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erik k skodvin - flare (cd)


ARTIST // erik k skodvin
LABEL // sonic pieces (de)
CAT // sonicpieces009cd


From The Archives: Erik K. Skodvin is known under many other monikers: one half of Deaf Center, the Svarte Greiner alter ego, and head of Miasmah Records. But to my ears "Flare," issued in 2010 by Sonic Pieces under his own name, stands as his best work to date and ideal for the dead of winter many find themselves in at this moment. Unlike his other projects, much of the material is left unprocessed on "Flare," nakedly illuminating the creaks and groans of a dusty piano and old cello. The minimalism of Skodvin's approach manages to hit on a deeply emotional level, as the darkness of the proceedings are often wrapped in a warm, hushed tone that lends itself to a jaw dropping moments. In particular, the silence that elegantly encroaches on a plucked acoustic guitar during "Failing Eyes" and "Neither Dust" which betters much of the score material that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have recorded over the past several years. House in Sonic Pieces' typically outstanding handmade, book-style packaging it's astonishing that a few of its 450 copies remain. Ryan Potts, Experimedia
2nd edition of 450. 'Flare' might be the debut album under his own name, but it is far from Erik K Skodvin's first musical endeavour. As a member of Deaf Center (along with Otto Totland) he built up a swift following of fans devoted to his precise attention to detail and knack for creating the most unassumingly beautiful tracks of gloomy soundscapes. This clearly wasn't enough though, as Skodvin dragged his sound into darker pastures, tying to it the Svarte Greiner moniker and allowing his collection of haunted sounds to cough, splutter and groan mercilessly. 'Flare' marks a new beginning for Skodvin, and the electronic processes that have come to define his sound are now all but gone. Untreated acoustic sounds and the blankly terrifying sounds of bare rooms form the backbone of this new approach, and while 'Flare' still bears all the fingerprints of Skodvin's patented technique, it also sounds fresh and different. At times, as the album slowly reveals itself, one could be forgiven for thinking they had discovered a chewed up cassette of Finnish forest folk- dark and grainy but also live, as if a dark ritual had been captured somewhere remote in the morning fog. Through his selection of instruments, which includes piano, guitar, violin and occasionally voice, Skodvin runs through the recordings with a ghost-like touch. There is the sense that these vignettes already existed, Skodvin merely dusted them off and lit the blue touchpaper.

'Flare' might not have the noise, grit and dense distortion of its predecessors, but what it lacks in bone shaking volume, it makes up for in subtlety and sheer mood. Through careful use of instruments and Skodvin's unmistakable ear for silence, he has created a record as tense and unforgiving as anything in his catalogue. It just sounds a little different, and that is never a bad thing. Listen with caution.