Deaf Center

Owl Splinters

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Beginning with the dark feedback tones and squalls on "Divided," matched later in the song with what sounds like wordless male calls and chants from somewhere in a deep cave, Owl Splinters would seem on first blush to be an album in that entire vein -- no sin, since there are enough performers in the world who work within a focused vein throughout a release. But when Deaf Center start the next song, "Time Spent," with a gentle, reverb-heavy piano part instead, it's a good demonstration that it's not going to be entirely monochromatic, though Owl Splinters is definitely of a conceptual piece in the end. Texture is ultimately the dominant force on the album, no matter the volume or source, and hearing how the possibilities are explored song for song within the context of contemplation and hunkering down against a kind of impending threat can be very rewarding. The lengthy "The Day I Would Never Have" shows this to the full, with another calm piano part gently blending into another guitar overlay like "Divided," only here the sense of progression makes the song feel all the more strong. In turn, this makes the return to a new piano part on its own at the end all the more striking, a sense of beautiful calm after rampant chaos. The mesmerizing string parts on "New Beginning (Tidal Darkness)," sliding under even slower piano parts like a dark, evil undertow before acting as a further counterpoint to the sprightlier -- just -- parts later in the song, and the backwards-running swells of "Close Forever Watching," building up to a sudden dramatic piano note before gently arcing in again further, also demonstrate how well Deaf Center manage the range of possible approaches.

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