A new album has been a long time coming from Norwegian musician Erik Wollo. His last work, Blue Sky, Red Guitars, dating back to 2004 is the only one I was familiar with until now. In comparison to its predecessor Elevations has been created by both synthesisers and guitars, the textures are more synthetic yet also incredibly evocative at the same time. The album and track titles suggest that Erik has a great appreciation for the natural world and this comes out in the emotional resonance felt throughout.
The slowly developing track ‘Elevation’ provides a peaceful introduction to the album. It begins with synthetic noises that drop into the soundscape and then echo off as though we're inside a partial cavern. Strange quivering noises like distorted bird sound flit about the backdrop while a rocking effect comes in with walking guitar notes and brief passages of eerie high pitched effects.
I can only describe the track ‘The Wanderer’ as superb. Cold gossamer washes and subtly resonant drones start the piece off before layered percussion and soul tugging melodies come in to fill out the soundscape. Part way through a melody like stretched silvery curtains reaches a poignant crescendo. For me this track created a vision of an epic and lonely journey by a person inspired by stark yet beautiful scenery.
Acting as a kind of interlude is ‘Sphere – Into the Dream’ where gaseous washes rise and fall as imagined waves, while a slow tempo rhythm of shiny notes and synth refrains convey a feeling of understated wonder or majesty.
The lasting impression that Elevations made on me is of unexpected serenity. Despite the lively spirit of some tracks, overall it seems infused with a sense of peace and communion with the physical world. Indeed, it only took a few minutes of the first track to get me entranced by the atmospheric beauty of the music. Gorgeous sonic textures, graceful rhythms and melodies, plus top notch production make this essential listening for ambient and EM fans alike.
- Dene Bebbington, Melliflua