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DEAF CENTER - Low Distance

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Sonic Pieces 028
Release Year: 2019
Note: third full lenght album by the project of OTTO TOTLAND & ERIK SKODVIN, lim. 450 w. handmade texitled artwork! "After their last record Owl Splinters (2011) was quite an eclectic endeavor, they draw their sound back into something more quiet and minimal...Low Distance is a welcome return replete with beauty, mystery and uncertainty."
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"Low Distance is Deaf Centers third full-length studio album and perhaps the most focused effort by the Norwegian duo to date. After their last record Owl Splinters (2011) was quite an eclectic endeavor, Erik K Skodvin & Otto A Totland draw their sound back into something more quiet and minimal.

The record starts with a piece of sweeping analougue electronics. Its a spacious, yet dynamic opener that leads directly into the static tones and piano motivs of Entity Voice, which balances a new sense of abstractation with the classic Deaf Center sound. Its warm and close while sounding like its set in the outer horizon. Overall Low Distance feels both alien and familiar with its atonal synths, close pianos and drowned out noises.

After meeting in studio for the first time since 2011, the recordings came out of a 3 day session in 2017. It was then mixed at both EMS Stockholm and at Eriks home studio over a longer period to create a blend of deeply layered as well as stripped down pieces. Both Erik & Otto have been active individually since their last meeting as Deaf Center: Otto released 2 solo piano albums, while Erik has furthered his descent into musical abstractation both under his own name and as Svarte Greiner. Its long overdue to hear them connect their personalities into something new. Low Distance is a welcome return replete with beauty, mystery and uncertainty."

"So I managed to fall into that pattern again, whereby a long-anticipated album by a beloved project sits awaiting just the right time. I need a "perfect" mood and setting to experience Deaf Center, and I must not be interrupted in any possible way. And so I put it to the side. Meanwhile, I procrastinate with promos and suggestions and releases which are all sub par. Then I finally reach out, and I listen for the very first time. Then the second and the third. And time goes by. A month or two. I play it sixth and seventh time, and no, not yet, I'm not prepared to say the right things... I must find certain words to share my thoughts. And time goes by... That is the pattern. Until I recognize it for its block and rip the bandaid off and share. The time has come. Of this I'm certain.

Since their 2014 release, Recount, put out by Monique Recknagel's Sonic Pieces imprint, the duo of Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland have massively raised the bar on their third full-length studio album, Low Distance. I've generally used the word "texture" in the past, to describe the intricate granular details that give a particular recording more depth, complexity and substance, and yet, on Low Distance Deaf Center takes it to a whole new level. Seemingly accidental noises, clips, and circuit howls become the foundation for the platform of this moody record, where Totland's piano finds the courage to reveal its beauty to the world. The heavy fibered bow scrapes at the cello strings to make the instrument convulse and shudder. The sonic gravity of the atmospheric treatments paired with the poignancy of the melodic heartache propels Low Distance into the ranks of albums of the decade, where every coveted position is meticulously picked.

A total masterpiece for anyone inspired by the fine details stitched in a microcosm of harmonies and timbres. One which I will treasure for the many years to come, and with these words I hope you'll too. Highly recommended for anyone delighted by reductionist pianism, isolationist ambience, coarse minimalism and granular spaciousness. Yes, I've authored some of those stylistic genres just for you. But seriously, if you're into anything from the amazing Miasmah (which Skodvin runs), dark and organic drone mixed with evolving soundscapes by the likes of Rafael Anton Irisarri, Ben Lukas Boysen, Brambles, Richard Skelton, and Lawrence English, among the many appearing on this site, you'll be in for a treat. Highly recommended!" [Headphone Commute]