Erik Wollo: Threshold Point (CD)

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Tracks

ERIK WØLLO: THRESHOLD POINT

01: Behind the Clouds    
02: Traverse     
03: Arches  
04: Mosaic of Time I – Route Diverge
05: Mosaic of Time II – Threshold Point
06: Ravel Peak
07: Mosaic of Time III – Hidden Path     
08: Eon               
09: Mosaic of Time IV – Bridge Crossing            
Total time: 60:02

        

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Echoes Radio writes: “On Monday 4/30 we reach the Threshold Point on the next Echoes. That’s the title of Erik Wøllo’s new album, a gorgeous electronic expanse, much of it composed in the aftermath of a deep and tragic loss. Erik Wøllo’s Threshold Point is the May CD of the Month and we explore it on Echoes.”

Norwegian sound-artist Erik Wøllo’s 23rd album delivers a collection of carefully crafted compositions: introspective, yet melodic electronic music. It is pensive and reflective upon passing and transition; several sequencer-driven pieces contrast with surrounding dreamlike ambient soundscapes. Wøllo’s mood is contemplative and expressively intense, capturing an authentic moment in time. 
 

Threshold is defined as a magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.

 
Wøllo says, “For me, Threshold Point is a musical idea of an actual transformation: to cross a threshold, going from one form to another… into a change. Unfolding over time, gradually bridging and leading into new states or places. In my music, patterns and evolution are basic elements, always retaining an emotional connection with the melodies and the textures.”
 
These ideas are reflected in the beautiful cover image created by artist Rodrigo Adolfo: approaching new spaces that are symbolically represented by a bridge with gateways, leading into a shimmering distant light.
 
Wøllo offers a calm, otherworldly and self-contained sound on Threshold Point. This release possesses a quieter nature then his previous Different Spaces album; it’s somewhat more reserved and withdrawn.
 
“Some of these pieces were written in 2016 under special and tragic circumstances. I was staying in Brooklyn for some weeks while my sister grew more ill and died. I recorded in a tiny room at her neighbor’s apartment on Henry Street. I sense these circumstances influenced the music, making it more ethereal and humble than some of my other works. Where Different Spaces was a bit of a memorial to her, these pieces were composed earlier during the midst of the crisis.”
 
A reflection on changing states, passing a threshold, evolving into something new, this is a musical expression where the melody and the accompaniment merge to create an equilibrium of sound, as if watching something stopped in a camera frame.
 
“Andrei Tarkovsky once said film is a mosaic of time,” Wøllo reflects. “I found that to be a very inspiring metaphor for creating this album. Music also operates with this concept, developing a duration in the literal sense. It is the fixing of reality, the fixing and conservation of time.”
 
With Threshold Point, Erik Wøllo has conjured a remarkably visceral electronic album. It’s a dynamic collection of earthy, hypnotic, and pulsating soundtextures; the work of a passionate artist at the forefront of the electronic music genre.

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Reviews

  1. padmin

    From Darkroom

    Il compositore norvegese si conferma particolarmente prolifico nella sua produzione discografica, approdando al suo 23esimo album a soli 14 mesi dal mastodontico doppio full-length Different Spaces, dopo che nel febbraio scorso era uscito il lavoro a quattro mani con Ian Boddy Meridia. Se Different Spaces era dedicato alla memoria della sorella del musicista scandinavo, Threshold Point – confezionato in un essenziale digipack e limitato a 500 esemplari – è stato concepito durante l’aggravarsi delle condizioni che hanno portato la donna alla morte, nell’appartamento accanto, e quindi non sorprende che in esso i toni siano più dimessi e spesso minimali, oltre che intimi. Un lavoro che parla di trasformazione, dell’attraversare una soglia per passare da una forma all’altra, espletato attraverso le ben note dinamiche compositive che hanno definito negli anni il suono del Nostro: sottili linee ambientali e droniche su cui si innestano ritmiche educate di stampo downtempo (“Traverse”, una “Route Diverge” sporcata da riverberi polverosi sullo sfondo, la più esotica title-track, “Hidden Path” ed il suo piano, protagonista fra glitch e percussioni, e la conclusiva “Bridge Crossing”, esemplificativa del più tipico Wøllo-sound), in una serie di lenti ma inesorabili crescendo elevati da luminose melodie, costruite con poche ma efficaci note. Il maggior intimismo viene ben incarnato dagli episodi dal taglio più ambientale, come l’iniziale “Behind The Clouds”, l’eterea “Arches”, la rugginosa “Ravel Peak” ed una “Eon” che enfatizza il gioco di luci ed ombre proprio di un minimalismo sospeso, leit-motiv di un lavoro che spinge sul piano emozionale senza bisogno di reinventare le linee guida di uno stile inconfondibile. Fra le opere più emotive e meno didascaliche del longevo artista scandinavo, vero e proprio punto di riferimento di una scena avara di reali e plausibili ‘mostri sacri’. -Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi

  2. padmin

    From Ambient Visions

    Before starting this review I wanted to take a quick glance at how many albums Erik has put out over the years in relation to his latest one on Projekt Records. Sometimes an artist’s name is so familiar that you think you have a grasp of their discography and how long they have been working at making music in a particular genre. I pulled up his works at the website Discogs and realized that Erik has been composing his wonderful music since before I even started to listen to the genre that is the namesake of this website. Erik’s music goes all the way back to 1983 with an appropriately named album called Where It All Begins and truly that was the beginning of a musical journey for Erik that has lasted for the last 35 years.

    It wasn’t until 1998 that I first heard Erik’s music when I got a copy of Guitar Nova and realized that his music should be on AV’s radar from that moment on. Threshold Point is the 39th album that Erik has either put out himself or has appeared on in conjunction with other artists to create joint releases like he did with Earth Luminous with Byron Metcalf or more recently Meridian in which he collaborated with UK artist Ian Boddy. Suffice it to say that his career has been both prolific and brilliant as his music has continually evolved into what we find on Threshold Point which is perhaps Erik’s own estimation of his growth as an artist. To cross a threshold is to enter into new areas from wherever you were before you crossed that gateway. The Cambridge Dictionary defines threshold thusly “at the start of a new and important time or development, or the level or point at which you start to experience something or at which something starts to happen”.

    Some of the music you will find on Threshold Point was written at a very difficult time in Erik’s life as he was spending time with his sister before she tragically passed away and some of the music you will hear on this new album does capture those feelings of loss and Erik’s reflections on his emotions about a life that was too soon gone and one that would be sorely missed. The music is infused with these emotions and listeners will discern the introspective and pensive nature of the music that has been captured on this album. Like a photographer who preserves slices of life on film or on digital media to look at and remember certain periods of time in their lives so Erik composed and wrote some of these pieces while he was with his sister and they will forever encapsulate those difficult times in which they were written.

    Some of the music such as the Mosaic of Time pieces are like the personal acceptance of the inevitable march of time in our lives and as I look at the sub titles it looks more like a journey that Erik was on and that we take with him through his music. Route Diverge, Threshold Point, Hidden Path, Bridge Crossing. I have spent much time listening to the music that is contained on Threshold Point and it has been an insightful experience but not one that buries itself in depression or in darkness but one that embraces the concept of change and growth that happens when we simply step across the threshold into the next chapter of each of our lives. Granted there may not always be a choice as to whether or not we feel we are ready to walk across the threshold into that change but when the time comes perhaps each of will find the courage to take those steps and embrace whatever comes next.

    The music on Threshold Point is cathartic and as you work your way through the Mosaic of Time suite you will sense that by the time you reach Part IV called Bridge Crossing that the mood has become more ethereal as if the crossing of the bridge or the crossing of the threshold has been accomplished and that there is comfort in taking that next step. The Mosaic of Time suite has a pulsating and even a mesmerizing feel to it that allows the listener to drift with the rhythms and to let go of themselves and allow the music to take them where it will. Bridge Crossing is a fitting song to close out the album and the journey on which we walked with Erik on throughout this album.

    Other songs on the album such as Behind the Clouds, Ravel Peak, Arches or even Eon create a more atmospheric soundscape that embodies some of the intimate and fragile aspects of dealing with the passing of a loved one. Erik is a highly talented musician and his ability to channel the pain of his personal loss into his music which can then be shared with others is a way to speak to those who want to know how he is doing. Perhaps musicians keep musical journals instead of journals composed of words that act as reminders of those points in their lives that are beyond language but can be captured using music and emotion.

    Erik’s new album Threshold Point has stripped away and laid bare some intense emotions for listeners to absorb and to perhaps find resonance within their own painful experiences and in the end in some way share Erik’s emotions blended with those similar experiences in each of their lives. Erik’s musical sensibilities are on full display on this new album and he does not disappoint as he weaves and paints these emotional songs on soundscapes that are skillfully created and layered so as to always reflect the circumstances under which they were composed. Sometimes words simply get in the way of communicating ideas and concepts that can only be expressed via music. Listen to Erik’s thoughts communicated via his music and simply understand at a level that is deeper than any words will ever be able to say. Adding this album to your collection would be something you would not regret.

    Highly recommended by Ambient Visions. -Michael Foster for Ambient Visions

  3. Reviews Editor

    From Echoes

    May 2018 CD of the Month: Erik Wøllo’s Threshold Point

    Norwegian guitarist Erik Wøllo has had four previous CD of the Month picks. It feels like more because we’ve actually passed over many of his albums because they came out two close in time to his previous picks. He could’ve had two CD of the Month picks in 2017 alone with Different Spaces and Cinematic. But we’re not letting his latest album go by. It’s called Threshold Point and it’s another step on the evolution of this musician who has been recording since the mid-1980s.

    Erik Wøllo has been a favorite on Echoes from the beginning. His first album came out in 1983 and he released music at a prodigious clip into the 90s and 2000s with 28 solo albums and EPs and a dozen-or-so collaborations. In the process he’s perfected a unique brand of electronic music using a guitar synthesizer and inspired by the myths, landscapes and climate of Norway where he’s from.

    While most of his music has been composed in Norway, much of his new album came into being in a small New York City bedroom while he cared for his sister who was in the final days of her life. You can hear Threshold Point as both an intimate rumination on mourning and crossing the threshold into another life, especially on the somber opening track, “Behind the Clouds.” But it’s also an album that takes you into another space, away from tragedy.

    Threshold Point pushes Wøllo’s sound in new directions including a couple of percussive tracks that aren’t the norm for him. The “Mosaic of Time” quartet draws upon his work in African music with Senegalese singer Kuoame Sereba as well as the techno tribal sound of Jon Hassell. “Mosaic of Time 1-Route Diverge” builds on a cyclical percussion loop with a Jon Hassell trumpet-like tone blown across winds out of the Serengeti. “MOT2- Threshold Point” loops an even heavier, more African based percussion loop pushing under a siren swirl of synthesizers and a spare piano melody.

    Much of the album has an expansive serenity, especially when he taps landscapes for inspiration. As if Norway didn’t get the chilled vibe going enough, “Ravel Peak” is an ascent up that mountain located in Antarctica. Named for the French composer Maurice Ravel, Wøllo creates a quietly searing track with an elongated trumpet-like synth melody moving across ice-sheathed synth drones in a rhythm-free ambience.

    Erik Wøllo has long been a master of melodic ambient music. It’s the cinematic soundscape of travels. “Traverse” is the kind of music you put on during cross country drives, long train rides and mountain ascents to soundtrack your experience with an insistent sequencer groove leading into a searing electric guitar solo of siren sustains. It’s also the sound of interior travels on “Eons”, mapping the mind and emotions in a meditative, deep state-of-mind descent. Threshold Point is specifically concerned with the concept of passing through into another plane of existence or experience, but Erik Wøllo’s music always takes you to another place. -John Diliberto

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