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

 

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

  • Eat Your Friends: A Hidden Shoal 10th Anniversary Compilation

    Eat Your FriendsHidden Shoal is excited to end the celebration of its 10th year of existence with the new compilation album Eat Your Friends, comprising remixes and covers of Hidden Shoal artists, by Hidden Shoal artists. This freely downloadable album not only showcases the wealth of original music released through Hidden Shoal, but also the creative ingenuity and deft musical touch of the remixers and cover artists.

    From searing solar-flared adaptations to delicately reconstructed covers, deep space jam reworkings, and shimmering ambient tapestries, Eat Your Friends reimagines the Hidden Shoal discography in new and beautiful ways, playing to all the strengths of the roster’s dizzying array of talent.

    Includes remixes and covers by: Antonymes, Arc Lab, Glanko, Wayne Harriss, Liminal Drifter, Makee, Chloe March, Markus Mehr, Erik Nilsson, REW<<, Slow Dancing Society, Tin Manzano, Willem Gator, and Zealous Chang  of music by: Arc Lab, Brother Earth, Cheekbone, City of Satellites, Medard Fischer, Gilded, Glanko & Daniel Bailey, Kryshe, Memorybell, Erik Nilsson, perth, Slow Dancing Society, Tangled Star, Umpire, and Zealous Chang.

    Eat Your Friends is available now as a free download via Bandcamp and is also streamable via SoundCloud. Listen and then throw yourself into the wormhole as you explore the originals and more work by the remixers and cover artists.  For all the filmmakers, games designers and others in need of engaging music, don’t forget that all tracks in our catalogue are available for licensing (film, tv, games, compilations etc).

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  • Featured Track – Erik Nilsson ‘Ex Nihilo’

    Erik NilssonOn ‘Ex Nihilo’, the quicksilver opener to his superb 2015 album Hearing Things, Erik Nilsson‘s impressionistic deployment of the guitar is very much in the tradition of Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis: minimal notes, maximum impact. The track beautifully sets the stage for the album to follow, putting the listener in a receptive, contemplative mood that allows Nilsson to work his magic to best effect.

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  • Re-Issue of Erik Nilsson’s “Recollage” Out Now!

    RecollageHidden Shoal is proud to announce the reissue of Recollage, Erik Nilsson’s superb debut album and predecessor to his sublime 2015 album Hearing Things.

    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.

    Recollage 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, Recollage has received extra instrumentation, been fully re-mastered, and also includes the original version of album track ‘Rumore del Roma’.

    “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”Hypnagogue on Hearing Things

    Download Recollage now via Erik Nilsson’s Bandcamp or find it in your favourite 3rd party online store/streaming service.

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  • Hidden Shoal is 10!

    Hidden ShoalHidden Shoal is extremely excited to be celebrating its 10th birthday this month. It’s hard to believe that back in May 2006, Perth-based musicians Cam Merton, Stuart Medley and Malcolm Riddoch began Hidden Shoal Recordings as a means to put out releases by local artists. Tim Clarke, based in Melbourne, joined the team in 2007. Hidden Shoal has since gone on to become a much-loved independent label and publisher, releasing over 120 albums from a diverse range of international artists and licensing music from its catalogue across film, tv, web and compilation.

    Stay tuned for special anniversary announcements in the coming months!

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  • Erik Nilsson Single and Forthcoming Reissue of Debut Album

    RecollageHidden Shoal is excited to announce the forthcoming reissue of Erik Nilsson’s superb debut album Recollage (23/5/16). To get you in the mood we have the wonderful album track ‘Tail Lights’ available for download and streaming.

    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, Recollage has received extra instrumentation, been fully re-mastered, and also includes the original version of album track ‘Rumore del Roma’.

    “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”Hypnagogue on Hearing Things

    Recollage also joins the Hidden Shoal licensing catalogue and all album tracks are available now for your next moving image project or compilation. Contact us for more info.

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  • “Long Range Transmissions” MixTape Edition

    Long Range TransmissionsHere we present the MixTape version of Long Range Transmissions, the first in a new series of themed compilations from Hidden Shoal. The album showcases the ambient and neo-classical side of the catalogue, bringing together beautiful tracks from artists as diverse as Robert Pollard collaborator Todd Tobias, British chamber-pop songwriter Chloe March, and American ambient nostalgist Slow Dancing Society. From the delicate piano of Antonymes, Kryshe, Gilded and Medard Fischer, and the celestial experimentalism of Elisa Luu, Markus Mehr and Cheekbone, to the expansive guitarscapes of My Majestic Star, Erik Nilsson and Sleeping Me, Long Range Transmissions is an essential introduction to just one of the many facets of the Hidden Shoal label and licensing catalogue.

    Long Range Transmissions is also available as a free downloadable album via BandCamp.

    “Long Range Transmissions” – A Hidden Shoal Compilation by Hidden Shoal on Mixcloud

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  • “Long Range Transmissions” – Free Hidden Shoal Compilation

    Long Range TransmissionsWe’re excited to announce the release of Long Range Transmissions, the first in a new series of themed, freely downloadable compilations. Long Range Transmissions showcases the ambient and neo-classical side of the Hidden Shoal catalogue, bringing together beautiful tracks from artists as diverse as Robert Pollard collaborator Todd Tobias, British chamber-pop songwriter Chloe March, and American ambient nostalgist Slow Dancing Society. From the delicate piano of Antonymes, Kryshe, Gilded and Medard Fischer, and the celestial experimentalism of Elisa Luu, Markus Mehr and Cheekbone, to the expansive guitarscapes of My Majestic Star, Erik Nilsson and Sleeping Me, Long Range Transmissions is an essential introduction to just one of the many facets of the Hidden Shoal label and licensing catalogue.

    The albums is freely downloadable via BandCamp and can also be streamed at SoundCloud and MixCloud. The album also features gorgeous artwork by Gabrielle Harcourt, with the Bandcamp download coming with a bundled PDF booklet.

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  • Erik Nilsson Track in “The Trail Beyond” Doco Trailer

    Erik NilssonCheck out the new trailer for the wonderful in-production documentary The Trail Beyond, featuring the Erik Nilsson track ‘On and Onward’. The film, which will see release in 2016, documents the innovative Trail Beyond program which is aimed at inspiring and empowering women to achieve their goals and strive for more than they thought possible. Directed by the wonderful Cassie De Colling (founder of Natureel) the documentary will feature a soundtrack comprised of a range of Hidden Shoal artists and tracks. Check out the preview below.

    The Trail Beyond – Shinetsu 5 Mountain, Japan from Natureel on Vimeo.

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  • Markus Mehr “In the Palm of Your Hand – The Remix EP”

    In The Palm of Your Hand - The Remix EPHidden Shoal is proud to announce the release of Markus Mehr‘s In the Palm of Your Hand – The Remix EP, which brings together four unique remixes of the track ‘In the Palm of Your Hand’, lifted from Mehr’s latest album, Binary Rooms. Stream and download the EP via Bandcamp.

    The original album mix of ‘In the Palm of Your Hand’ maps out the dichotomy at the heart of Binary Rooms. While plaintive piano chords suggest openness and possibility, they’re perpetually hemmed in by a claustrophobic industrial throb, creating a tension that aches to be resolved. The first remix, by Hamburg duo incite/, ramps up the tension by slicing and dicing the ambient throb into a glitchy tapestry and smothering the piano in sonic gauze. Conga Fever dials back the ambience and juxtaposes the piano against a sun-dappled beatscape. Hidden Shoal labelmate Erik Nilsson makes the piano the focus, bringing in field recordings to create the feeling of a beautiful jazz improvisation taking place on a demolition site. And finally, David Kochs’ remix filters the haze of the original into sharp yet dreamy minimal techno.

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  • Erik Nilsson “Hearing Things” Out Now!

    Erik Nilsson - Hearing ThingsWe know you’ve been loving Erik Nilsson‘s sumptuous new track ‘On and Onward‘ and waiting for his second album to drop (we have cameras in your house). Well quit your waiting and start your listening as the beautiful sophomore release from Nilsson, Hearing Things, has just landed. 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.

    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.

    Check out the opening track ‘Ex Nihilo’ below or via SoundCloud and stream and purchase the album here.

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Reviews

  • “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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  • “Long Range Transmissions” Hidden Shoal Compilation Album

    “Happened across this as we were turning it in for the night, a new name your price downloadable compilation by Australia’s finest purveyors of elegantly drawn dream pop Hidden Shoals. Entitled ‘long range transmissions’ it features a gathering of talents, some familiar – Antonymes, Markus Mehr, Slow Dancing Society et al along with some not so such as gilded and cheekbone. However what attracted us apart from the obvious as ever high quality seductive ambience tonalities literally peeling from the grooves was a delightful little thing from Elisa Luu entitled ‘chromatic sigh’. A breathlessly beautiful slice of porcelain noir classicism, an all too brief heavenly visitation, the slow shift into focus of the sound of a celestial calling emerging into the open to bathe all in the tingling shower of warming radiance, an out of body astral gliding odyssey which for a moment utterly transfixes its delicately balanced and perfectly poised gaze to fix and fill you with ethereal enchantment. And so to something familiar, regular visitors to these pages will be all too aware of our affection for Chloe March who here with ‘old tree, mon coeur’ doesn’t disappoint in the slightest and into the bargain offers up this sweetly mesmerising rustic ghost light, a fairy dust sprayed dream draped lost in the moment beguiling bouquet that shyly treads in the kind of amorphous star twinkled worlds of Musetta albeit as though aided and abetted by a soiree of siren sighs from a chill tripped Laetita and Mary from Stereolab.”

    - The Sunday Experience

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  • “Lost In Transmissions” Compilation Reviewed at Wake The Deaf

    “You might recognise Hidden Shoal from our piece on Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, the latest album from REW<<. The label has recently released Long Range Transmissions, the first in a series of themed compilations which showcase the ambient/neo-classical acts in their catalogue. It’s the perfect place to introduce yourself to a diverse and interesting collective of musicians.

    While the collection comes from a particular genre, there is still room for much variation across the thirteen tracks. Antonymes and Kryshe favour fragile, graceful piano, Cheekbone push a sci-fi inspired electronica and Chloe March creates a lush chamber pop. Todd Tobias evokes a mixture of shimmering bliss and nostalgia, his track ‘Nan Madol’ playing like a super-cinematic missing number from the Twin Peaks soundtrack, while Stockholm’s Erik Nilsson’s gently tropical ‘Drawing/Dreaming’ feels like watching the sun set into the sea on the last night of your holiday. Other highlights include the goosebump-inducing melodrama of Slow Dancing Society’s ‘Pull’, Elisa Luu’s ethereal ‘Chromatic Sigh’ and the aching melancholy of closing track ‘Empty Cradles’ by Sleeping Me.”

    Wake The Deaf

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  • Erik Nilsson “Hearing Things” Reviewed at Luna Kafe

    “Swedish composer/musician Erik Nilsson draws on ‘folk, classical and electronica’ and he blends ‘acoustic instruments with field recordings and computer-generated sounds’, according to his site. When Hidden Shoal are up to compare Nilsson’s music to other acts, they put up (early) Four Tet, Tortoise (at their most minimal), and the Finnish soundscapers The Gentleman Losers. Sounds like something cool and chilling.

    Nilsson’s music is slowly building and evolving, and his songs find their place and grows little by little, as they sneak out of their maker’s hands. These are the songs of the land of minimal music as in small and gentle, yes even fragile, but the outcome has some maximal effect. At least on me. Not that these tracks are loud and noisy. Not at all. On the contrary, this is all about calm, quiet and tranquillity. The slow hush of Nilsson’s second album Hearing Things starts with the gentle waves and the serenity of the guitar within “Ex Nihilo”. “Altitude” lifts off further in a most peaceful, psalm-like way, before its instrumental acrobatics starts building before ebbing and fading into thin air. Then comes the somewhat epic and totally marvellous “On and Onward”, blending both monotony and repetition as well as melodic harmony and harmonic rhythms. Neat. It makes me think of my fascination for Vangelis… back when I was a young boy, listening to Albedo 0.39.

    The magical tale of the hypnotising Hearing Things continues with the bubbly travel of “Moshka Can’t Wait” and the more quiet and moody “Mood Swings”, before another beauty appears: The track “Distance, Wind, and Heat” stands out as one of the best, maybe the best track of the album. It starts out with a hushed piano. Then a guitar comes in, and over the minutes the song builds up a force of intensity and stamina. Before it is fading and hiding in its room of silence again. It is a totally marvellous and stunning piece of music.

    Hearing Things ends with the more rhythmic drive of “In One-Fifth of a Second”, which rise almost to something noisy, before the gentle touch of “Drawing Dreaming” closes the album in a most atmospheric way. Excellence fulfilled. Listening to Hearing Things for sure eases one’s mind. It is almost as if this album can ease and end all pain. Period. Well, if it was so, we would have had world peace by now. Hmm, this means a lot more people need to listen to Hearing Things.

    Hearing Things was released some months ago (sorry for this late review), following Nilsson’s 2011 acclaimed debut Recollage (on Luxus-Artica Records). Erik Nilsson co-composed the soundtrack to the Norwegian documentary film Ahmed – snart 13 (Ahmed – Almost 13) (2011). He is also the singer and guitarist of Swedish folk-rock trio Otinget – who are recording ‘as we speak’. You’d better watch out. In the meantime, you’d better start Hearing Things. It’s for your own good.”

    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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