Deaf Center

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Pale Ravine (2005), 6.5/10
Svarte Greiner: Knive (2006), 6.5/10
Svarte Greiner: Kappe (2009), 6.5/10
Owl Splinters (2011) , 6.5/10

Deaf Center, the Norwegian duo of cellist Erik Skodvin and pianist Otto Totland, crafted the psycho-ambient music of Pale Ravine (2005) by setting in motion collages of field recordings and classical instruments. The majestic wall of drones of Lobby , the neoclassical adagio suspended in a glitchy spacetime warp of Thread, and the impressionistic vignette for piano and clusters of chords of Stone Beacon pretty much fixed the coordinates of the album. In most of the pieces there is only a silhouette of sound, a general blueprint, a rough sketch, that does not turn into a full-fledged organism.
Only a few of the pieces display a narrative: Weir presents stately waves and then explores their interior via a stream of glitchy noise before merging the two planes; White Lake sets lounge jazz piano in a martial, pompous atmosphere; Thunder Night overflows with melodrama and suspense even if not much happens.

Erik Skodvin inaugurated the project Svarte Greiner with Knive (Type, 2006), an album of mournful slo-motion free-form acoustic folk dirges drifting through distant and murky acoustic soundscapes. It was also one of the manifestos of "acoustic doom" music. Room Forever (Forced Exposure, 2008), that includes a side of field recordings, the mini-album Man Bird Dress (SMTG Limited, 2008) and the cassette Penpals Forever (Digitalis, 2008 - Type, 2010) were minor works. On the other hand, Kappe (Type, 2009), containing just four lengthy ieces, was a fragile and hallucinated counterpoint to the first Svarte Greiner album.

Deaf Center's Owl Splinters (Type, 2011) explores wildly different settings: the strident slow dense instrumental and vocal churning of Divided could be the soundtrack for a free fall into a black hole; Time Spent is a tiny neoclassical piano lullaby; New Beginning Tidal Darkness is an impressionistic painting for cascading water and droning strings; Animal Sacrifice turns a cello solo into a psychological nightmare; Hunted Twice is icy chamber music for arctic landscapes. The eleven-minute The Day I Would Never Have tops everything else with its crescendo of piano, cello, glitches and scream-like drones that dies out in aquatic piano notes.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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