2. First Arrival 07:08
3. The Crossing 08:25
4. A Sublime Place 03:16
5. Gateway 05:36
6. Blue Universe 03:57
7. The Traveler 06:12
8. There Will Be Snow 05:20
9. The Mental Trail 05:16
10. Full Circle 06:15
11. Wetlands 05:22
12. Thule 08:35
Total Time: 01:10:16
Gateway was Echoes Radio’s June 2010 Pick of the Month.
“Wøllo’s work is the musical equivalent of crossing a majestic landscape, over the earth and beneath the stars.” – Chuck van Zyl / StarsEnd, WXPN Radio
Projekt’s first release from noted Norwegian electronic / ambient guitarist, synthesist and composer Erik Wøllo. Since the mid-80s, Wøllo has released a string of mesmerizingly melodic and original albums culminating in Gateway, his 14th solo release. His recent collaboration with Steve Roach, Stream of Thought (Projekt, 2009), introduced a new audience to his personal signature of introspective atmospherics. Working over two years creating Gateway, Wøllo presents a fine-tuned collection of carefully crafted compositions; electro-symphonies morph through a wide variety of moods, guitar expositions and crescendos. With a minimalist’s restrained elegance, Wøllo creates evocative passage through imaginary landscapes by blending dark and light elements. The resulting music is visual, kindling the feeling of nature inspired by the Nordic landscapes of Wøllo’s homeland. These epic dimensions are reflected in the beautiful album cover images created by Polish artist Michal Karcz; dramatic, vast, and untouched landscapes symbolize purity and beauty.
“Celestial evocations inspired by the night skies in the land of the midnight sun. It’s hard to resist picking an Erik Wøllo album as a CD of the Month.”
– John Diliberto, Echoes syndicated radio, about Erik’s last release
Gateway is both lyrical and rhythmic, emphasizing melodic and structural formations; modern electronic music explores vast panoramas and limitless horizons. Graceful chiming themes ring out against ambient textures and delicate chord structures with a highly listenable appeal. It is a gentle musical journey through soundscapes of synthesizers and electric guitars. Orchestrated layers of sounds make this a deep listening experience where new details are discovered on each successive listening.
“There is always a meditative attitude,” Erik reflects, “recollections from dreams and reality suggesting the mysterious. Every artist has their own unique inner landscape that emulates where they were born and raised, influencing the creative expression. By reflecting all the different kinds of music that you have been hearing through your lifetime, Gateway is a mirror of time.”
Gateway has 12 tracks carefully sequenced like parts in a symphony or as the soundtrack to a film exploring new undiscovered places. The cinematic songs have unique moods from piece to piece beginning with gentle “Land of Myths,” a slow introduction to the story. Wøllo continues with the more rhythmic “First Arrival,” launching elements later refined as separate songs. The titles all describe the journey: “A Sublime Place,” “The Mental Trail” and “Wetlands.” The album ends with a long and sustaining piece, “Thule,” suggesting a trip even further north into the future. An open end to a sonic journey.
This album is a new era of Wøllo’s music where emotional atmospheres flow into expansive ambient textures. An album that combines intense and serene passages with masterful performances. It is New Instrumental Music with both symphonic qualities and more sublime, varied dynamic structures. Soar in abstract space elements with the unmistakable style of this critically acclaimed artist.
“Erik Wøllo is one of the most consistent artists recording today. He continues to impress me with his composing and performing talent. His music comes across as being both stimulating from an intellectual standpoint yet emotionally satisfying as well.” – Bill Binkelman, Zone Music Reporter
Join our Erik Wøllo eList
No spam. Just an email when there’s a new album from Erik.
Reviews Editor –
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 May 2010 CD of the Month. We’ll be featuring several tracks from it on Monday, June 7 and the following weekend. -John Diliberto ((( echoes )))
Reviews Editor –
From Music Tap
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 deeply reminiscent of the haunting early period of 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 derivative. 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,” an obviously 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.
Immeasureably recommended! -Matt Rowe
Reviews Editor –
From Sonic Immersion
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! -Bert Strolenberg
Reviews Editor –
From Star’s End
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/STAR’S END