Boomkat Product Review:
Sonic Pieces saddle up a necessary reissue of the two-part Americana trip by Erik A Skodvin (Deaf Center/Svarte Greiner) first issued during the early 2010’s. Strung out in webs of keys, strings, clarinet and dust crusted drums, the collected album’s tone and feel patently recalls a rich field of Americana references as much as the bleak and inhospitable wilds of Skodvin’s native Norway, while also resonating with the noirish appeal of Berlin at night, where the album was recorded after Skodvin made the move at start of the decade. Combined they make for a captivating set of nocturnes warmly recommended to fans of Loren Connors, Jozef Van Wissem, Matt Christensen Swans or Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai’s soundtrack to ‘The Revenant’.
Lassoing the first fruits of Erik K Skodvin’s labour under his own name following a decade casting shadows as Deaf Center, 2010’s ‘Flare’ and 2014’s ‘Flame’ explore a crepuscular wanderlust in the meticulously shaded and creeping way that has seen Skodvin become one of dark ambient's prized operators.
Recorded in 2010, ‘Flare’ was the first record presented under Skodvin’s birth name and found him making subtle adjustments to his dark ambient sound, swapping out rarified chamber air for a sort of arcane America gothic style parallel to the likes of Earth or Jonny Greenwood’s score for ‘There Will Be Blood’. Think “Limping cats. Dry trees. Sinking street holes. Park bridge. Diving. washing dark hair. Empty bathrooms. Scattered dusk plants.”
The subsequent 2013-2014 recordings on ‘Flame’ sound like he’s reached a one-horse frontier town after the arcing trek of ‘Flare’. Whiskey-soaked dark jazz tones redolent of Bohren und der Club of Gore open a side of raw, saddle-sore grumbles and gripes that take in last-orders piano phrasing in ‘Reflecting’, and reverberant drums a la early Raime in ‘Red Box Curves’, along with Jandek-esque discord on ‘Corrin Den’ while the final side’s highlight ‘Cypress Reverb’ is up there with Swans or Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai’s soundtrack to ‘The Revenant’.