect Tense” Reviewed at EtherReal

    [Translated from the original French via Google]

    “Hearing Thing , published in 2015, had really interested us; it is therefore quite confident that we immersed ourselves in this new album by Erik Nilsson , to note that the Swede is again strong cross real instruments and electronics rather ambient. Thus tablecloths are frequently put in place, on which a acoustic guitar cascading ( A Tap at the Window ), a piano a little unstructured ( The Marienkirche Meditations ) or a small battery intervene.

    The ensemble, played by the multi-instrumentalist musician, then unfolds along pieces stretching between five and eight minutes, sometimes stopped even though we would have liked more development ( The Benefits of Bepedalism , beautifully packed , supported by a rhythmic and a small electric guitar with melodies in loop, but which stops net). But, as a rule, Nilsson finds the right duration, often reviving the pace, through the introduction of a new programmed rhythm or a new instrument (the strikes on the toms of Off-Beat Etude No. 1 , for example).

    After six tracks, the album makes way for the fourteen-minute closing song, crescendo post-rock particularly tasty, in its ability to gradually put in place, to demonstrate a beautiful ambition and mix cleverly various sources ( Once, I Held You In My Forever Arms ). Thus, after more than seven minutes in which a rhythmic “electronic wind” dialogue with the piano, bass and drums enter the track while the “melodic” part is managed by an electronic loop. In the last two minutes, finally, the guitar chords is saturated and the battery is doubling, while all the components resurface, in a final both held and unbridled.”

    EtherReal

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  • Erik Nilsson “The Imperfect Tense” Reviewed at Music Will Not Save You

    [Translated via Google. Read the original here.]

    “On the third album, Erik Nilsson offers a new essay of his curious electro-acoustic experiments; continuing the elliptical parable of the previous “Hearing Things” (2015), in “The Imperfect Tense” the Swedish artist takes his look to embrace seven enigmatic soundscapes, fruit of the creative intersection between harmonic fragments and sound landscapes soaked in melancholy kinematics.

    Between the gentle warmth of the acoustic arpeggios of the initial “A Tap At The Window” and the progressive post-rock rhythmic crescendo that seals the over fourteen minutes of the final “Once, The Held You In My Arms Forever”, extends a sound microcosm in which nocturnal synthetic stratifications alternate with jazzy piano cadences and with an almost infinite series of variations of times and timbres, in turn conveyed by instrumental commistions without solution of continuity.

    The accuracy with which the Swedish artist combines the heterogeneous elements of his palette does not contradict the instinctive character of the compositions of “The Imperfect Tense”, which in describing sound spaces of refined irregularity, transmit in an integral way placidly visionary suggestions.”

    Music Will Not Save You

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  • Erik Nilsson “The Imperfect Tense” Reviewed at Global Music Magazine

    [Translated from the original via Google. Read the original here.]

    “Erik Nilsson lives and works in the Venice of the North, Stockholm. As a teenager, he was on grunge and founded his own band. It was over when he was a few years later Björk heard of his kind of production, he was immediately fascinated. Immediately he set to work with his digital workstation, sampling, cutting, layering, and what it took.

    Well, after years of maturity and development, he has found his sound made up of elements of folk, jazz, classical and contemporary experimental music. However, what Erik Nilsson is doing here is quite unusual. For example, Brian Eno is sure or Daniel Lanois similar music made him, but carries Nilsson’s new album “The Imperfect Tense” a very personal touch.

    On the one hand, his music is minimalistic, on the other hand, there is still a lot in it. It looks transparent, but is composed of several layers and contains a lot of movement. The acoustic instruments used, such as the piano or the guitar, fuse with electronic sounds, yet an analogous impression remains. The sounds are flowing and at the same time the music is pulsing almost continuously.

    We are really surprised by Erik Nilsson and his music. She is fascinated and you really want to hear her to the end, because you want to know how she goes on. It does not surprise in any way that Erik Nilsson is a popular film composer. His fine sense for the right measure and his sound-painting skills let his music, and that is what she sounds sublime despite all reduction and sound painting.

    There is always a certain melancholy in the air. It does not depress, it calms rather. What Erik Nilsson does here with guitar and piano loops, samples, effects and synths, what he makes from the few but carefully chosen ingredients, is just good. Here is a creative mind at work, which has not become a programmer despite intensive computer use, but still want to remain a musician. He demonstrates this, for example, by concluding the final piece “Once, I Hero You in My Arms Forever” as indie rock. ”

    - Global Music Magazine

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  • “Eat Your Friends” Compilation Reviewed at DOA

    “Over almost a decade, Hidden Shoal records developed a reputation as a consistently innovative and experimental music label, giving to us music of remarkable qualities whether it was the instrumental excursions of Gilded, the blissed-out indie of My Majestic Star, the electronica of Marcus Mehr, the alt.folk stylings of Kramies – the HSR list of significant talents was a lengthy one. I say was, as in 2014 or thereabouts, the Hidden Shoal label underwent a reorganisation of sorts, and it began to seem that one of the more influential Australian record labels of the recent past was itself going into hiding. Perhaps so, although only to return refreshed, renewed, invigorated and with its varying artistic visions intact – the Eat Your Friends compilation proves that the Hidden Shoal label is properly with us again.

    One thing I’ve found when reviewing compilations is that not infrequently, when I put them into my music players, the tracks separate instead of remaining in their album folder, and that has happened with my copy of Eat Your Friends, encouraging me to view each of the tracks as a single release rather than view the album itself as a cohesive whole. Then there’s the fact that only some of its contributors are already known to me and so, ditching some of my preconceptions about what it’s going to sound like, I began listening to the 11 tracks in a random sequence, and prepared for the unexpected.

    Firstly, there’s singer/songwriter Erik Nilsson’s “Moksha Can Wait”, a song which electronic composer Marcus Mehr has taken and adapted to his subtly developed production sound, a track that begins almost inaudibly and builds to a staggering crescendo of soaring, roaring electronic sound and with Nilsson’s guitar and piano providing a counterpoint to Mehr’s swirling atmospherics. The ambient chill of City Of Satellites is given an added gloss by Tim Manzano, although I’m not so sure what he’s actually done with the track – it does sound a lot like the City Of Satellites I know from their Machine Is My Animal album, although as the track progresses and the rhythm and bass begin to disintegrate into a dubby conclusion it seems more apparent where Manzano has left his mark. Arc Lab’s “Through The Burning Glass” is remixed by Glanko, beginning with a club-level bassline before levelling into a noir tinged synth epic. And just when you thought the tracks on Eat Your Friends were entirely instrumentals, Rew perform a cover version of Umpire’s “Green Light District” and they do it with a vocal, alongside the strings and crashing cymbals and haltingly uncertain rhythms, a highlight of an album each of whose tracks is in one or another way remarkable.”

    DOA

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  • Erik Nilsson “Recollage” Reviewed at Luna Kafe

    “When Hidden Shoal launched Erik Nilsson’s “Tail Lights” as a teaser from his album Recollage, I was triggered by its teasing beauty. Like I was taken last year when checking out his amazing second album, Hearing Things. This is all about hearing and finding things. Musical gemstones. Diamonds in the rough.

    This is the reissue of Nilsson’s debut album. Recollage was originally released by Luxus-Artica Records in 2011. So, therefor here is re-Recollage 2016. The album holds eight tracks, or nine if you are counting both versions of “Rumore del Roma” – the new and the original. As I understand, Recollage has not only been fully re-mastered, the songs on the album has also got added some extra instrumentation. Well, I haven’t heard the original (except for “Rumore del Roma”, obviously) so I can’t tell what’s new and improved, but the album and the songs on it sounds amazing. From the opening “Into Motion” to the twisted and peculiar closing track, “Little Demon” (well, (if not counting the “Rumore Del Roma (Original)”…). “Timepiece” is a well-crafted and well sampled track adding the sound of an old stand clock as part of the rhythm, giving the song an organic feel. Nifty. The clock(s) keeps occurring throughout the album, such as on “Old Piano, Bad Back”. The ambient electronica of Erik Nilsson is a cunning and elegant web of ‘real’ instruments (guitars, piano) plus sampled sounds done with style and grace. Like Hidden Shoal describes the album: ‘There is a vibrant playfulness across Recollage‘s nine tracks, with each song mapping out its own discrete world. Nilsson skillfully mixes electronics with live instruments and field recordings…’ Yes, there is for sure a vibrant feel to the album, and Nilsson’s skills are for sure impressive. As a composer, as an instrumentalist, and as an arranger. This is delicate and brilliant stuff. Nilsson’s a music puzzle master in his cut’n’paste music collage making where the result sparkle and shine.

    Artists like The Books, Four Tet, Sea and Cake, and Björk are mentioned as RIYL references to Nilsson’s music. When hearing some of the guitar playing, I’d also like to add David Grubbs to the list. I can’t find one weak moment on this album. “Tail Lights” is pure magic, but here’s more: “Into Motion”, “Recollage”, “Timepiece”, “Rumore Del Roma”, “Old Piano, Bad Back”, “15 Minutes Of Boredom”. Bravo.”

    Luna Kafe

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  • Erik Nilsson “Recollage” Reviewed at Anthem

    “For those who are unaccustomed to the work of Erik Nilsson, the recent reissue of his debut album ‘Recollage’ will certainly coming as something of an unexpected treat. It’s an album that often seems to have been unfairly eclipsed by the progressive sounds of successor, 2015’s ‘Hearing Things’, but in this new re-release by Hidden Shoal, ‘Recollage’ is brought back into the spotlight, letting it shine once again as a unique and unhindered triumph.

    An album filled with a joyous and vibrant sense of playfulness, the re-issue of ‘Recollage’ brings together nine tracks (eight re-mastered and one original version) of skillfully blended electronics, live instruments, and field recordings, all of which are tussled, tossed and twisted through a series of digital manipulations. The end result is an expanding horizon of dizzying, technically precise instrumentals that are emotionally charged and brilliantly balanced.

    Fragmented by sporadic, glitch bursts of open space, ‘Recollage’ was always a thoroughly unique spectacle, but with the re-issue has come a burst of extra instrumentation and a full re-mastering, and it’s taken the album from mesmerising to break-taking. The added flourishes and clarity has made ‘Recollage’ brighter, more vibrant, and more exciting than ever, offering a greater depth and a completely captivating experience.

    The reissue of ‘Recollage’ has brought renewed life and colour to the old classic, and it’s amazing to revisit such a precious debut. 9/10″

    Anthem

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  • Erik Nilsson ‘Tail Lights’ Reviewed at Luna Kafe

    ” “Tail Lights” is the first single lifted from Erik Nilsson’s debut album Recollage (2011), which is being reissued by Hidden Shoal in May. Nilsson’s ambient electronica is of the cool and higly charming kind, like we heard on Nilsson’s second album, Hearing Things, so let’s go check it out.

    If you’re up for The Books, Four Tet, Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, and Matmos, Erik Nilsson’s music could be your cup of tea. Nilsson’s subtle and efficient guitar playing and discreet electronic instrumentation, composing and performing mixing live instruments and field recordings is quite gorgeous. When Hypnagogue magazine checked out Hearing Things they wrote: ‘[Nilsson’s] work lands in something of a sweet spot for me as a listener, taking approachable bases, things possessed of an easy, lilting beauty, and then working them through this filter or that concept, finding workable juxtapositions and pushing envelopes as he goes’. Yes, it’s true. Spot on. Like Hearing Things, “Tail Lights” is a most delicate composition. It’s a feather-light song, taking off just hovering above the ground, swirling, spinning, shining with a dim light. Being perfect music for an early morning. We’ll revisit and check out the rest of Recollage next moonth. Until the I’ll put on Hearing Things once more, as well as spinning “Tail Lights” over and over again.”

    Luna Kafe

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  • Erik Nilsson “Hearing Things” Reviewed at Hypnagogue

    “Here’s my thought: I think that Erik Nilsson has a slider. And this slider has two settings at either end: charming and challenging. And as he takes us through his album Hearing Things, he moves this slider back and forth. Sometimes it’s at one extreme or the other; most times it’s set precisely in a spot that’s just enough of one while letting the other come through as well. It’s a tricky little balancing act, and while my first few listens to Hearing Things may have left me a little unsteady in terms of opinion, repeat listens have largely won me over. Nilsson’s work lands in something of a sweet spot for me as a listener, taking approachable bases, things possessed of an easy, lilting beauty, and then working them through this filter or that concept, finding workable juxtapositions and pushing envelopes as he goes. The album opens strong with the bubbling, slightly tremolo’d guitar notes of “Ex Nihilo.” Nilsson scrubs at his strings for extra texture, nudging the piece into a mildly hypnotizing rhythm and a sense of everything being made of crystal. There are a couple moments where a sweet jazz riff lifts above the sound for a nice touch. “On and Onward” is one of those tracks that just hooked itself into me the moment I heard it. Opening with big, emotional piano chords over a twinkling of chimes, it immediately establishes itself as a heartfelt ballad—and quite different from the tracks preceding it. Nilsson laces in a bear on the bass drum to bring a little extra force, and to get it ready to ramp up a touch more. Listen again for textured sounds, stuff that’s roughened up and chopped, that seem like they  should be interruptive, but which instead not only add something when they’re there. but which, when they’re dropped back out, seem to amplify the clean ballad sound.  The track that I surprisingly took to—after a couple of tries—is the intriguing “Distance, Wind and Heat.” We’re talking about a track that features what sounds for all the world like the ear-grinding squeal of a rusty swingset in motion. Nilsson starts off back at the piano, another sad song loaded with lonely echo. Guitar folds in…and then in comes the squeal. Honestly, it’s a little tough to listen to at first, and Nilsson even drops everything else out at one point so that all you’ve got is this sound. But wait it out. He begins to build the song back up, and once the drums come in, just this big, angry kick on the bass like someone’s pounding on the door, it not only takes off, but the squeal is suddenly a harmonic element playing counter to everything else that’s going on. Is it still a bit grinding? Well, yes. But everything else around it is so huge, so bold and forceful…you’ve got to dive into this one to understand. It works in a very weird way. Later, “Drawing/Dreaming” finds Nilsson alone with his guitar and lots of reverb. This is a sweet and simple piece with a load of soul. I’d take an album of just this, truth be told. Not everything works on Hearing Things. I could do without the stumbly minimalism of “Mood Swings,” and my vote is still out on the Reich-like “In One-Fifth of a Second.” Still, there have been many points during my numerous listens as I got ready to review this album where the emotional punch of Nilsson’s music just stops me in my tracks and I just need to take a moment to do nothing but listen. That’s effective stuff, and there’s plenty of effective stuff here. Do give this a listen.”

    Hypnagogue

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  • “Long Range Transmissions” Reviewed at Tome To The Weather Machine

    “I am an unabashed Hidden Shoal fan. The Australian label has been pumping out releases of lush, cinematic aspirations of ambient and neo-classical artists for a better part of it’s existence that, at times, is overcome by its eclectic output ranging from conspiracy-punks to 90’s slowcore revivalists to every deriviation of weirdos (Australian and otherwise) in between. Long Distance Transmissions, however, is a surprisingly cohesive collection of sprawling ambient, electro-acoustic, post-classical and just about ever derivation (Australian and otherwise) of lushly produced, slightly melancholic, wordless music in between. Highlights include Markus Mehr’s Tim Hecker-meets-Heinz Riegler meditative distorted synth composition “Hubble, the chopped and glitched electro-acoustic number by Kryshe, the minor key minimalist techno of Cheekbone and the emotional heft of the 80’s nostalgia of Slow Dancing Society’s bubbling arpeggios and soundtrack-worthy dynamics. It makes sense that Hidden Shoal also exists as a licensing company, many of these compositions, if not already, seem to soundtrack some deeply resonant scenes in films (never made).”

    Tome To The Weather Machine

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  • Markus Mehr “In the Palm of Your Hand” Reviewed at Luna Kafe

    “The musical world of Markus Mehr is really a place to go explore. I’ve been amazed and chilled by Mehr’s music on several occasions, with albums such as On (2012), Off (2013), and Binary Rooms (2014). This time around some other artists explore Mehr’s music, or song, as they have remixed his track “In The Palm of your Hand” (from his last album, last year’s Binary Rooms).

    The first (of four) remixes is a ‘version’ by a Hamburg electro-duo called incite/ (a.k.a. Kera Nagel and André Aspelmeier). Their electronic-electric spinning hum-noise through and around Mehr’s piano chords is a tense and slightly, slowly disturbing. Conga Fever‘s (a German project as well) play ‘old-school House and Disco music’, which means Mehr is wrapped in a funky, exotic blanket for the dance-floor. The beatmix is quite cool. Hidden Shoal label mate Erik Nilsson (Sweden) brings more air and quiet to the room, but he also adds a spinning buzz to the piano’s backdrop. Glimpses of an air raid signal blends with a club crowd buzz, and the authenticity of the field recording lifts the ‘jazzy’ trumpet, and/or brings even a more jazzy vibe. Nilsson makes the song radiate. Very, very cool! While you’re at it, check Nilsson’s excellent album of the year, Hearing Things. The final remix is done by David Kochs (based in Augsburg, Germany), who takes “In the Palm of Your Hand” inside, or in and out of his little Techno-house. Quite fascinating, for sure, but summing up these four remixes, I prefer Nilsson’s take on Mehr.

    As the fifth track we get Markus Mehr’s original, so that we can compare the remixes with the ‘real’ track. Mehr rules, of course, but the rest of the boys in here are all doing well. However, like I said: Nilsson is still my favourite. Mehr makes music to drift/dream away to. This is the discreet sound of the ‘candy-colored clown they call the sandman’.”

    Luna Kafe

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Licensing

Erik Nilsson’s music is  available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.

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