Hildur Gudnadóttir / BJ Nilsen / Stilluppsteypa Second Childhood

Though she’s worked extensively with fellow Icelandic artists like Múm and Jóhann Jóhannsson, it is cellist Hildur Gudnadóttir who is the dark horse of this collaboration. Her spare and echo-enhanced strings, however, define the space and direction of these pieces. BJ Nilsen has gradually gone from the atmospheric electronics of his Hazard projects to nearly pure atmosphere, as with his recent CD Storm with field recording artist Chris Watson. Here he provides an enclosure that gives the ambient music room to breathe. He also serves as full circle connector to expatriate Icelandic duo Stilluppsteypa, having worked with them on two previous albums for the Helen Scarsdale label. Where earlier releases where typically barbed and dark-humoured affairs, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson have recently embraced restraint as a new tool in their arsenal. Most of Second Childhood inhabits a twilight realm that teeters on the edge of beauty and foreboding. "How to Catch the Right Thought,” for instance, is an idyllic shimmer of cello notes broadcast from a subterranean chamber. It is this pepper-laced honey that keeps things from drifting into a new age torpor and makes this a repeatedly intriguing listen. (Quecksilber)