Exposé Online banner

Erik Wøllo — Tundra
(Projekt 306, 2014, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2014-10-21:

Tundra Cover art

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.


by Paul Hightower, 2015-07-14:

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.


Filed under: New releases , 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Erik Wøllo

More info
http://projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/tundra-ep

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ruby - Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool + Altered & Proud – A whole new genre has developed since about 1995, one that consists basically of a soft-voiced female singer and a programmer / keyboardist / arranger. It probably started with Portishead, then grew...  (2001) » Read more

Alfredo Tisocco - Kátharsis, Ritagli d'Anima & Ballet Collection – Alfredo Tisocco's solo career apart from Opus Avantra, began in 1975 with the release of Kátharsis (originally released as Artis ARCD 005), a lengthy piece for modern dance, generally more...  (1995) » Read more

Sugarwood - Catch a Breeze and Fly & Love, Loss & Carparks – Sugarwood have been kicking around parts of the UK for a few years now, and seem to have gathered a following (if internet activity is any indication). They fit in more or less with the current...  (2000) » Read more

William Parker Quartet - Sound Unity – Upright bass icon William Parker has the consistent ability to surround himself with talent, purpose, and purity of vision. Together with drummer Hamid Drake (also one of the stable of the Thirsty...  (2006) » Read more

Free Access - Yu Pretty But Yu Kian Come In – I was initially a bit surprised when I saw that this band was from Cuba, not a country known for its prog rock. I was immediately won over, though, once I heard what they could put down. What Free...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues