“Neon City” by Deaf Center

Deaf Center's enthralling debut.



Deaf Center is the mysterious project of Norwegian musical masterminds Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland. Old school friends, and both old hands at making solo music, they came together for a holiday in a Norwegian log-cabin and began sampling everything around them. Be it a game of table tennis, an old television broadcast or even friends and relatives having a conversation – nothing was safe. Before long the two had crafted a handful of personal, delicate works and so ‘Neon City’ was born.

An unusual release in the electronica spectrum, instead of relying on synthesis, ‘Neon City’ prefers to warm itself with pianos and lightly plucked guitars. Deep, long grass and icy branches, burning timbers and secluded mountain haunts are conjured as the sounds breathe over even the casual listener. One cannot help but be won over by the magic of these two most gifted musicians. With their careful respect for space, rather than the essentials of software trickery, Erik and Otto manage to elevate this recording to a state unachieved by most. Somewhere stuck in time, not pinpointed or stereotyped by technological advances, but accessable from all angles. Influenced by the film soundtracks of Cliff Martinez and Yann Tiersen much more than the overworked glitch of Autechre, Neon City is something fresh for tired, dry ears.

We will stop here to kindly thank Erik and Otto for brushing away the dust on their old tape recorder, kicking the snow from their doorsteps and lighting the fires of their imagination. Without this release, the world would surely be a much colder, darker place. As if all this was not enough, Type cohort Keith Kenniff (aka Helios) has stepped in to provide a remix, taking the beauty and simplicity of the original track and adding something entirely his own. Layers of guitar drift over smooth pulsing bass and chopped driving beats, giving us a wonderful, rich listening experience. The sheer genius of Mr. Keith Kenniff has not yet been acknowledged, but this delicately engineered remix is further proof that he is one of the most interesting producers around today.