Deaf Center by Erique Skogel

Deaf Center – “Recount”

“Recount” is ‘a bridge between albums’, a pause and a space in which to breathe. But, coming as it does from Norway’s darkly divine Deaf Center, the music is cold to the touch and is likely to send a shiver down the spine. The music is as grey as before, but it’s a bruise with subdued hues and shady colours. The brighter notes try to shine like sunshine through layers of smothered, impenetrable cloud, but the music remains overcast. Clearer notes poke out of the music like sharp twigs, but the rest of the music is soaked in a dull, moody tonality.

Occasional glints of light can be seen and heard, reflecting off the music like shards of thin ice. In this environment, the piano has a lot of space in which to move, and it does so in a slow slumber, as if it too were in the process of thawing. The threatening mood has gone, leaving a wispy trail in its wake. Grey sheets cover the music, just as they always have, and in what is a pretty cool catch 22 their sound has expanded and yet shrunk. In its minimalism, the notes naturally enjoy an increase in space. They float in the space left by the passing of other notes, taking their place as new inhabitants in the music.

Recount consists of two long pieces that were recorded in 2008 and 2012, before and after their second release, Owl Splinters. It flies in on Sonic Pieces and is the inauguration of their Pattern series. It is, therefore, a sound in transition; a sound from their past, a transition, but one that flows together nonetheless. Cool footsteps have left behind their own trail of mystery. The deep, resonating timbre of the organ enters reluctantly at first, but then leaves. Its scent stays, swirling in snow. The music stretches out; four years, the time between the two tracks, is nothing in this space. Fans will love the new music, but it’s also a great introduction for newcomers who are seeking an entry point. It isn’t as dark as we’ve come to expect, but there are chilly moments that help you to remember what has gone before. Both ‘Follow Still’ and ‘Oblivion’ are quietly beautiful, tasteful in their cold stone.

‘Oblivion’, the second piece, is more in the strict ambient vein, but it’s still somewhat of a new discovery, a new exploration, for the duo. ‘Oblivion’ isn’t as confined as the first piece. The music swirls around like an airy vapour that clears the air and the mind. This is a thoughtful change of key that shows off their softer side, years after the haunting. The music whistles a call from the woods, but it’s without the threat of wolves; a cold, sober soundscape, lost in the white drift.

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Photo by Erique Skogel

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