Erik Wøllo: Tundra (Digital)

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Product Description

1 Tundra
2 Perma
3 Taiga
4 The Native Chant
5 Swirled Lights

Tundra was released on CD in an extremely limited edition of 200 copies. It is out-of-print.

Release date: July 22, 2014
Sold out: September 8, 2014

The Tundra EP finds Erik Wøllo creating fascinating atmospheric and rhythmic instrumental electronic music. This 30-minute 5-song ep features all new, previously unreleased tracks that showcase Erik’s ability to incorporate new and fresh elements into his music while remaining true to his unique style. A strong emphasis on sequenced rhythmic passages and grooves mixes with spacious deep ambient soundscapes and melodic themes provided by electric guitars and various synthesizers.

On “Tundra,” “The Native Chant” and “Swirling Lights” the use of throat singing samples and vocals from Arctic indigenous people add a human, earthy element to the electronics. Erik reflects, “The concept of incorporating traditional world music elements into my work is something I have been excited about since the 1990’s. Over the years, I have worked with various artists from India, Africa, North America and other countries, mixing the local indigenous textures and instruments together with my modern electronic equipment. I wanted to recreate some of these ideas on Tundra. These tracks could be the soundtrack to a documentary about the nature and climate of the northern hemisphere where everything is limited because of the harshness of the environment, and cultures are forced to adapt to the challenging surroundings.”

Influenced by these ideas, Erik created these brilliant musical landscapes. Ranging from down to earth rhythms and chants to mesmerizing late night nordic light-scenes, this music showcases a natural authenticity that is both appealing and deeply engaging.

This item is out of print, and here for historical reasons.

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Additional information

Weight .3 lbs


Release Year



  1. Reviews Editor

    From Exposé

    For electronic musicians, mixing indigenous and folk sources into their work is nothing new. At its worst it can act as a crutch to prop up or cover over uninspired compositions. That’s not the case here. Norwegian musician Erik Wøllo has been incorporating global sounds into his recordings for decades, though it makes sense that he often turns his gaze northward, toward the Arctic region inhabited by the Inuit. On tracks like “Tundra” and “The Native Chant” he strikes just the right balance between the modern and the primitive, and his incorporation of folk elements – primarily throat singing samples – nicely complements his own work on synths, guitar, and programmed percussion.

    Much like Steve Roach’s fusions of electronic and Native American sounds, Wøllo effectively juxtaposes the ancient with the modern, so that one never upstages the other. This five-song EP (originally offered as a limited edition CD, now as a digital download only) is also a showcase for Wøllo’s burgeoning talent at conjuring up silky grooves that cycle over programmed downtempo beats and a flair for sequencer lines that could easily find their way into the most chic urban night spots. With its probing beats and crystalline synth melodies, tracks like “Taiga” range far from the bleak, dramatic soundscapes Wøllo is often associated with, displaying the sort of modern sensibilities and production values associated with musicians like Robert Schroeder or even Daft Punk. Tundra further expands Erik Wøllo’s seemingly limitless creative scope and will certainly please fans, both old and new. -Paul Hightower

  2. Reviews Editor

    From Sounds Behind the Corner

    La musica di Erik Wøllo appartiene alla categoria di suoni che non stancano mai: sia nei momenti di forte produzione che durante le stasi meditative, l’artista di Portland ottiene sempre su di se attenzione, attesa, complice un’amalgama mai statica, a volte inattesa, capace di intridere il suo ambient di etnicismi poco ruffiani.

    Elettronica in ammirazione a volte di un chillout quasi ‘incursivo’, altrove la semplice potenza di rilassare massaggiando l’ascoltatore con delicatezze soniche.

    Trentuno anni al servizio della sua mente, tre decenni semplicemente intensi per il musicista scandinavo molti dei quali al ‘servizio’ di Projekt, solitario o accanto al collega di emozioni Steve Roach: “Tundra” è l’ennesimo ep, cinque tracce per non rischiare di inficiare la perfezione con un lenght intero se solamente una traccia ne potesse alterare l’aroma.

    Formato digitale o compact disc, dallo studio Wintergarden escono i suoni del 2014, non troppo diversi dal passato, piccoli step successivi all’interno di un ‘brand’ consolidato, nuvole sci-fi e profumi di terra umida, voci sciamaniche o silenzi contemplativi, Erik Wøllo non cede mai nell’entusiasmare ed entusiasmarsi.

    Tundra nella sua traccia d’apertura, title-track del ‘corto’, ha tanto del musicista: voce vocoderizzata per un mantra post-moderno, accortezze tra meditazioni sonore new-age e chiavi sci-fi per addomesticare la ‘nuova Era’ porgendone l’aspetto più legato ad un legame con i chakra, l’Oriente giunge nella sua Norvegia e si fonde con i grandi spazi.

    Menti aperte per spazi altrettanto vasti, in “Perma”, come nelle tre tracce successive, le tastiere sciolgono i ghiacci con il dolce tepore del suono e nelle due tracce finali l’etnicismo diviene la vera nuova Era, canti tribali trasformati per non morire sotto il peso del tempo ma rinnovandosi guardando oltre la cortina dimensionale, rivisti in chiave ‘world’, giocando con estrema semplicità tra la sua ambient più tipica ed il miglior chillout di memoria.

    Chiudendo gli occhi si vaga ovunque nei luoghi più isolati del nostro Pianeta e nel vagare s’incontrano le sue musiche, la sua gente, i lori timbri vocali, “The Native Chant” e “Swirled Light”, ci portano verso la fine delle cinque tracce pronti per iniziare di nuovo il viaggio, tra il vento ed il ghiaccio, l’acqua che scorre leggera e pura, i profumi dei licheni ed il loro contrasto cromatico sul bianco o tra le rocce.

    Questo è Erik Wøllo, Tundra è solamente un nuovo, stupendo capitolo. Rating: 8/10 -Nicola Tenani

  3. Reviews Editor

    From Expose

    Erik Wøllo is no stranger to those familiar with electronic music. He has been composing and performing music for films, theater, ballets, and exhibitions since the late 90s. This past July he released an EP, Tundra, of five compositions in the six to seven minute range. Each one is different, but as a whole, they take you on a musical journey through the frozen northern lands where tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The title track opens the disc with harmonic chanting that is later joined by rhythmic sequencers and cold electronics. The music slowly builds momentum through the addition of electronic drums.

    The second track, “Perma,” is more cinematic in nature and you can easily visualize flying over the tundra on a sunny day during the brief summer. “Taiga” is a percussive journey through the boreal forests with its sequencers, synth strings, and crystalline sounds. Erik constructed the fourth track, “The Native Chant,” around a loop of reverbed chanting voices. Sometimes you hear a single voice, other times a harmonic chorus. This track has a tribal/shamanistic vibe that could have easily been overdone and ultimately boring. But Erik is able to successfully pull it off and it is just the perfect length for this type of composition. The closing track is “Swirling Lights.” This track is the most ambient of all the music on the disc. The electronics are cold, sterile, and amorphous, much of what you would expect when viewing the aurora borealis on a crisp clear night. The heavenly lights twist and swirl, and the track closes as weather starts to approach with a slight dusting of snow. -Henry Schneider

  4. Reviews Editor

    From Rockerilla

    A pochi mesi di distanza da Timelines Erik Wøllo licenzia scaletta (Tundra, The Native Chant e Swirling Lights) ospitano le voci di abitanti di villaggi Artici, campionate e utilizzate in languide strutture brani (Perma e Taiga) sono ancora più ritmati e lontani dalle accecanti distese di sensoriali caratteristiche dei AUDACE. -Roberto Mandolini

  5. Reviews Editor

    From Onda Rock

    Siglato l’inverno dell’anno in corso con il meditativo Timelines, che metteva l’accento sul lato ritmico del suo sound, l’instancabile e inesauribile Erik Wøllo torna ad affacciarsi scegliendo questa volta il formato breve dell’extended play. Dopo diciotto album in gran parte dedicati a musicare tematiche di respiro profondamente intimo e a indagare su fenomeni astratti come tempo e spazio, il norvegese decide questa volta di intitolare un suo lavoro alla vegetazione tipica della sua terra natale, a cui sono legati e dedicati tutti e cinque i brani di Tundra.

    Se già nelle ultime uscite il suo soundworld pareva stare prendendo le mosse da gran parte dell’eredità californiana, da sempre componente integrante del personalissimo verbo forgiato e perfezionato negli anni, qui siamo di fronte in tutto e per tutto a un mezzo cambio di rotta. Non una rivoluzione né qualcosa che impedisca ai suoi seguaci di riconoscerlo già dalle prime armoniche, ma uno step coerente quanto deciso verso un linguaggio fortemente debitore alla Berlin School (e in particolar modo a Klaus Schulze).

    Di sicuro una pepita levigata come “Perma” avrebbe avuto il suo perché all’interno del capolavoro “Gateway” o di uno dei tanti tasselli precedenti a quell’apice, come altrettanto “tradizionalista” è la distesa conclusiva di “Swirled Lights”, unico vero pezzo in totale continuità con il passato recente. Ma a cogliere di sorpresa sin dal principio è il battito incalzante che anima la title track, ossatura su cui poggiano a turno una voce femminile palesemente sintetica, svirgolii di synth e cavalcate melodiche affidate al sequencer.

    Della chitarra non c’è traccia e sembra davvero di trovarsi di fronte a un lavoro recente del maestro tedesco, la cui ombra tende ad affievolirsi sul tappeto quasi chill-out di “Taiga” in favore di quella, altrettanto ingombrante, dell’Harold Budd di metà Novanta. “The Native Chant” è l’episodio fuori dal coro, con il battito viscerale delle percussioni ad accompagnare una nuova performance vocale, stavolta apparentemente più “umana” per quanto sempre frutto di software. Una possibile strada da percorrere in un futuro che si preannuncia ancora ricco di sorprese. Rating: 7 (very good) -Matteo Meda

  6. Reviews Editor

    From Star’s End

    While music is often referred to as “the quickening art”, one does not need their entire body to respond to the work of Erik Wøllo, just their mind. His work emanates from a poetic and imaginative world where but a few choice spirits live. For his EP Tundra (29’10”) Wøllo produces a range of intriguing tracks. The periodic adding in of Inuit throat singer samples bestows an exotic simplicity to this decidedly hi-tech production – which is one where the connection between opposites is reinforced in hopes of slowing the break-neck pace of our times, and thus perhaps (in some small way) bring calm to an unbalanced world.

    Wøllo, our champion melodist, on Tundra again gives us the captivating E-bow guitar leads we have come to enjoy so much – these lines spinning out fluidly above expeditionary percussion loops and pulsing electronic inspired grooves. Synthesizer chords build and sustain, then activate in shifting contrasts. Yet other compositions are less kinetic with contemplative space emerging out of layered tones and drones. Some of the five tracks on Tundra suggest a yearning for spiritual fulfillment through increasingly bright hues and mounting forms, while others explore the lure of the unfamiliar, the remote and the primitive. There are also passages where Wøllo links to Nature as an elemental force, and as a place where beauty exists as part of everyday life rather than as an escape from it. As with all of Wøllo’s releases the use of sound on Tundra is not only dramatic but infinitely subtle in its scale of values and carries a hidden story. But to know him too well might affect our experience of his music too much. This music seems quite of its own period. Anyone with a heart should be able to feel it. -Chuck van Zyl

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