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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Svarte Greiner

By John Kuhlman
Published April 27, 2007


Norwegian sound sculptor Erik Skodvin (1/2 of ambient duo Dead Center) makes his solo debut with this ominous disc. Each piece on this meticulously constructed album of instrumental nightscapes is framed by techniques borrowed from dark ambient/post-rock atmospherics. Ominous organ swells, disembodied wordless female vocals, ragged guitar chords suspended in empty space, melancholy cello bowing, and loops of vinyl static serve as boundaries for the harsher, more untempered noises that are at Knive’s heart. Dark, detailed field recordings, such as footsteps moving through thick brush with tree branches crackling overhead, or the carefully placed crow calls that reappear throughout the album, give a tactile immediacy to the tracks, making the whole thing seem chaotic and hallucinatory. But other sounds here—distant static, long scrapes and deep wooden creakings that might come from some kind of music instrument—remain persistently outside of understanding, giving the album the disorienting weight of a nightmare.