01: Low Winter Sun (Introduction 1) 04:46
02: Points in Time 08:24
03: Solaris 06:40
04: High Plains 08:08
05: Church Mountain 04:39
06: Similar World 06:18
07: Past Theme 05:38
08: Hydra 08:01
09: Kaleidoscope 08:47
10: Evening Island 06:05
11: Memory Space 06:53
Total Time: 74:26
01: Mystical Sun (Introduction 2) 05:10
02: Chroma 06:27
03: Motion Blue 05:43
04: The Morph 07:39
05: Rundreise 05:55
06: Circle Dream 04:46
07: Pilgrim Way 08:41
08: Cascade Falls 08:53
09: Mirror Lake 06:06
10: Afterglow 06:31
11: Elysium 07:12
Total Time: 73:17
Different Spaces from renowned Norwegian electronic musician Erik Wøllo is a diverse and sweeping 2-CD release. Spanning 2 hours and 45 minutes, his 21st full-length album is a monumental statement ranging from slowly-drifting kaleidoscopic passages, epic soaring guitar melancholy, upbeat ever-changing sequenced cycles, and charismatic compelling melodies. Possessing a sense of drama and storytelling, the 22 new compositions explore and expand upon his 35 years of musical experience. Using electric guitar as his primary melodic instrument, Wøllo creates sustained and seamless tapestries revealing wide-ranging and wide-angled compositions masterfully orchestrated. The music traverses the different spaces that occupy an artist’s creative thoughts across mesmerizing landscapes of distinctive panoramas, rhythmic realms, and engaging, engulfing atmospheres.
“A bountiful and consummately enjoyable journey, the 22 tracks filled with visionary compositions and far reaching concepts that seem to guide the listener through numerous portals and cinematic perspectives, with a immersive and dreamy quality that one can easily get lost within.” – Expose Webzine
Erik says, “I wanted to do it differently this time: longer pieces, open and extended, spreading out the sonic elements and transitions in time. I aimed to combine everything into a continuous and balanced aural flow, together with my ethereal tones and timbres. Last year I worked exclusively on this album. I composed a lot of material; there were over 40 tracks to choose from and to really express the variety, a 2-CD release was clearly what I had in mind.“
Different Spaces is electronic music with an evocative and symbolic approach. Erik’s background in 70s progressive rock shines through. The sequencer aesthetic and other aspects of the era’s technology form the basic foundation on many of these tracks. Modern pulsing and immersive soundscapes provide measured momentum to steadily move through the morphing patterns and textures.
“If music or art does not send me to a certain spot or a setting, I am not very interested,” Erik comments. “It’s a sense of being somewhere. This is a very important part on this release: the awareness of a connection with place, subjectivity and feeling. Within this, I delve into my curiosity about what’s in my subconscious. In the subconscious there are all kinds of iconic sounds, visions and mythic fragments.”
This vast release takes the listener to different places and spaces on 22 uniquely compelling auditory episodes.
Release Date: March 17 2017
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Reviews Editor –
Top 25 Albums of 2017!
Renowned Norwegian guitarist and electronic music composer Erik Wøllo released a double-album earlier this year on Projekt Records, entitled Different Spaces. Highlighting Erik’s distinctly emotive electric guitar passages throughout, he creates panoramic soundscapes consisting of sequenced patterns and rhythmic currents that effectively conjure feelings of solitarily traversing vast and unexplored regions of earth. A simply breathtaking magnum opus, this album is surely destined to be a future ambient classic.
Richard Gurtler –
From Richard Gurtler
Erik Wøllo, a highly renowned ambient guitarist from Norway, who is journeying through the middle of his 4th decade of exquisitely creative artistry, has released over 20 solo albums plus around 10 collaborative works with another acclaimed wizards and kindred souls such as Steve Roach, Byron Metcalf, Ian Boddy, Bernhard Wöstheinrich, Deborah Martin or Frank Van Bogaert. While during 2015 and 2016 mostly focusing on joint efforts with Byron Metcalf, a solo album “Blue Radiance” as well as a live recording “Star’s End 2015 (Silent Currents 4)” were released during this period of time. However, during 2016 Erik Wøllo has recorded at his Wintergarden Studio also his latest monumental installment “Different Spaces”, which is out since the middle of March 2017 in a really beautiful 6-panel 2CD digipak featuring on the front cover majestic, free standing Kirkjufell mountain located on the north coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula. Thus credits for cover photos go to Justin LaBerge and Paul Morris, while Sam Rosenthal is responsible for the graphic design.
Disc one opens with nearly 5-minute “Low Winter Sun (Introduction 1)”, which immediately sets the atmosphere, where gorgeously panoptic sceneries are unfolded with Erik Wøllo’s trademarking insignias. Poignantly embracing expansive motifs are carefully bridged with intangibly emerging glimmering melodic patterns and ephemeral weeping glimpses, all persistently pervaded by solitary winds. A truly magnificent initiation!!! “Points In Time”, with running time 8:23 one of the longest pieces on this first part, keeps on the path of stunningly evocative horizons, yet this time much more invaded by swirling sequences and spikier intoxicating rhythms. “Solaris” shifts the listener into remote vague landscapes, but the scenario is quickly stolen by mildly galloping steady sequencer textures blended with encircling evocative vistas. The next piece, “High Plains”, puts into the foreground Berlin School-charged bouncing sequences, which are inconspicuously permeated by tranquilly unfolding warm layers. “Church Mountain”, which is an English translation of Kirkjufell mountain, straightly immerse the listener into utterly delightful realms, where subtly shimmering infinite images coalesce with hazy percussive traceries, soothingly invading powerfully touching cinematic blankets and clandestinely ascending coastal harmonies. What a beauty!!! And although this is, unfortunately, a rather shorter composition (with 4:39 the shortest on the whole set), Erik Wøllo carves with his instruments and his filigree artistry a pure aural bliss!!! “Similar World” rides on the wings of ethereal clouds, before metamorphosing into cadenced movements, illuminated by enveloping yearning insignias. “Past Theme” reveals with stringed nostalgia and scenic terrains, before counterpointed by gossamer subterranean curlicues. “Hydra” merges masterfully droning solitudes with stringed luminousness, weeping wistfulness and pulsing subtleties, all safely guarded by distant percussive meridians. Another masterpiece, enter now the soulful sonic Eden originated by Erik Wøllo!!! “Kaleidoscope”, with nearly 9 minutes the longest track on first disc, instantly attracts with its catchy tinkling melodies, supported by brief stringed calls and calmly expansive auxiliary lachrymose sheets, but later euphoric sequences surreptitiously evanesce and the rest of this spectacle is propelled by insistent rhythm tapestries imbued by sequestered diaphanous decorations. Yeah, it’s quite apparent that “Kaleidoscope” is a perfectly chosen title! “Evening Island” reveals with deeply evocative panoramas, which are soon confronted by balmily pulsing sequences and intensely longing guitar meanders, and backed by swirling synthetic quivers. “Memory Space” closes the first, 74 and a half minutes long disc and drifts into immense ethereal spheres, reinforced here and there by an array of elusive whirls and introspective shimmers, while magnified by additional ephemeral reverberating helixes with sonorously graceful vertexes. A really splendiferous conclusion!
“Mystical Sun (Introduction 2)” ignites the second disc with exquisitely immersing poignancy, where rather monochromatic choir-like drone coalesces with nuanced balsamic layers, remote biotic undercurrents and vanishing desolate mirages. Utterly sublime opening! “Chroma” is fueled by mesmerizingly laid-back rhythmic patterns exquisitely amalgamated with euphorically engrossing motifs, which later smoothly transmute into sharper downtempos with soaring vistas by celestial guardians riding above. Hypnotic translucence meets splendid gracefulness! “Motion Blue”, as indicated by its title (and by cover images as well!), maintains richly cadenced pace, when bridging relentlessly gladdening movements with harmonizing panoramic contemplations and sudden glimpsing exhilarations. Another top-notch composition, bravo, Erik! “The Morph” delves deeply into poignantly expressive terrains, when impeccably commingling weeping quietudes with mildly emerging ear-tickling sequencer flickers, which surreptitiously transmogrify toward the end into penetrating, nearly transcendental-like escalations. “Rundreise” (or “Roundtrip”) is another piece that is exactly fitting its title, when it keeps constant, yet hypnotically vigorous locomotion with perpetual Berlin School DNA. “Circle Dream” dives profoundly into serenely engulfing panoptic landscapes, where sweeping and lithe immense expansions with vanishing organic glimpses shift the listener into a tranquil sanctum of eternal grace. Pure magic! “Pilgrim Way” incorporates intangibly pulsing cushions with languid tribal beat, guarded by voluminously wide-screen desert insignias, but the center stage is later invaded by utterly expressive titillating electric guitar riffs. A true masterpiece holding indisputably authentic earmarks by Erik Wøllo!!! “Cascade Falls”, with 8:53 the longest piece on “Different Spaces” and only few seconds longer than its predecessor, takes quick turn and steps into glitteringly rhythmic and persistently rushing domains. “Mirror Lake” invites us into gorgeously peaceful and soulfully reflective sceneries, leaded by delicately poignant acoustic strings and piano. “Afterglow” retains its deeply evocative feel, virtuosically sculpted by soaring EBow textures with intensely elegiac honor. On the closing 7-plus minutes long “Elysium” eternally bubbling patterns interact with heart-warming washes, and cascading pinnacles, but toward the 4th minute something really unexpected happens, when the mastery of Erik Wøllo is joined on the stage by the magic voice of Sturla Snorrison. Along with it also gossamery percussive subtleties clandestinely arise. The vocal part, I really wish I could understand to Norwegian (at least I think Sturla Snorrison sings in this language), flawlessly fits Erik’s arrangements. A pure aural equilibrium at its most engulfing is fully revealed and this is one of the most emotive sonic tributes, with “Mirror Lake” and “Afterglow” being part of it, I have ever heard in my life. These are the moments when I am journeying with goosebumps on arms and almost shedding a few tears, this is not only a shinning eulogy, but it must be also a delightful celebration of life.
The year 2016 has brought to us two collaborative gems, “Earth Luminous” and “Inner Rhythm Meditations”, both highlights of 2016, with fruitful signatures by Erik Wøllo. Now one year later this iconic Norwegian soundsculptor delivers himself another milestone, I won’t even hesitate to say his magnum opus, although remaining with deep respect to all his previous stellar work. Almost 148-minute “Different Spaces” double album is a truly monstrous masterwork, thank you very much, Erik!!! And by the time I am publishing these lines, Projekt has just announced a newest CD by Erik Wøllo entitled “Cinematic”, which is scheduled for a release at September 15th 2017. This album will feature archived soundtracks recorded during the period of years 1998-2003 for video, documentary film and multimedia.
Richard Gürtler (Aug 06, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)
Reviews Editor –
From Star’s End
Erik Wøllo takes the future wherever he goes. Transporting us far and fast to a tomorrow that never got here, he gives us Different Spaces – his double CD set of high flying dreams. In a pageant of surpassing interest, Wøllo has realized 22 thoroughly imagined pieces across the two discs. Within this psychological recreation the listener will certainly become captivated by his beautiful vision. Different Spaces moves with determined speed, electrifying the space into which it is played. Rising to the astral layers we moonstruck wanderers may hear his melodic certainty. Sustaining electric guitar notes travel through shaping and shifting digital treatments, emerging as tones blurred smooth by worn circuits and warm transistors. Soft electronic percussion ticks eagerly beneath the deployment of plush synthesizer strings – in the endless variation of Wøllo’s signature contemporary style.
Further out, slowed down thought zones fascinate in swarms of glittering points and gradations of timbre – showing us that the most powerful works may be those sent to us in a whisper. With Different Spaces this extraordinary musician provides open, thoughtful, honest, wandering explorations of harmony, melody and rhythm – rendered in the sigh of metal strings and rising electro-choirs. As each track opens, breathes and develops, in the stirring rhapsody of notes, and pauses, sustaining tones, and slow snaking leads, clean, clear sounds resound into reverberant space. When subtly driven swells emerge, Wøllo plucks, holds, strums and loops his six strings in perfect placement around elegant synthetic touches, dabs and strokes. Then, just as easily, these emanations draw us down into dark ideas. Out there in the vacant future approaches the early light of the awakening dawn. Somewhere in this distance shines our tomorrow. Erik Wøllo takes his music to this place – to a world that knows better. -Chuck van Zyl
Reviews Editor –
From Synth and Sequences
A little like a goddess who empties her jar of charms, dusts of prism decorate a celestial breeze which is used as bed to a sad seraphic melody which moans with neurasthenic sighs. While our soul drifts towards these inner corridors that we forbid ourselves the entrance, a delicate movement of sequences makes its keys sparkle which shape a spheroidal walking towards a dense storm of cabalistic breezes. “Low Winter Sun (Introduction 1)” is the front door of Erik Wollo’s wonderful double album which will bolt you to your armchair and in your earphones, so much the lyrical approach of the Scandinavian bard will mark you ears of tenderness and of bewitchment. As much at ease in the vast soundscapes tied to the magnificence of his Norway than to the sequenced rhythms which invite in astral dances, Erik Wollo has accustomed us during the last years to realizations which separate both genres while letting drag a delicate link between them. Different Spaces is a mixture of both genres which seduce so much, but in an imposing double album which flirts with nearly 2:30 hours and which nevertheless flows like a musical tale of 30 minutes.
“Points in Time” gives a very beautiful overview of what waits for your ears for the next 21 titles to come. The intro is sculpted of dark layers where murmurs, black winds and dark breezes color a soundscape which reaches the dimension of our imagination. These openings, sometimes short or sometimes long, and several times without outcomes, are the departures of structures of rhythms forged on the Berlin School approach, like here, or in ambient phases, like in “Low Winter Sun (Introduction 1)”. Here, the beat gets out of limbos with a line of spasmodic riffs which pierces this wall of rather harmonious winds. A bass pulsation doesn’t care of these winds, entailing “Points in Time” in a jerky structure which awakens in us, especially with the arrival of harmonious layers and percussions, this feeling to hear a good electronic rock of the Tangerine Dream style. The sound decoration is perfectly balanced, nothing of excess and nothing is lacking, in this electronic rock which is quite a surprise coming from Erik Wollo. Each title is different and proposes a range of varied rhythms which leaves all the same the necessary space so that Wollo draws all the splendor of his sound landscapes. Lighter, “Solaris” presents a slightly lively structure braided by a good line of bass and some rather sober percussions of which the metallic jingles buzz as in a birth of Electronica. The melody flows by sequenced oscillating loops which go and come in a choir of seraphic voices. There are titles which are alike in this collection of 22 tracks? Not really! Each has an identity and it’s doubtless the pinnacle, that and this constant rush of emotion which comes as each title passes by, in the universe of “Different Spaces”. “High Plains” offers a delicious Berlin School approach with its stream of sequences which breaks its loops in vapors of ether and in nice layers in tones weaved between the synth and the magical six-string from the Norwegian poet of tones. I have the feeling to be in a soundtrack of Tangerine Dream here. Another strength of this album is this capacity of his author to enliven his structures of rhythm with constant additions which adorn aptly the numerous minimalist hymns in this Erik Wollo’s 21th album. “Church Mountain” brings us in a landscape of vibes with beautiful ethereal layers which feed the vitality of a structure of rhythm slumbering with its loops which stuff themselves of great percussive effects. The waves which encircle its finale smother another minimalist structure which would have carried us even farther in our reverie. “Similar World” takes over with a steady circular structure and its jerky riffs which roll like a steam train under the acid colors of its burned coal black offerings. “Past Theme” is another title of atmospheres which are weaved by loops of which the echoes eventually forge a structure of rhythm as much vaporous as the nebulosity of the atmospheres. That reminds me of Peter Seiler, the time of Flying Frames, and Richard Pinhas in the time of L’Éthique. In any event, the flow of the movement is charmingly mesmerizing. “Hydra” comforts our ears with a fascinating rhythmic meshing between sequences, many sequences in contrasting tones and flows, and percussions which skip beneath a sonic sky stuffed by tears of synths and by texture of guitars of which the symbiosis weaves a huge cabalistic canvas. Between Berlin School and a morphic techno, the music remains as intense than deeply moving with a rhythmic skeleton which loosens its electronic spasms in a fluidity which espouses marvelously the flow of the harmonies stolen from a mourner six-strings. A very good title! “Kaleidoscope” is unarguably the most beautiful title on the 1st CD entitled Low Winter Sun. The movement is as much magnetizing as the one of a carousel of notes which flutter in a slightly holed spheroidal movement. The guitar is also intense with tears and mislaid dreams which merge with a veil of esoteric airs while the rhythm, always peaceful, shows a swiftness more emotional than the rhythm. Even better than “Hydra”! We speak of intensity? Just as much wonderful and clearly more dramatic, “Evening Island” is going to give you the shivers in the soul with a very striking guitar which slides its tears and its ethereal loops on a hypnotic rhythmic pattern, like in beautiful old Berlin School livened up by a revival in the color of the tones. Always in sound panoramas of which the reliefs are perfumed by shadows, by sighs and by tears, coming as much the guitar as the synth, Low Winter Sun’s rhythms are parading in different forms, here it’s the spasmodic impulses, and in tints which stick to the sadness and to the temporary nostalgia. Like here, where the loops of guitar shed tears on a structure which, like those huge vertical spirals, are soaring constantly without ever reaching heavens. The regulars of the genre name these structures; Californian School in homage to his sculptor, Steve Roach. “Memory Space” ends the first 75 minutes of “Different Spaces” by a beautiful phase of ambiences where the dark shadows and the sibylline harmonies drag us slowly towards a more translucent phase.
There is some more music in this latest Erik Wollo’s album. And “Mystical Sun (Introduction 2)” leads us towards the other side of the Scandinavian panoramas of Wollo with an approach always so very attractive in rhythms but with more luminosity in the vibes and in the harmonious lines. If “Mystical Sun (Introduction 2)” completes the moods of “Low Winter Sun (Introduction 1)”, they are quite alike, “Chroma” differs from the very energetic rock of “Points in Time”. In fact, Erik Wollo flirts here with a more Electronica approach, although the repetitive rhythms of the Berlin model remain very omnipresent. The harmonies and the atmospheres are lighter and more cheerful, putting a lot of emphasize on the contrasts of the sound panoramas between both CD. As in the structure of “Motion Blue”, splendid by the way, with its effects of percussions and its motorik approach. Mysterious, “The Morph” collapses under a heavy mood in tints of melting metal. “Rundreise” is a superb Berlin School which rolls like a bluish steam train. We notice straight out these contrasts! “Circle Dream” is ideal for meditation, just like the very ambient and floating “Afterglow”. After an introduction filled of the hubbubs of a crowd, “Pilgrim Way” brings us where no other title in “Different Spaces” brought us; towards the airs of a magnificent ballad extirpated by a guitar as dreamy as these banks of mist haloed of anonymous voices. A morphic ballad, a wonderful slow dance tempo with images of embraces which fill the eyes. The arrangements and the voices give an incredible depth to this slow ballad of solitary cowboy. One of the key points, there is a lot, of Different Spaces! After this small moment of musing, “Cascade Falls” assails our ears with an electronic rock very attracted by the IDM. A fiery title and sparkling of freshness and just as much amazing in the repertoire of our friend Erik. If we were unable to resist “Pilgrim Way”, we are going to melt in front of the tenderness shown in this sonic pearl which is “Mirror Lake”. There is a dance, like a magic ballet, which flows throughout the 6 minutes of this title with arpeggios glittering on an invisible ice and of which the charms sparkle with a guitar as effective as a Mike Oldfield at his top of his composer skill. Simply magical! “Elysium” concludes this wonderful 2 CD opus with an approach as supernatural as this dance in “Mirror Lake”. Except that here, Erik Wollo adds a little of cloudiness, even if the voices fight against this savor, in order to weave this admirable link which will return us to “Low Winter Sun (Introduction 1)”. Yes my friends…this is quite an album. The best of Erik Wollo and the best album of 2017 so far! -Sylvain Lupari
Reviews Editor –
Prosegue il sodalizio contrattuale fra la blasonata label americana Projekt ed il chitarrista e compositore norvegese Erik Wøllo, quest’ultimo attivo sin dal lontano 1980 e con alle spalle una corposa discografia. E corposo è anche questo nuovo parto dell’artista scandinavo: un doppio CD in confezione digipack comprendente ben ventidue brani, per un totale che lambisce i 150 minuti di durata. Dedicato alla sorella di Erik, Ingebjørg Wøllo, prematuramente scomparsa nel 2016 a soli quarant’anni, Different Spaces prosegue nel solco delle produzioni più recenti del compositore norvegese, incorporando tutti quegli elementi che sono diventati nel tempo veri e propri tratti distintivi del suo inconfondibile songwriting. Armato di chitarre (elettrica, acustica, synth, ebow, sustainer), synth (analogici e digitali), sequencer e percussioni, il Nostro estende con la maestria e l’esperienza che gli competono un discorso sonoro che ripercorre idealmente la sua intera carriera, come una sorta di compendio degli stili e delle soluzioni impiegate in 37 anni di attività.
Un lavoro così imponente da rendere difficile un’analisi approfondita, perfettamente bilanciato tra la fine volatilità dell’ambient, la pacatezza di generi come chillout e downtempo, la forza didascalica delle migliori colonne sonore, il soffio radioso della new age e l’ariosità di soundscapes atti a trasportare l’ascoltatore verso mondi inesplorati. Un groove certamente lontano dalla vorticosità di chi punta a smuovere i corpi, eppure ben presente e pulsante: morbido e raffinato (“Solaris”, “High Plains”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Chroma”, “Rundreise” e via dicendo), oppure più intenso (“Hydra”, “Cascade Falls”), ma soprattutto placido e cullante (“Points In Time”, “Similar World”, “Past Theme”, “Mirror Lake” etc.). Fra momenti più inclini alla materia ambientale (“Memory Space”, “Circle Dream”, “Afterglow”) e frangenti dove la chitarra risalta nei suoi toni più tipici (“Evening Island”, “Pilgrim Way”), si approda ai titoli di coda con “Elysium”, unico brano provvisto di cantati ad opera dell’ospite Sturla Snorrison, che chiude degnamente la mastodontica operazione. Architetture sonore di rara raffinatezza, non soltanto a livello strutturale, ma anche e soprattutto in termini di qualità dei suoni e produzione. Non di facile fruizione per la mole di materiale incluso, ma sicuramente un lavoro degno della meritata fama del suo autore, consigliabile sia agli estimatori di lunga data (che in esso ritroveranno tutte le caratteristiche precipue della sua scrittura), sia a chi dovesse ancora avvicinarsi alla sua arte (poiché ideale compendio delle correnti da lui abbracciate in carriera). -Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi
Reviews Editor –
Norwegian composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Erik Wøllo has close to forty releases out on his own or in collaboration with others, going all the way back to the early 80s. His primary instrument is the guitar, although his specialty these days is creating sounds with it that sound like just about anything but a guitar, instead using the instrument as a controller for loops, synthesizers, and sequencers, and treating the result to a heavy dollop of studio processing and effects. The result is at once vast, beautiful, and panoramic, layering washes, colorful melodies and emotional rhythms, building pieces up from a simple idea, slowly adding more textures, sequences, colors, and contrasts, then guiding the composition along an interesting path to its conclusion.
For anyone who has heard his 2015 Projekt label release Echotides (40+ minutes, but still considered an EP for some reason), that was sort of a warm-up for the vast and sprawling 2CD set at hand. In fact each disc of Different Spaces clocks in at well over 73 minutes, making the entirety of this a bit long for a single sitting, but nonetheless a bountiful and consummately enjoyable journey, the 22 tracks filled with visionary compositions and far reaching concepts that seem to guide the listener through numerous portals and cinematic perspectives, with a immersive and dreamy quality that one can easily get lost within.
The first disc seems to wander through familiar places that Wøllo has hinted at previously, while the second disc reaches forward into new realms, or at least that’s how it seems when one listens to these two discs back to back. Interestingly, the closing track on disc two features some wordless female vocals that sum the entire experience up nicely. After close to three hours of being pulled into Wøllo’s ambient universe, one can’t help but press the replay button and do it all over again. -Peter Thelen
Reviews Editor –
From New Noise
Here at New Noise we welcome a variety of noises, whether that be rowdy punk, soulful rock n’ roll, hard-hitting metal and even electronic soundscapes like this one from Norwegian composer Erik Wollo. Wollo has been in the business for thirty-five years now and has crafted a myriad of different worlds for you to explore within that span of time. His latest album is no different, as it packs nearly three hours of electronic musings into a double-disc effort that will surely stand to be one of his greatest. The recording actually comprises of two different moods, one being “Low Winter Sun” and the other “Mystical Sun.” In order to properly review such a massive monolith, I’ll have to cover both releases separately in order to give you a proper feel for the experiences that you’re about to witness with each performance.
“Low Winter Sun” starts us off with a couple of very active electronic waves, which do not sound unlike any sort of spaceship music from a video game. I’ve used this classification before, but it still feels similar here. There’s nothing wrong with that, as those pieces come off quite hummable and only add to the experience of playing such a game. They could also work well in a movie, or anything needing a comfortable electronic experience. None of these pieces come off in any way harmful and are more relaxing than anything else. “Church Mountain” slows things down a little to add waves crashing against rocks, which brings us into a very calm and less active state than the music of the prior pieces. “Similar World” picks it back up just a little, before we end up right on the surface of an underwater world in “Past Theme.” If you can’t hear the bubbles popping, then you are simply not using your imagination proficiently enough. “Hydra” almost enters dance territory, while “Kaleidoscope” brings me into a sort of mystical world where things are not what they seem to be. It feels as if I’m trapped in a kind of colorful tunnel to which every corridor leads to simply another hue and shade of the previous, eventually dazzling me beyond comprehension. There are also hints of guitar to be found on the album, as one might sense with “Evening Island” where slight riffs appear to add a sort of romance to the electronic seafoam that decorates the background of this piece. “Memory Space” then is a perfect send-off, as it more or less sounds like a world of thoughts and memories might be expected to. Some people would pro-port that non-corporeal worlds sound exactly like this. They may very well be right.
The second performance we have here is “Mystical Sun” which is a bit different, as it focuses on a style that is you guessed it – more mystical and ritualistic than the spatial themes governed by the previous recording. The very introduction alone is something that I might consider commonplace in a realm full of gods. Actual deities, whether they were here first or man-made. This is where the collective unconscious (yes, I did say collective unconscious) would place them. That being said, “Chroma” rolls directly into the robotic landscapes of the previous disc and changes my interpretation of the performance quite a bit. Perhaps “Mystical Sun” is not so far removed from “Low Winter Sun” after all. “Motion Blue” has an Asian inspired feel to me, as it also adds in some dance-flair. It is too rhythmic for meditation though. “The Morph” feels very crystalline, as light reflects off several mirrors and creates an incredible amount of melody. “Rundriese” actually feels a bit Blade Runner though, which brings me right back into the futuristic landscapes I observed on the sister disc. Not nitpicking, I still feel it is a strong track. “Circle Dream” is a piece made for meditational reflection, though it is quite short. It also feels a bit like a church organ, as odd as that sounds. “Pilgrim Way” seems to meld acoustic guitar in with beat heavy synths, which can almost come off a little dance-friendly in itself. “Cascade Falls” brings in the beat even harder, really allowing us a chance to get right on the proverbial dance floor. I’m certainly not upset by it, as I do remember a publishing group who used to make a type of weird pornography by which tracks like this were used in a sort of more sensual, less aggressive and far more fantastical manner that I don’t think went any further than a few films. Unfortunate, as music of this type really works to sell a fantasy of any type, whether that is a science-fiction media, a talk with gods, or just romantic sex. Wollo really does it all here and I’m more than appreciative to have the ability to share that here with you today. “Mirror Lake” slows things down a bit, making me think of two individuals romantically holding hands while watching the flow of the stream. It even features some water effects towards the latter portion of the song, really playing on that vibe. “Afterglow” feels like the kind of music you might hear in the robot afterworld, if such a place existed. We are given long enough a glimpse at such an odd realm, until the proverbial doors are shut and all of the whirring slows to a halt. “Elysium” ends the piece on a dancey, bubbly note. It also contains some actual vocal elements – something I’ve never heard on an Erik Wollo record before.
I truly think that Wollo is creating two different kinds of soundscapes here: The first kind would be that of the human race as a space-faring species, and the second would be that of the afterworld atmospheres that we’ll experience if we somehow manage to end up extinct. Even so, both paths seem to take a very positive vibe and there is no discernible ill will that I can detect on this album. Wollo seems to be demonstrating the sounds of what we could be and what we have the potential to be, rather than the more frightening aspects of who we are at current. Perhaps these records will come as a refreshing glass of water to those who are looking for something a little more calm, yet still upbeat enough to get them moving. Without a doubt, Wollo has done it again and there’s absolutely no stopping him. It’s easy to see why he is a master of electronic ambiance. Rating: 4.5 out of 5