I remember seeing Deaf Center at the Triple Door during Decibel Festival’s Ambient Showcase two years ago. I sat there with my friend Scott and a couple of new friends (other performers at that year’s festival), all of us having our minds splattered on the hard table top in from of us and our hearts liquified in some oozing molten melancholy. I’ve never felt closer to a male group therapy session; beating drums and yelling amidst campfire flung light. It was clearly a shared visceral, emotional evening.
In the time since then, Deaf Center has gone on somewhat of a sabbatical . Svarte Greiner and Otto Totland having moved on to other projects without officially announcing time of death on Deaf Center. Totland has not produced at the frequency of Greiner, but made an absolutely smashing breakthrough with Nest (see my review for The Silent Ballet). Greiner has continued to pour out his scratchy, steel wool mind on scattered, ever-darkening and more haunting releases. His latest is Penpals Forever (And Ever). His music really has progressed to a point where I feel I’m listening to the soundtracking of a truly schizophrenic and deranged mind, from within, not cinematically. It’s an important distinction. I won’t waste my breath attempting, at this late hour, to describe the individual peaces, as they seem only movements within a whole that is not dissectable. To communicate how it feels as if actually inside a truly sick (genius?) mind, is to say that there are many noises that make me check if my own environment is making them or if they are part of the music. Intermittent drum beats that made me inspect my turntable to see if it was clicking or knocking its motor (it certainly was not). Low bass rumbles that tricked me into thinking a plane overhead my house was unusually low on its approach to Sea-Tac Airport. This truly is disturbing music; most disturbing for its addictive quality.