Deaf Center
Pale Ravine


3.5
great

Review

by Kyle Ward EMERITUS
November 3rd, 2009 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A successfully atmospheric album which tends to stumble on its own premise.

When I listen to Pale Ravine, it is a constant reminder that music need not be overly technical or complicated to covey the message it was intended to deliver. It's hard to put exactly how Norwegian electronic/experimental duo Deaf Center's music sounds like into words which don't sound like they are unnecessarily cheesy or overdrawn, but it is easy to realize that the music they create is both relaxing, imaginative, and startlingly effective at delivering on the numerous influences which helped create it. Pale Ravine is the debut full-length LP by Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland, the two gentlemen who make up the band, and it is an album which brings together the likes of neoclassical music and pure electronica to create an album which is undoubtedly enjoyable, easily accessible, and downright entrancing.

The passages of repeating piano pieces lay a fairly strong base for the rest of the music to adhere to, and on top of these brilliantly calming compositions lies a heavy dose of real-world samplings which range from broken machinery to old, beat up vinyls spinning on a dated record player. All these small touches add up to a bigger picture which really makes sense in a way which only such abstract pieces of music can. A heavy layer of computer-aided ambiance tips the scale in a more electronic direction, giving a refreshing new dimension to the sound of Pale Ravine that helps keep things on track and the atmosphere thick throughout the running time. While the album suffers from being a bit too lengthy for its own good, most of the elements presented melt together into a drowning amalgam of slow, depressive pieces which hint at influences of dark ambient and even a pinch of psychedelic to keep the music flowing at a rate which avoids large moments of stagnant progression. However, this doesn't entirely keep out some smaller hints at repetitiveness when the listener really hopes to find a new piano hook or majestic turn in the song, but is instead greeted with the same old notes which have held the song together for the previous three minutes.

There is more to the music than you would gather upon first listen, making Pale Ravine an album which demands your attention and really requires a keen ear to thoughtfully critique. The subtle nuances of the album, such as the tasteful addition of strings and the tendency of the ambient background noise to be produced with a heavier low-end at certain times really drives home the fact that when composing the album, Skodvin and Totland payed attention to detail. The influences of modern and classical theater become more and more vibrant, making a lot of the odd samplings make more sense than before, turning what at first appeared to be random noise into a cohesive unit. This won't change the fact that the album drags during numerous songs, but it shows that Pale Ravine has loads of potential which, unfortunately, fails to break through.

When you objectively look at the album as a whole, not just a single part, the entire thing makes more sense than if you are to analyze it song by song, which makes me wonder why this album wasn't released as a one-track LP. The songs flow seamlessly into the next, and the atmosphere which is both depressing and warm at the same time is shocking in its effectiveness. Pale Ravine is an entirely successful electronic/neoclassical album which delivers an almost hypnotic array of tracks that serve as a wholly effective piece of music, but one which really needs to be played when you are in the correct state of mind. Not perfect at all, but at times it almost seems like that is what Deaf Center was aiming for, because perfection, sometimes, isn't the most effective way of conveying a message.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 3rd 2009


8574 Comments


great review although this doesn't relly seem too interesting to me. Oh well, at least have my vote.

EDIT: also, weird deja-vu moment, it's like i have already read a review about this album that's exactly the same but on this site. You aren't reposting this aren't you?

Crysis
Emeritus
November 3rd 2009


17364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks dude, this album doesn't really seem like it would have a large target audience in the first place.



It was recommended to me by Jrowa like a year and a half ago, I've listened to it many times since then. At first it didn't seem like my kind of thing but over time it became a good album to put on and relax to.



it's like i have already read a review about this album that's exactly the same but on this site. You aren't reposting this aren't you?


Nope, just wrote this last night.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 3rd 2009


8574 Comments


whoa, i guess I'm just slowly losing it haha

Willie
Moderator
November 3rd 2009


17621 Comments


Yeah, really good review... except this does sound interesting to me.

Crysis
Emeritus
November 3rd 2009


17364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Funny you say that Willie because you said the Lustmord album I reviewed a few days ago didn't interest you..... this is certainly different than that album but this has a lot of ambient elements to it.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 3rd 2009


8574 Comments


also, pointing out that your big 100 is coming up. You got any special plans for it?

Willie
Moderator
November 3rd 2009


17621 Comments


Funny you say that Willie because you said the Lustmord album I reviewed a few days ago didn't interest you.....
keywords in that review that aren't in this one: minimalistic, noise, drone

Crysis
Emeritus
November 3rd 2009


17364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

also, pointing out that your big 100 is coming up. You got any special plans for it?


I plan to do something, not really sure what yet. I have to decide which album gets the honors for number 100.



keywords in that review that aren't in this one: minimalistic, noise, drone


hahaha I see. Not a Sunn O))) fan are you?

Willie
Moderator
November 3rd 2009


17621 Comments


Nope.

feav233
November 3rd 2009


1411 Comments


good review, plan on checkin this out pretty soon

BallsToTheWall
November 3rd 2009


49235 Comments


Solid review, will pursue.

Digging: The Loveless - Star Rover

Wizard
November 5th 2009


20207 Comments


Reading this review, I'm under the impression that this sounds like Perdition City. Yes or Auschwitz?

Great review buddy ol' pal.

hahaha I see. Not a Sunn O))) fan are you?

Horrendously overhyped drone. Terrible band as well, I don't consider hitting one fucking note to be drone.

iranscam
November 5th 2009


469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sunn O))) rocks fgt



also this sounds nothing like Perdition City but people should check this out anyway

Wizard
November 5th 2009


20207 Comments


sunn O))) rocks fgt

If you're into fat faggot dry humping the shit out of buffet ; ). Seriously, I just don't get them.

also this sounds nothing like Perdition City but people should check this out anyway

Alrighty, this sounds up my alley. Thanks dude.

iranscam
November 5th 2009


469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if ya dig dark ambient or ambient in general then you will like this so yeah

Wizard
November 5th 2009


20207 Comments


Ambient is always good, no matter how you spin it.

Relinquished
November 5th 2009


38848 Comments


Sunn O))) is pretty cool. Of course not everything they made is good. I'm gonna check this out soon.

Wizard
November 5th 2009


20207 Comments


Their last album was a tedious exercise in taking a really slow, painful dump.

Relinquished
November 5th 2009


38848 Comments


That one was, yeah.

Wizard
November 5th 2009


20207 Comments


I also bought Black One on a whim the other night. I've heard that's their best and I hope these homos are right.



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