When looking at the cover art of this debut full length by the Norwegian duo called Deaf Center, I had to think of the artist Christo. While Christo covered a bridge and the German parliament with cloth, Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland chose a black and white collage of a misty Norwegian fjord covered by some kind of quilt. It?s a good setting for the content of this CD on the British Type label.
Deaf Center?s sound is very cineastic and I think that?s their intention. I read that ?Pale Ravine? was inspired by old 8mm black and white films. The disc starts out with two tracks of lush strings that sound like Wolfgang Voigt?s Gas project without beats. ?White Lake?, the third tune, is centered around a melancholic piano melody that is soon supported by a slowly swinging beat and more strings. It?s incredibly dark and tense and would be the perfect match for a French film noir from the 50s. The rest of the CD moves on in the same direction. It sounds a bit overdone at times, especially because the strings are obviously not real. I had to think of the more mainstream Hollywood film music producers like Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer. Deaf Center are not as tacky of course.
Another comparison that springs to mind is Max Richter, whose ?Blue Notebooks? was one of my favourite albums of 2004. Unlike Max Richter, Deaf Center unfortunately don?t fully manage to maintain a consistent atmosphere through the entire length of their album. The CD loses its grip during tracks 5 to 9 where I?m missing a sense of direction. It?s not until ?The Clearing? that the mood of the beginning of this CD slowly builds up again. At that point, it?s hard to get back into it though. 6/10 -- Stephan Bauer (27 June, 2006)