Author Topic: My review of "Different Spaces" 2xCD by Erik W°llo  (Read 930 times)


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My review of "Different Spaces" 2xCD by Erik W°llo
« on: August 06, 2017, 11:29:43 PM »

Erik W°llo "Different Spaces" 2xCD

Erik W°llo, 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 W÷stheinrich, 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 "Starĺs End 2015 (Silent Currents 4)" were released during this period of time. However, during 2016 Erik W°llo 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 SnŠfellsnes 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 W°llo'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 W°llo 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 W°llo!!! "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 W°llo!!! "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 W°llo 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 W°llo. 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 W°llo 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 GŘrtler (Aug 06, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)