Otto A. Totland


Release Notes

Release: Exin
Date: June 14th, 2024
Mastered By: Zino Mikorey
Co-produced By: Nils Frahm


Look, I know that many of my opening words often begin with “Today, I am thrilled to share with you a new piece by [so and so]”, but how can I not use the exact same opening line when one of my all-time favourite piano composers reaches out to me to premiere a piece from his newly-announced long-awaited album? This Norwegian musician’s first proper solo studio release appeared on the beloved Sonic Pieces in 2014, which we only later learned to be part of a trilogy of albums. But that doesn’t mean that I spent only the last decade listening to Otto A. Totland – together with his school friend Erik K. Skodvin, the duo has been making beautiful music as Deaf Center, releasing Neon City EP in 2004 on Type. We now see him being backed by Nils Frahm, who not only shares the production credits on his upcoming new album but also releases Exin on his very own Berlin-based LEITER imprint, which he founded with his manager Felix Grimm only a few years ago. This also means that the album was recorded at Frahm’s studio at Funkhaus complex, offering the most beautiful-sounding piano in the hands of the most beautiful-sounding mind. The emotionally charged and sometimes melancholy sound is still present in Totland’s collection of sixteen solo piano pieces, but there is also an upbeat and vibrant tint on a few, including the first single, “Marka”, which follows a classical staccato harmony that I can envision being played on a harpsichord. Yet pieces like “Lys” take me back to that particular flavour of Totland’s sonic tenderness to pull on my heartstrings, allowing me to get lost in those barely audible reverberations of the keys. The piece I’m sharing with you today is called “Rift”, an introspective and sombre reflection in just a few pensive chords.

Rift is all about warm chords and spacious piano resonance. This piece was improvised, so my total attention was on the sound and resonance of the piano. It’s short and warm and works great as a small break from the more melodic pieces on the album.

— Otto A. Totland

Once again, the full album, titled Exin, is out on June 14th, 2024, via LEITER. You can pre-order a digital copy or a limited edition 12″ vinyl, cut by Andreas Kauffelt at Schnittstelle. I’m sure that this album will appear on many end-of-the-year lists, but for now, enjoy this track!