MYSTERY SEA 37 | moth electret | [lil]


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-"the 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."

- Stig 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 to life...

"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 > listen !
02. kalaa
03. lyel
04. isal I
05. isal II
06. aelia I
07. aelia II
08. aelia III > listen !




VITAL WEEKLY 571|Frans De Waard
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 nice indeed.
vital weekly

AQUARIUS 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!

TOKAFI |Tobias Fischer  
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 utterings.
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 “lil”.


Rated : 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 techno.
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.

musique machine

DIOPHANTINE|Kyle Wright   
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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