Deaf Center Circa 2003-2006

Deaf Center is the collaborators Erik K Skodvin (AKA Svarte Greiner, xhale, Solitaire albread) and Otto A Totland (AKA supine, nest), operating out of Norway since 2003. Old classmates, they finally decided to write music together and ended up creating the Neon City EP, soon followed by the full length album, Pale Ravine.

They live in Oslo/Langesund Norway, and produce cinematic atmospheres. Type records is the label which they release on, and except from type, they both release individual musics on the mp3 label Miasmah as xhale & supine. Erik also has his graphic design base there.

This was their website.
Content is from the site's 2004 -2007 archived pages + other outside sources since the new owner of the domain is a DeafCenter fan.
You can follow Deaf Center on their facebook page:




Circa 2004

" Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland are engineers of emotion and with 'Neon City' they have created something abstract, yet accessable. As the sound of a Norweigian log cabin creaks in the distance, and crisp piano drifts into the soundfield - you know you are in the world of Deaf Center."

NEWS - 21/03/2004
Neon city made "album of the week" at boomkat! included a very nice review. The EP is also available for purchase through them.
Neon city (TYEP001) is now released. purchase is available through the type site.
NEWS - 27/01/2004
De-bug magazine made a review of neon city ep already, . view review (in german)


artist: deaf center track:
dial album: neon city ep

Beircheart Nollaig Seamus MacÉoin O'Murchu
6 years ago
It has emotion, and I love it =)
6 years ago
Chills up my back.



Deaf Center - Limn

6 years ago
6 years ago
hits home
Lukas Smulskis
6 years ago
its like in space 
6 years ago
this is the voice of the sorrow. This is the voice of my life.
7 years ago
Amazing song.... So peacefull, so depressing, so beautifull....
7 years ago
Beautiful beautiful beautiful art from the soul.
8 years ago
very huge music!!!
Monika Peterson
8 years ago





Deaf Center - White Lake Pale Ravine • Type • UK • 2006

3 years ago
One of the best songs I've ever heard!
4 years ago
It smells like winter is knocking my door 
4 years ago
!!! gorgeous beyond words...
5 years ago
this is brilliant


Circa 2007

july 20th

- Deaf center will play a livegig at manchester sacred trinity church, september 20th. Greg Haines (UK) and Skallander (NZ) will also be playing. Deaf center is joined by Kristin Evensen Giæver on vocals for the performance.

- A Deaf center 7" with new material will appear in the Type records 7inch series later this year.

- For the ones who dident already check it out.. Otto´s sideproject Nest, together with welshman Huw Roberts, recently crafted their debut EP named simply "nest". It´s available for free download at Huw´s Serein mp3 labe

- Erik as solo project Svarte Greiner will play several festivals later on this year.
Be sure to keep updated at his myspace site (updated regulary)

Des. 1st.

- They recorded our liveset at this years LAB30 festival in Augsberg / Germany, and it has now been remastered for a proper mp3 release. The EP is called "levende" and is available as MP3 only at

- There is also a new TYPE label profile there, including a top 9 records list by Erik.

- Deaf center remixes fonada for a track at the new Haumusik cd/book, vinyl/book compilation "You Can't Always Listen To Hausmusik " . Listen at our myspace site

- All DC releases now available as MP3 , Neon City MP3 , Pale Ravine MP3

Sept. 23rd

A new sub-site for Svarte Greiner with news about upcoming releases is now set up!

Sept. 12th

2 new gigs set up. First out is Brüssels and the Planetarium van de koninklijke sterrenwacht (Playing a Type records showcase with our friend Helios!) the 30th of september.
Secondly we will play at Lab30 festival in Ausberg / Germany on saturday 4th of november.
Both gigs will include Kristin Evensen Giæver on vocals, and atmospherical visuals on bigscreen!

Sept. 12th

Go to for a teaser site of the upcoming Svarte Greiner releases on Type records!
( coming soon to a village near you )


july 27th

Deaf Center will play a small amount of livegigs across europe this late summer / fall acompanied by vocalist Kristin Evensen Giæver. (also appearing on the forthcoming svarte greiner album)

First off is Interferenze festival, outside naples Italy, at 4th of august. Other artists playing : Biosphere, Tape, Vladislav delay, Deadbeat and more.The following week (friday 11th of august) sees a performance in the filmtent at øya festivalen(Oslo/Norway). More gigs later in the fall tba.




Artist Biography by John D. Buchanan

The shadowy project Deaf Center, comprising Norwegian multi-instrumentalists Erik K. Skodvin (aka Svarte Greiner) and Otto A. Totland, operated at the axis of ambient electronica, contemporary classical, and drone music. Old schoolfriends who each had a long history of music-making, they finally decided to collaborate while holidaying together in a log cabin. Their early releases were based around numerous field recordings, which they incorporated into lush cinematic soundscapes created primarily with organic instrumentation, layered across a gentle tapestry of occasional, subtle electronic rhythms and effects. Their debut EP Neon City, released in 2004, was the very first CD release on the then-nascent Type imprint run by John Twells (aka Xela) and Stefan Lewandowski. The label, which would go on to become a major force in experimental music, released their album Pale Ravine the following year. These two releases were widely acclaimed, and the duo were hailed as part of the then-fashionable, so-called "post-classical" field, essentially composed of classically trained musicians who combined traditional compositional techniques with electronica and single-track,"pop song"-like works rather than longer, multiple-movement pieces.


During the next few years, Skodvin went on to found the equally prestigious Miasmah label, which specialized in dark ambient and drone music, and released several albums of "acoustic doom", both as Svarte Greiner and under his own name, through various labels including Type and the cult Digitalis imprint; and Totland recorded an album, Retold, as half of Nest, his duo with Huw Roberts. While Skodvin's solo work had a crepuscular and unsettling tone, the Nest material had more in common with the smooth, cinematic lushness of the Deaf Center releases.


The duo finally reunited a full six years later to record their second album. In the intervening years, the Type roster had evolved away from electronica toward drone, dark ambient, and noise acts, and concomitantly, Deaf Center's music also changed. The sophomore album, 2011's Owl Splinters, was a subtler and sparser affair which had more in common with Skodvin's solo material. Recorded at pianist Nils Frahm's Durton studio in Berlin, it forwent the electronic elements of previous releases for an altogether darker and more sinister tone, with haunting piano melodies buried in a morass of rumbling bass notes and cello-string drones.



Owl Splinter REVIEWS


Ambience, Doom and Other Strong Medicine


Re: Scandinavian ambient music, and in the better-late-than-never department, I will excuse myself for a delayed reaction to Deaf Center’s “Owl Splinters,” an album put out by the British label Type five months ago, and much darker and more serious than Ohayo. I’ve put it on many times, but this is a record that takes a while for the memory to map, so smoky are its landmarks. There are very few notes played in these eight atmospheric tracks, but they’re almost supernatural. Deaf Center is Erik Skodvin on cello and Otto Totland on piano, and a great deal of careful manipulation of dynamics and aural space; the album’s slow-moving, ominous and refracted atmospheres could serve as soundtrack cues for a subtle horror movie.


Deaf Center Owl Splinters


By Matthew Horne

In 2005, the duo of Erik K. Skodvin and Otto Totland released Pale Ravine, their first full-length LP under the moniker Deaf Center. Of its ilk, the album was a critical and commercial success, providing the then nascent Type label with one of its first major successes. Much has occurred between Pale Ravine’s release and now — several Skodvin solo releases as Svarte Greiner, the first CD release from Erik’s Miasmah label, an Otto Totland LP with Nest — but Deaf Center were conspicuously silent throughout.

So of course, when news dropped of a new Deaf Center release for 2011, it was met with great excitement. But with a six-year lapse between releases, how would Owl Splinters fair with the current climate of ambient music?

Unsurprisingly, Owl Splinters maintains the basic instrumentation of Pale Ravine: Skodvin on cello, Totland on piano, each contributing a healthy dose of drones and assorted noises. These fundamentals interact in the ambient-cum-classical structure that the duo helped to popularize on Pale Ravine, subsequently spawning countless dunces juxtaposing a sleepy synth against a pedestrian, impressionistic violin. On Pale, this often took the form of lush, neo-romantic string accompaniment to a piano lead, which by most accounts seemed to resemble a ‘chilling’ David Lynch score. While a dark theme was apparent, the acoustic instrumentation largely betrayed the murky subtleties of their evocative drones and delicate field recordings.

Owl Splinters is more cohesive in this regard. Although the same, teetering-on-trite, fin-de-siècle piano lines are ever present, Skodvin’s cello is employed in a far more affecting and harrowing manner. Instead of inappropriately recalling strings two centuries prior, Skodvin takes his cues from composers much more contemporary. By placing greater emphasis on the timbres of his cello, Skodvin dourly resonates akin to the destructive viola of HoraÅ£iu Rădulescu’s Das Andere and in a fashion more befitting Erik’s surroundings

Unlike Pale Ravine, Owl Splinters features both Skodvin and Totland in solo settings. These instances of combined effort benefit from Deaf Center’s first in-studio production, eschewing the lower fidelity of Pale Ravine’s design. On “New Beginning (Tidal Darkness),” thundering basses bow against the upper registers with enough vivre to aptly capture the cinematic scope that these musicians clearly desire. Owl Splinters’ centerpiece “The Day I Would Never Have” slowly swells into a visceral, clear squalor, only to fizzle into airy drips and Totland’s strongest piano contributions. Skodvin and Totland appear to take notice of how moving “The Day I Would Never Have’s” formula is and distastefully apply it again to “Close Forever Watching,” except this time with far less intricacies.

These aforementioned virtuoso moments, in addition to the excellent “Animal Sacrifices,” are likely to titillate Deaf Center devotees and convert more than a few nonbelievers. However, the dull interludes and derivative sound of “Close Forever Watching” prevent Owl Splinters from achieving the promise intimated by its standouts. It’s a noticeable improvement over Pale Ravine, but perhaps not what one might expect after six years of hibernation.


An aside: My girlfriend and I debated the pros and cons of the new album while unpacking a new luxury round dog bed for our golden retriever she had just purchased who prefers to sleep on our bed rather than his own bed. My girlfriend had had it and for the fifth, sixth, twelth (I forget how many beds we have bought) time here we were again introducing Madame X to her new bed. Actually this round dog bed looked more like a large livingroom circular pillow rather than a dog bed. We left the room and peeked around the corner to see what Madame X was going to do. A few sniffs, a prod with the nose and then she gingerly stepped onto the bed and settled down. It was a winner. Meanwhile our discussion ofDeaf Center’s “Owl Splinters,” an album, was put on hold as we celebrated, what turned out to be, the perfect dog bed for our rather concieted dog.


AllMusic : Owl Splinters

Review by Ned Raggett

Beginning with the dark feedback tones and squalls on "Divided," matched later in the song with what sounds like wordless male calls and chants from somewhere in a deep cave, Owl Splinters would seem on first blush to be an album in that entire vein -- no sin, since there are enough performers in the world who work within a focused vein throughout a release. But when Deaf Center start the next song, "Time Spent," with a gentle, reverb-heavy piano part instead, it's a good demonstration that it's not going to be entirely monochromatic, though Owl Splinters is definitely of a conceptual piece in the end. Texture is ultimately the dominant force on the album, no matter the volume or source, and hearing how the possibilities are explored song for song within the context of contemplation and hunkering down against a kind of impending threat can be very rewarding. The lengthy "The Day I Would Never Have" shows this to the full, with another calm piano part gently blending into another guitar overlay like "Divided," only here the sense of progression makes the song feel all the more strong. In turn, this makes the return to a new piano part on its own at the end all the more striking, a sense of beautiful calm after rampant chaos. The mesmerizing string parts on "New Beginning (Tidal Darkness)," sliding under even slower piano parts like a dark, evil undertow before acting as a further counterpoint to the sprightlier -- just -- parts later in the song, and the backwards-running swells of "Close Forever Watching," building up to a sudden dramatic piano note before gently arcing in again further, also demonstrate how well Deaf Center manage the range of possible approaches.