Deaf Center new album + re-issue

Finally the release date of the new Deaf Center album, “Low Distance” (Sonic Pieces) is here. From today on it is available on all digital platforms as well as CD/LP. This is the first collaborative studio album by the duo of Erik K Skodvin & Otto A Totland since their album Owl Splinters (2011). That very album has also been given a lavish re-packaging as a gatefold 2LP on Miasmah. It includes the Svarte Greiner re-interpretation album Twin as well as new cover-art with photos by cinematographer Joshua Zucker-Pluda. Twin is also available digitally for the first time.

Deaf Center will play live in Brussels at the BRDCST festival during the Sonic Pieces 10 year anniversary evening, April 4th.

> Read a short interview about Low Distance at Passive / Aggressive

> Low Distance on Bandcamp - Spotify
> Owl Splinters on Bandcamp - Spotify
> Twin on Bandcamp - Spotify

Photo by Kelly Tivnan

Photo by Kelly Tivnan

A selection of incoming reviews / quotes
(will be updated)

Erik K Skodvin & Otto A Totland have made any anticipation that much easier by delivering a work of boundless opulence” - Toneshift

The unmistakable melancholic feel of Deaf Center is no less present than before but it has found a lighter, more spacious and less eerie form of expression” - Passive / Aggressive

This music draws its immense beauty from subtlety and deliberate restriction, so is pretty much the opposite of the boasting grandiosity and virtuosity of the typical " Nils Frahm " neoclassical” -

They strip the music to the bone, to create extremely urgent pieces with it that no note is wasted” - Subjectivisten

sonic pieces 10 years @ ausland

Sonic Pieces is 10 this year, and the first celebration took place at ausland, Berlin on the 20th of February featuring 3 duos that never played together before. Label owner Monique Recknagel even performed for the first time. In a duo with F.S.Blumm they together weaved an almost Musique Concrete like performance with tools and material usually used to craft the handmade covers. In the second set, Christoph Berg & Midori Hirano materialised an extended set of piano, sounds and prepared violin. For the ones who don´t know ausland, the venue is an experimental music institution in the Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin, where also the Sonic Pieces HQ is located. Exactly 10 years ago on the date, Monique was setting up a show at the same space, just a couple months prior to the first release on her own label. With this in mind, the third duo of Jasmine Guffond & Erik K Skodvin was especially suited, as Jasmine already performed on that evening 10 years ago. They started after an extra long break due to ausland´s toilets being under construction. The crowd had to use a single temporary outside toilet, lit by a light chain in the darkened front-yard. To some this was a welcome escape from the heat produced in the venue packed with people. At close to 23h the last duo entered the stage. Erik on electro-acoustic guitar + devices and Jasmine on max-msp improvisations. The 30 minute performance went through intense electronic minimalism, loud abstract peaks and a final duet on piano solo vs chopped sampling.

The evening ended with Jens Alder (of Morr Music) finishing up his compiled playlist set of 2009 tracks before Monique & Erik took over the decks with a small selection of jazz, Japanese music and soundtracks. We´re very happy with the evening and would like to thank everyone who came or took the trip over to celebrate with us. We also apologise to the ones we had to turn away at the door. More celebrations are on the way later in the year.

Listen to 15 minutes of excerpts from the 3 performances.
First 3 minutes by Monique Recknagel & F.S.Blumm.
03:07 - 08:17 Midori Hirano & Christoph Berg.
08:18 > Jasmine Guffond & Erik K Skodvin.

More photos of the evening from Udo Siegfriedt here

The unpredictability of Tatu Rönkkö or the art of traveling light as a performing musician

Due to a delayed flight to Amsterdam on December 2nd we almost missed the first part of a Sonic Pieces showcase at Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht. But Wilbertjan at F/uister who organized the event, the artists and audience were kind enough to wait the academic quarter to see if we would show up. Luckily we just made it right before Tatu Rönkkö went on stage.
Last time we saw Tatu perform in Berlin he used a drum kit and played pieces from his debut album “Spheres”, and as we found out later he had requested drums for this show too. But the drum next to him remained untouched for his entire solo performance. Instead we saw him play with specific lightweight plastic bottles he had brought from Finland, metal bowls, wooden sticks and bundled spoons that sounded like church bells. Not only his solo part was quite impressive, but also his contribution to Rauelsson´s set who played afterwards. And all Tatu needed to bring fit into a backbag and a tote, while Raúl was having a hard time getting his 36 kilogram heavy equipment on board of his flight.

Tatu Rönkkö live at Club Nine - Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht (NL) on December 2nd, 2018 (excerpt).
Sonic Pieces showcase organized by F/uister.

Three days later we had set up a Miasmah & Sonic Pieces evening in Berlin with Clarice Jensen and Rauelsson. Tatu joined to perform with Raúl on this occasion too, and as we liked his concert in Utrecht we asked him to also play a short intro before Raúl´s set in Berlin. During soundcheck Tatu played with the plastic bottles again, ready to do what he had just demonstrated in Utrecht.
A few hours later, Tatu had disappeared for a short while in between, Clarice had finished her set, Raúl already got a little worried, inquiring if anyone had seen Tatu; he all of a sudden showed up, asking if he should go on stage. I said “yes, please go ahead“. He responded “I need to get my new instrument“, went backstage, grabbed a ventilator and a bunch of cloth hangers and did a 10 minute performance just using that. The plastic bottles which were still distributed over the stage remained untouched for the rest of the evening.

For the first time ever we saw Tatu perform was years back in Nils Frahm´s kitchen. It was his thing around that time to play in people´s kitchens, using the room and whatever was around – a spontaneous approach, always improvised, always new. On “Spheres“ Tatu proved that he can also do different. Even if he´s been using almost only self-made instruments from everyday objects for this album too, he presented us six pieces of music which are much more composed, focused and icredibly detailed. But it was also refreshing and inspiring to see him going back to the roots, being spontaneous and just trying things out. Sometimes it doesn´t need much for a great performance, just talent and imagination. And we already can´t wait to see and hear what he´s coming up with next.

Mandy OST + Transference

Jóhann Jóhannsson´s final score before his untimely death was to the film Mandy by Panos Cosmatos. The record and film is now released. Read a conversation between Pitchfork and Pepijn (Kreng), Randall Dunn + manager Tim Husom about how it came to be finished. Both Kreng and Yair Elazar Glotman were involved in forming the soundtrack album as Jóhann passed before it was compiled. The OST is out via Invada and is a beast of a record that we can highly recommend.


Almost at the same time, Kreng has finished the massive task of creating the score and sound design to game Transference, which is a collaboration between Ubisoft and film company Spectrevision. Transference aims to bridge the gap between movies and games and is available in VR (PlayStation®VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) and traditional platforms (PS4, Xbox One and PC). Sounds exciting, and we hope to be able to play it sometime.


Monique (Sonic Pieces) talks to Headphone Commute about her record collection

Recently, while spending a couple days in Zurich we stumbled upon OOR Records, a super nice and very well curated shop. Not only did we find a rare copy of Midori Hirano´s "Minor Planet" LP there, but they also played an intriguing record while we were browsing around, which we found out is "Lepidoptera" by Lena Platonos - a reissue of an album from the 80ies. We ended up buying it, and it will probably always remind us of Zurich and our visit to OOR. 

If you want to read more about how we like to discover records and other thoughts about vinyl, read the interview Monique did for Headphone Commute about her vinyl collection.