MYSTERY SEA 37 | moth
electret | [lil]
giant shimmering blades against the ancient landscape seemed more like
a tribute. it would be a few hours before we reached the island sand.
typically a colin archer will float in the water like a nut, but this
one – she said – was a rare species.
we loved those early hours, before the day drove the mystery away. people
that venture out early share a secret unspoken bond, and a question.
it was a spur of the moment thing. she reached eureka late in the afternoon
and settled at that victorian by the harbor. it channeled the spirit
of the old winston. a train was stranded in the middle of the rusty
industrial, sentenced without trial. gazing north it all seemed so impenetrable,
like some final outpost."
Berg, February 2007
Already a long time ago, Norwegian/US
man Stig Berg released under the R|A|A|N moniker "The
Nacrasti" on Malignant Antibody, an influential dark ambient work
of epic proportion inspired by desert views...
Now, after years of patient maturation & experimentation in subdued
mode, he comes to the surface again with an even more poignant &
less categorizable sound which will undoubtedly arouse interest among
a new type of audience...
For this sloughing, Stig has adequately opted to work
under another name : moth electret...
After years of crossed correspondence with my humble self, moth
electret has given birth to "lil"
which has been based around impressions & field recordings made
in sea/fish industry areas, mainly gathered from a trip to Eureka on
the northern californian coast, but also from Barcelona harbor &
the island of Sandøy, as well as some specific related digigraphic
vignettes created by me as impulse elements...
"lil" is a Mayan word for vibration... the
one you can feel passing through the whole piece, and which brings it
"lil" is like
running on an imaginary river
swollen & stripped with copper & rusty tones,
bracing scraps & scoria
in a mysterious underflow...
scintillations & gleams eddy
in an imperturbable metallic ringing choreography
"lil" makes you listen
to an emerging dense inner song
along which we drift effortlessly,
trying to catch some primal dormant energy
relocating us to an higher & more sensitive plane...
"lil" has enough evocative power
to drag you along its torrent
till you osmotically become it...
01. cygal >
04. isal I
05. isal II
06. aelia I
07. aelia II
08. aelia III >
VITAL WEEKLY 571|Frans
Somewhere along the line I missed out
on one Stig Berg who released as R|A|A|N on Malignant
Antibody a work called 'The Nacrasti', but perhaps it's because it's
some time ago. Much water has passed under the bridge before releasing
'LIL', which is a Mayan word for vibration and Stig
choose a new name Moth Electret. And the vibrations
picked up by Stig are mainly field recordings he collected
on a trip to Eureka in Northern California, but also in the harbor of
Barcelona and the island of Sandøy. His interest goes out to
sounds from the sea and fish industries, so it's perhaps only logical
that'LIL' is released by the label that specializes
in underwater music: Mystery Sea. The field recordings find their way
to the computer where they get much treatment: nothing leads back to
the original sound sources. If one source of inspiration is recognizable
it might be a strong influence of Werkbund and the hydrophonic works
of Asmus Tietchens, but one difference: Berg keeps
the pieces shorter, roughly somewhere between five and seven minutes.
Otherwise the differences are hard to grasp, but Berg
does a pretty fine job here. Perhaps not the most original kind of stuff
that is going here, but each of the pieces is crafted with care. Quite
new arrivals #266
Yet another brief, but engaging stop in our
ongoing journey through the mysterious seas of sound, an expansive world
gradually being charted and recorded by the fine folks at Mystery Sea.
Constantly in search of "night-ocean drones", hungry to discover
another bit of unheard beauty, a new drifting soundworld of ambient
dronemusic, that had been heretofore unexplored.
Moth Electret is the strange moniker of the artist
responsible for this latest disc in Mystery Sea's long running (going
on nearly 40 releases!) series of deep tranquility and beautiful drift.
The man responsible is Stig Berg (who has recorded
as R|A|A|N in the past) and who for his Moth Electret
project has fashioned his own undersea soundworld almost entirely from
field recordings, captured in Barcelona, the isle of Sandoy and of all
places, Eureka, California!
Unlike the rest of the Mystery Sea series, Moth Electret
might just be the least minimal, with lots of stuff going on, this isn't
murky or droney exactly, instead it's thick clouds of sound, jagged
and sparkling, grinding and looped, muted and smeared into long stretches
of soft-noise, still sort of underwater sounding, but a bit more abrasive,
more industrial almost, if you could imagine the softer, gentler side
of Wolf Eyes maybe, expansive soundscapes of glimmer and shimmer, lots
of metallic tinkles and high end buzz, all drifting above static sheets
of slow shifting sound, very tidal, but on the skree side of things,
like Birchville or Sunroof! more than Chalk or Coleclough. Every track
is layered and dense, repeated listens find the listener sinking deeper
and deeper, discovering hidden melodies, and surprising little sonic
events, even though it's noisier than the rest of the series, it's no
less compelling, or listenable, in someways even more so. So much more
going on, and so much sound to explore. Another perfect soundtrack for
late night dreamy drift or early evening daylight fade...
Like all Mystery Sea releases, LIMITED TO 100 COPIES, each disc numbered,
and gorgeously packaged in striking full color artwork, with a strange
half sized booklet revealing the disc face within. So nice!
It is usually considered common knowledge that music
bridges the gap between languages, cultures, ethnicities and other potential
borders of all kinds. “lil”, however, proves
that it can also serve to make us aware of clear and present differences.
A fifty one-minute trip of unfathomable implications, it leaves you
confused and confounded after the last note has died down: Has it brought
you closer to the man behind this or widened the divide?
“The next CD should be out by the end of the year, or beginning
next year.”, Stig Berg (the aforementioned “man
behind this”) mentioned in an interview, “It is a special
graphic/music presentation done by mystery sea records and it will be
focused on oceanic themes (although not really "water" like,
more like where the ocean meets the land)” That was in 2002 and
Berg was just promoting his first release under the
RAAN moniker: “The Nacrasti”, still considered an influential
Dark Ambient album and a work which attracts new followers until today.
Then everything turned quiet around him. Daniel of said Mystery Sea
Records mentions “years of cross-mailing” and creative debates
about “impressions & field recordings made in sea/fish areas”
imply that we can assume several new approaches have been set up and
discarded. In the end, the graphic part of the project was dropped,
even the group’s name came under scrutiny and after four years
of experimentation, recording and composing,“lil” reaches
us under the authorship of “moth electret”
and extensive travels around the world: Sound sources include Eureka
on the Californian coast, the harbor of Barcelona and Sandøy,
one of the Faroe islands. Subsequently, the opening piece “cygal”
begins with whirring helicopter blades and gulfing waves, before building
up a wind of inviting drone phasings. It is possibly the only immediately
recognizable moment, before Berg reverts to a totally
idiosyncratic world of his own. The archetypal processed organic sound
environment of other Mystery Sea releases is present as well, but it
is almost as if Berg has made it the center of musical
progression, instead of a background item. Sustained tones come floating
in an out of this impenetrable brushwood of either sharply metallic
or warmly rubbing effects, sometimes even in a brusque and confronting
manner. “kalaa” is a perfect example, an eleven-minute semblance
of pulsations, hidden harmonics, gurglings, buzzings and tropical humidity
– the blank spaces in between are equally important as the passages
filled with action. On other occasions, things are more radical and
take listeners to alien places, where “music” as we know
it is substituted with ambient sonics and intermittent, elusive choral
Maybe these tracks will reveal their secrets over time, but I have a
strong suspicion they’ll never open up completely. More than anything,
they portrait Stig Berg as a man who sees amazing things
were others see nothing and who is moved to tears by the beauty of sounds
others consider insignificant. Have we come closer to understanding
him after this album? It has hardly ever been as hard to say as with
MACHINE | Roger Batty
: 2 stars out of 5
lil goes under the more active
and not so deep form of ambient bracket & been surprising swift
for the often drifting Mystery sea label type release. It’s
all the work of Norwegian Stig Berg, who has
already released an album under the name of R|A|A|N some years back.
On offer eight fairly short tracks (for ambient music) mostly running
from under ten to just over five minutes a piece. Each track seems to
be built around manipulated source material such as; water, subterranean
sounds and what could be distant machinery clunking and moving
slowly away. He then seems to add in synth textures and possible
peddles of some sort. Then he mixes it all together to give an organic
and living feel to the material that morphs from tinkling almost
rhythmic tones, to melodic revolving textures and dronescapes. Apparently
the album was constructed from sounds recorded in sea fishing/
industrial areas from various locations around the world, it
does capture the feeling of calm amongst great activity.
I have to admit many of the pieces seem to have too much movement/ change
in them, he doesn’t seem to be able to settle very well into
constructing more strip down or long stretched-out textural dwells,
he's always wanting to be pressing in the next layer of sound or harmonic
element giving this often a quite muddled vibe. In places it almost
brings to mind more ambient striped down psychedelic rock jams or minimal
So an album with some creative use of sound and texture
mixing, and some interesting ideas and atmosphere at work, but
sadly he never lets them stay long enough to develop or deepen.
Somewhere From the mind behind R|A|A|N
we get a new project, Moth Electret, which is a more
experimental effort utilizing lots of processed location recordings
and guitar. The music generally falls somewhere between the realms of
drones and field recordings, but that's being too simplistic. Some elements
of the pieces will follow a calm and flowing path, while others are
more noisy or loud and uneasy -- it creates a wonderful contrast. The
processing of the field recordings is some of the best and most interesting
I've heard: plenty of the original recordings remain to tease the imagination
(think of rigging clanking in a calm wind on a ship at night, or waves
in a harbour), but they've also been processed into very interesting
and evolving sounds. The music is quite dreamy and beautiful, but at
the same time it's extremely mysterious. Eight distinct, yet unified,
tracks lasting for over fifty minutes. A very enjoyable, engaging, and
sometimes intense release. Lovely packaging (as usual) by Mystery Sea.
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