El fantástico compositor de origen noruego Erik Wollo nos presenta su nuevo disco, en esta ocasión publicado en el sello Projekt, un sello que es reconocido por muchos amantes de estos estilos musicales por la publicación de gran parte de la discografía de otro icono, Steve Roach.
Precisamente, el nombre de Steve Roach puede venir a la cabeza de muchos al escuchar este disco, y es que a raíz de la publicación en el pasado año 2009 de Stream of Thought, una colaboración entre Erik Wollo y Steve Roach, parece que el compositor noruego ha tomado buena nota de esa colaboración para la creación de su décimo cuarto trabajo en solitario.
Gateway, que así se titula este disco, supone un punto de inflexión en la carrera del compositor, se trata de un disco donde de muestra su habitual sabiduría compositiva con melodías líricas y rítmicas, muy bien estructuradas, pero que además aporta esos paisajes musicales que ha aprendido del señor Roach, esos paisajes profundos, que han producido un simbiosis perfecta con la música de Erik Wollo.
En Gateway nos encontramos con doce temas que desde el primer segundo nos va sumergiendo en ese mundo al que nos quiere transportar el compositor, a esa puerta que nos quiere hacer traspasar hacía un destino desconocido, pero que él ha traspasado con su música, creando un disco fantástico que hay que disfrutar desde el principio hasta el final.
Eirk Wollo ha traspasado una puerta en su música, se ha sumergido en las profundidades de los paisajes musicales más recónditos aportando todavía más a su música, ya de por si enriquecida con toda su sabiduría compositiva y creativa. Estamos ante una puerta hacia otra dimensión musical en su carrera, pero una puerta, que nos permite seguir descubriendo nuevas facetas compositivas de uno de los grandes compositores de nuestra época.
On Gateway , Erik Wøllo presents the kind of travelog predicted by Joe Meek with I Hear a New World, a soundtrack of a visit to an alien world. The roots of the release are more readily placed in late-'70s space rock and '80s new age. An elegant blend of dreamy synth loops, deep bass tones, and soft electric guitar parts. There's no question that Gateway is both well-performed and arranged; it's a lovely sounding effort throughout, with standout tracks including the title song, a quiet shuffling beat anchoring a peaceful piano melody and other elements suggesting a ship gently arcing through alien skies, and "The Traveler," with its mid-song break of sudden synth swells feeling like a sudden sunrise over the arc of a planet. "Land of Myths" starts out with a cosmic tour Cosmos sense, then more steady synth plucks and rolls show up on "First Arrival," sounding like a first meeting with aliens -- definitely the end of '70s-zone space rock via a new age filter when the steady ominous/beautiful late-night Miami Vice synths come in. The concluding track, "Thule," revolves around both a slightly more upfront rhythm and a slow, flowing, treated guitar loop that ends the album on a high note -- it's at once of a piece with the rest of the album, while also giving a sense that things will continue in a chilled, wondrous way. In all, though, the sheer pleasantness of Gateway , its attractive mysteriousness and gentle, contemplative feeling, is of a piece with many other albums over the years, making it neither more nor less than exactly what it aims to be. - by Ned Raggett
Erik Wøllo possesses a special talent to develop fresh, original musical ideas while at the same time achieving an attractive result for a wide audience. In this album, once again the artist proves this fact. Among the twelve themes included on the CD, we find some which are more rhythmic while others are more relaxed, yet the melodies and the good arrangements are always present.
With his personal style, which includes elements of Contemporary Instrumental Music, Ambient, Space, Synth-Pop, World Music and even Classical Music, the artist succeeds in making us an imaginary adventure live in Gateway. We journey through mythical lands, we experience the fascination and the fear awakened by the unknown, and we even taste exotic folklores shaped by the brilliant imagination of the composer.
In conclusion, this is a very commendable work with a great artistic power. - Virginia Tamayo
Rating : 8. Il mondo sonoro e artistico di Erik Wøllo, 49enne compositore norvegese, non conosce confini fisici, e la 'porta' a cui fa riferimento il titolo, magistralmente raffigurata da Michal Karcz nell'artwork che adorna il pregevole digipak, è solo il passaggio verso una nuova tappa di un viaggio che conduce l'ascoltatore attraverso lande immaginifiche che riempiono mente, cuore ed anima. Giunto al suo quattordicesimo capitolo solista, l'artista scandinavo (attivo musicalmente sin dal 1980) si è armato di chitarre elettriche, guitar synth, tastiere, applicazioni VST da lui stesso create, percussioni e programming per generare i 70 minuti della nuova opera, realizzata fra il 2007 ed il 2009. Stimato chitarrista ed al lavoro come compositore anche per colonne sonore, partiture classiche, musiche per il teatro, il balletto e quant'altro, Erik modella come compete ai migliori artisti suoni sognanti, avvolgenti, eterei, capaci di trasmettere quel senso di sopraffazione generato dalla scoperta di luoghi che non si pensava potessero esistere, ma che si possono raggiungere semplicemente chiudendo gli occhi, sgombrando la mente e premendo 'play'. È un viaggio sotto forma di evocativa sinfonia che scorre placido, dove il mistero non prelude mai al pericolo: strutture sonore che sono piccole magie nella loro linearità, accompagnate da ritmi sofficemente avvolgenti, con la chitarra che di quando in quando cesella passaggi dagli echi pinkfloydiani ("First Arrival" e la sontuosa title-track). Un suono che traduce in note il concetto di viaggio, tra momenti di squisita sospensione eterea ("A Sublime Place", "Blue Universe", la quasi sacrale "There Will Be Snow", le soffuse "Full Circle" e "Wetlands"), passando per una più liquida e misteriosa "The Mental Trail" fino alle maestose fiammate di "The Traveler". Sebbene la new age e l'ambient siano dietro l'angolo, non fermatevi alle etichette ed intraprendete con Erik questo magnifico viaggio tra maestosi scenari di inaudita bellezza, oltre i confini del mondo conosciuto. - Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi
Chitarrista norvegese, Erik Wollo ha già una apprezzatissima carriera alle spalle iniziata pressappoco alla metà degli anni ottanta quando esordì con “Where it all begins” che lo presentava come un abile solista con svariate influenze: i suoi primi dischi (che personalmente reputo siano probabilmente i suoi capolavori) lo introducono come artista di rango con formazione musicale ampia e con sonorità molto vicine a quelle dei musicisti jazz/fusion norvegesi (T. Rypdal, J. Abercrombie, ecc. per intederci); tuttavia Wollo aveva fin da allora una peculiarità, una predisposizione naturale alla musica elettronica e in generale alle sue evoluzioni attraverso la spiritualità new-age o le “landscapes” ambientali. Difatti già in “Traces” , Wollo metteva sostanzialmente da parte l’anima jazz e rock per sviluppare quella ambient e new age.
Tutti i suoi dischi successivi diventarono dei veri progetti musicali intrisi però di quella profondità (anche paesaggistica) tipicamente nordica, spesso dedicandosi ad un lavoro di composizione dove la chitarra, il suo strumento principale, veniva boicottata a favore di una ricerca di spiritualità quasi subliminale e ottenibile da una personale manipolazione di effetti elettronici. (con spunti nella "space ambient" music e nella "world"). E’ qui forse che ci si può dividere sul personaggio e sul suo apprezzamento, poiché non sempre questi lavori risultano particolarmente innovativi ed appassionati quando è assente o poco presente la chitarra, che alla fine risalta come il suo carattere distintivo.
Gateway, ultimo lavoro dopo un decennio passato di produzioni a corrente alternata, fa parte di quella categoria di albums di ambient al "confine" (come molti lavori di Steve Roach), con una visione profonda, ben costruita, ma purtroppo, in questo caso, emotivamente nella media statistica, forse alla ricerca di un zenith spirituale un pò troppo accademico e “nebuloso” come i soggetti che si vogliono descrivere. Tuttavia sulla modernità e la sensibilità dell’artista c’è poco da discutere: lo dimostrano le numerose commesse ricevute per video installazioni e films, nonchè le composizioni scritte per il teatro multimediale.
Erik Wøllo: a curious hard working manThis blog has a short interview with Eric. Here is an excerpt:
Q: What does beauty mean to you?
A: Beauty is in art, nature and in human life. Different ways to look at beauty, but I think the beauty is not always concrete or on the surface, but underneath the surface. Beauty is the positive uplifting force that gives inspiration to create.
The only solo album that I listened from Erik Wøllo was Elevation
, in 2007. Since then I discovered a little more the musical universe of this artist with Bernhard Wöstheinrich (Arcadia Borealis) and Deborah Martin (Between Worlds). Two very beautiful albums realized in 2009 that show how this brilliant Norwegian guitarist is at ease with approaches and musical structures as audacious as slowly eurhythmics. I quite enjoyed Elevation
. For me, it was an album which opened doors towards new musical horizons where the magnetism of Wøllo enchanted with his art to merge magnificent melodies to sound landscapes. And Gateway
is another beautiful collection of these titles that charms and makes travelling, without leaving our body.
A musical journey where rhythms and structures differ from a title to another according to Erik Wøllo imagination and passion for aboriginal tendencies which liven up his creativity. Hazy rhythms where guitars strata bite ancestral specters with an introspective and dreamy approach such as on Land of Myths and The Traveller to rhythms with more nervous sequences as on the wonderful First Arrival, The Crossing, Gateway and the huge Thule, this 16th opus of the Norwegian multi-instrumentalist is drawn straight from whims and visions that has Erik Wøllo of a hybrid world where the harmony reigns above disorder. To alternate the rhythm in ambient sequences has no secrets anymore to him. Tracks such as A Sublime place, Blue Universe, the superb and hallucinating The Mental Trail where strange mesmerizing pulsations draw a hypnotic rhythmic arc, Full house Circle and the dramatic Wetlands are pure jewels of cinematographic ambiances. Sound landscapes which disentangle according to our fantasies with spectacular guitars and synths strata that transport us at bird’s eyes to seize all of Wøllo’s imagination.
If these ambient passages are of an incredible beauty (The Mental Trail and Wetlands), more cadenced tracks offer a structural variety which gives pure musical jewels. I think in particular of Land of the Myths with its guitars chords which drag in loops on a synth in the waves slightly fluty. These loops become more biting and entangle to superb strata of a gliding guitar, deviating Land of the Myths towards a spectral side, while leaving a place to the beauty of a morphic dream. First Arrival is simply brilliant with it where aboriginal percussions drawing a soft rhythm of submission wrapped with a guitar of which solos transcend the depth of emotions. Gateway is a skillful journey where the rhythm can be nervous, as on the title track that could be an Amerindian trance on a background of an exotic guitar and The Traveller with its hypnotic rhythm and strata from an incisive and morphic guitar. And what can we say about Thule with its heavy aboriginal trance which hypnosis and bewitch on discreet strata from a ghostly guitar and a biting synth of which sinuous waves draw a tragic world in perdition.
In brief, Gateway is a stunning musical box where the rhythm crosses and measures an ethereal and poignant depth on a wonderful mixture of guitar / synth and sequences / percussions. A beautiful album filled with jewels which melt in the ear (First Arrival, The Traveller and Thule) and of small diamonds that the listening will polish, such the wind sculpturing the magnificent rocks and crossing the strange plains which Wøllo shows us at ear’s flight. A wonderful album of a moving musicality, which is much more than simply EM. Sylvain Lupari
The short version of this review is: Go get this CD right now.
My only previous exposure to guitarist Erik Wøllo has been in collaboration with other artists—Steve Roach on "Stream of Thought" and Deborah Martin on "Between Worlds." And while I enjoyed how his textures lent an air of solidity there, to listen to him piloting his own excursion, with every thought, moment and nuance his own, creates a whole new level of appreciation—and brings a strong of "What have I been missing all these years?" In these dozen tracks, each one a complete journey unto itself, lush processed chords and mutated guitar sounds mix with straightforward New Age playing that sometimes edges its way toward a suggestion of rock. Beats course in and out of the mix—stronger in tracks like "The Traveler," with its potent TD-style mix of sequencer and high melodic line giving a tip of the nostalgia hat without coming off as forcibly retro, or the title track, which pulses merrily along as Wøllo weaves a melody through the electronic groove. Beatless tracks here have a soft beauty all their own, like "There Will Be Snow," which drifts quietly along but carries an amazing weight of emotion, and the meditation-perfect ambient piece, "Full Circle." Wøllo navigates these changes in tempo and mood smoothly to craft a singular experience. The flow of the disk is absolutely masterful, a proper manipulation of the listener's emotions and responses to the music. This is a disc I could quite literally listen to all day—and I tell you that from experience! Kudos must also be given for Michael Karcz's cover art. It a stunning, dramatic image, incredibly detailed, and the expanded version inside the gatefold is even more impactive. A superb bit of presentation that heightens the overall experience. (As a good cover should!) I'm sure it's clear to you that Gateway is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD—and I fully expect it to land on virtually every "Best Of" list in the genre this year.
A review from John Diliberto, Echoes Radio:
Gateway is another great CD of heroic electronic orchestrations and meticulous guitar melodies from Erik Wollo, a Norwegian architect of atmosphere His music is pristine, but sears the air with its intensity.
Veteran Norwegian Composer places 4th Echoes CD of the Month.
| Erik Wollo is an architect of ambience, a poet of electronic landscapes. Employing “cinematic” as an adjective for this music is a tiresome cliche, and it’s been applied to everything Wollo has recorded. Yet, on his latest CD, Gateway
, There’s no denying the way his sends you piloting down canyons, soaring between mountains and launching on trajectories somewhere toward the heavens. Put the title track of Gateway
on loud while driving, and your car won’t be the only thing on cruise control as Wollo’s music turns an everyday commute into a fantasy journey.
On songs like “Life in Technicolor,” groups like Coldplay try (with the help of Jon Hopkins) to attain the same kind of timeless, shifting mood that is Erik Wollo’s stock in trade. And like them, Erik Wollo brings a minimalist’s sense of austerity and design to expansive synthesizer orchestrations on the heroic strains of “The Traveler.” It’s that perfect Wollo mix of ping-ponging electronic rhythms and melodic pads that sweep in searchlight patterns.
With all the electronics, it’s almost easy to forget that Wollo is a gifted guitarist. Most of the music is generated from a guitar or guitar synthesizer. He can make his six strings sound like an electronic symphony and on the highly ambient tracks that conclude the album, like “The Mental Trail” and “Full Circle,” it sounds nothing like a guitar at all in their glacial motion and vast, horizon-like textures. But on pieces like “First Arrival” he can also pull out twanged liquid leads.
Erik Wollo manages to synthesize influences from Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd to Steve Reich and modern electronica. But as one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary instrumental music, he’s truly morphed these sounds into a image evoking modality that is wholly his own. Step through Erik Wollo’s Gateway and you’ll see his world revealed.
Gateway is the Echoes June CD of the Month. We’ll be featuring several tracks from it on Monday, June 7 and the following weekend.
Erik Wøllo has released his 14th studio effort with the arrival of Gateway, an album of 12 uniquely individual tracks that form a superbly memorable collection. The signature of Wøllo's satisfying craftwork is deply reminiscent of the haunting early period Tangerine Dream, with wonderful forays into the soundscapes that remind of the little-heard Michael Hoenig. But none of this is to say that the carefully constructed work of Erik Wøllo is dirivative. In fact, it's so refreshing to hear such grandly orchestrated music in the ambient framework that the first spin of Gateway should have fans of ambient compositions completely in thrall to Erik Wøllo.
The album begins with "Land of Myths," a track that explores the vacated, now desolate landscape once occupied by German composer, Michael Hoenig, with its dark but strangely peaceful night. Hoenig created an acoustical world that warmly invited you to immerse in its emotional atmosphere, and Erik Wøllo does the same with his gorgeous and immersive opener. Wøllo follows it up with the brilliantly played "First Arrival," obviously a developing soundtrack for the beauty of an entry into an alien world (or one visiting us for the first time. Earth is engagingly beautiful from outer space and even takes my breath away seeing approaching photos of it). The composition has electric guitar in it that elevates the track beyond that of an eerie ambient flow.
No ground is left untouched within these 12 tracks. There is plenty of aural beauty for you to slip into. If you found Tangerine Dream's soundtrack for Sorcerer to be deeply surrounding, then you'll also find "The Traveler" to take you in that direction. If a frosty world is your ideal, then the richly layered "There Will Be Snow" is your arctic roadmap. And if a threatening environment is what pulls you forward, then "Wetlands" unsettling beauty is the perfect coat for you to slip into. It closes with the beautiful "Thule."
No matter your preference, Erik Wøllo's new album, Gateway is the key to multiple dreamworlds. It also unveils an extraordinary talent, one that draws on the influence of the masters of the past, yet crafts music that is uniquely his own, music that will etch Erik Wøllo into your mind as one to be enshrined with those same masters.
When Erik Wollo is a Norwegian electronic musician and composer who created his ambient music from a combination of electronic keyboard instruments and electric guitar. His music is very melodic and laid floating, resulting in a very relaxed and relaxing atmosphere. With Gateway
Erik is switched to the New York label Projekt.com.
A dozen soundscapes with maturities 3:16 to 8:53 minutes in length, which arose in the period 2007-2009, has gathered Erik on his album. Those who know him or his music has already been able to experience live (for example, last year at the Electronic Circus in Bielefeld), who appreciate its beautiful moods. And that you get offered such pieces on the album Gateway to Hauff.
But the seven-minute "First Arrival" offers beautiful melody and harmonies in which one can bathe. This is in my view, music with a high goosebumps factor. The melody changes here between the synths and electric guitar, makes the special charm of the tracks - in addition to the great harmonies -. A first soft-developing "The Crossing" includes in itself. A rhythm is the basis on which Erik then arches weaves gorgeous harmony. A more tranquil, ambient interlude is the slightly more than three-minute "A Place dar. Sublime" is followed that with a decent rhythm provided, mystical title track, which reached only toward the end of the Wollo-style. Even the nearly four-minute "Blue Universe" is more a Stimmungserzeugendes, ambient interlude.
Of widespread and anthemic sounds then "The Traveler" and takes us into the depths of the remotest areas of this or of other worlds. Other pieces followed, these include the Spirit. "The Mental Trail is the" it but still have a unique rhythm that seems mystical and fascinating, like a bubbling geyser.
The CD comes in a six-page digipack, which boasts a beautiful cover design. Futuristic, imaginative and epic at the same time does the artwork, which is high for electronic publications. Unfortunately, not exactly proliferated in digipack with information, so that to find only the most necessary information.
Erik Wollo delivers on his latest work, Gateway, again the usual high quality standard that characterized his productions. So if the previous albums by Erik likes, which can safely access. Those who previously did not know his music, which can explore with this work his sound universe, it's worth it. Stephan Schelle, August 2010
One of the top Goth Rock and ambient / experimental recording labels in the U.S., Projekt released a 2010 CD from Norwegian guitarist Erik Wøllo entitled Gateway. Dark and dreamy New Age oriented electronics is Wøllo’s forte, and on Gateway he doesn’t disappoint. Like German electronic music masters Tangerine Dream, Wøllo paints stark sonic portraits, yet his Teutonic influences are etched by his more pastoral Scandinavian side. Wøllo blends his guitar sound quite deep in the mix with heavy electronic synth scapes dominating but overall, the moods conjured are done with stunning authority. With the entire twelve track CD composed, performed and produced by Wøllo, the instrumentation of choice blends in a stellar mix of electric guitars, guitar synthesizers, keyboards, Wollo VST instruments, percussion and programming. Striking cover art and packaging seals the deal on this modern e-music classic.
A review from New Age Retailer:
Norwegian keyboardist Erik Wøllo’s latest release, Gateway, comes clad in a digipack with a subtly foreboding yet eerily beautiful cover image. I’m reminded of the visuals for the computer games Riven and Myst, but these are darker and more sinister. The music contained within is a blend of light and dark, alien and familiar. Flowing ambient sounds are punctuated by moments of drama and rhythmic intensity, melding the ambient, electronica, ethnotribal, and progressive fusion genres. Song titles (“Land of Myths,” “First Arrival,” “The Crossing,” “The Mental Trail,” “Wetlands”) paint Gateway as a concept album of a trip through the titular archway pictured on the cover. - Bill Binkelman
For years, Erik Wøllo is known for his expert skills in building highly imaginary and emotional music, building a bridge between grand symphonic realms and gentle, serene atmospheres.
On "Gateway", his 14th solo release, Erik takes things to a new exciting level, offering a 70-minute grand breathing space of sparkling guitar work and expansive electronics which acts as a metaphor of multiple inner sonic landscapes.
Moreover, this fine-tuned collection of well shaped, sculptured and crafted compositions reveals a fine eye for detail, which sees Mr Wøllo display his lyrical music on a giant virtual canvas while it smoothly morphs through lighter and darker environments and shades.
In its core depths, one can occasionally hear shimmers inspired by the haunting Scandinavian landscapes making Erik's music a celebration expressed through both poignant and melodic leads as the more sedate, introspective musings.
The 12 carefully sequenced parts found on "Gateway" merge the best of both worlds as we look out over a vast but always harmonic and logical sonic scenery that seems to reveal new corners, heights and depths at very new spin of the album in the cd-player.
I classify "Gateway" as another key-recording for all lovers of evocative ambient and symphonic orchestrated sound painting. Chapeau, Erik!
This CD from 2010 features 70 minutes of icy ambience. Norwegian synthesist Wollo plays electric guitars, guitar synthesizers, keyboards, percussion and programming. One cannot discern here whether these atmospheric textures are generated by synthesizers or processed guitar--either way, they are suitably ethereal enough that the identity of the instrument of origin hardly matters. The electronics are vividly mild. The foundational tones exhibit expansive qualities, creating lavish soundscapes of vaporous distinction. Skillful layering of these textural produces vistas of delicate grandeur that shimmer with eternal elegance. Keyboards guide riffs of endearing charm into divine structures that command attention while retaining a gentle subtlety. Their sparkling expressions slither through the atmospheric mix with an enticing grace. When the guitar finally sounds like a guitar, the chords are crystalline and frigid, evocative and alluring. Percussives supply tastefully light rhythms that propel the tuneage without being to overt. On a few occasions the tempos muster more verve, yet still remain understated. While obviously ambient, these compositions also warrant note as lovely pieces of contemporary electronic music. Their airy qualities possess strongly melodic undercurrents, setting them apart from most ambient fare which tend to concentrate entirely on harmonic definitions. A few of the songs actually muster enough vitality that they cannot be classified as "ambient," despite their pacific characteristics. Matt Howarth
On Gateway (70'16") Erik Wøllo continues to explore his musical imagination. Through many years of experience he has gained knowledge and a refined technique - and still seems excited about creating the vivid pieces that inhabit this album. In just a few seconds of this music one is transported to another plane. Bypassing verbal thought, connecting directly with the mind, his fluid lead melodies speak, as if in a voice, directly to the listener. Although closely associated with electronic sound, Wøllo uses guitar as the primary instrument in which to convey his message. Usually played through assorted effects, his lead lines are poignant, ethereal and elegant. The synthetic harmonies and melodies that fill out this majestic work are arranged with the skill of a seasoned composer. Gateway's more active pieces develop along a wonderful arc of crisp rhythms and layers of bounding sequencer patterns - which act to vivify the progression of Wøllo's tuneful lead lines flying above. When loosening structural plans, Wøllo also realizes compositions more in an ambient mode. Gentle and bittersweet, these beautiful slow moving sections possibly contain even more emotional content than the soaring hymns and exuberant fantasies found elsewhere on this CD. From stark simplicity to prog-influenced anthems Wøllo's spirit comes out in the precision and detail of his work - as it touches the best part of us. - Chuck van Zyl