Exposé Online banner

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

by Paul Hightower, 2015-07-14:

Tundra Cover art

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.


by Henry Schneider, 2014-10-21:

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.


Filed under: New releases , 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Erik Wøllo

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

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Procosmian Fannyfiddlers - Requiem Fatigue – Sweet voices and guitars start off the Procosmian Fannyfiddlers eighth CD, Requiem Fatigue. The band calls their style burlesque progressive rock, and that's pretty accurate. The tales told here are...  (2011) » Read more

Red Pocket - Thick – Fans of the wonderful Charming Hostess can now rejoice. While this is not a Charming Hostess album, it does feature Jewlia Eisenberg in a somewhat similar setting. Her vocal foil for this outing is...  (2005) » Read more

Earthling Society - Beauty and the Beast – Beauty and the Beast is British based Earthling Society’s fourth full-length release, and seems to authentically capture that swirling heady psychedelic space rock sound out of an earlier era,...  (2008) » Read more

Annie Haslam's Renaissance - Blessing in Disguise – Annie Haslam's third solo outing is about the best set of songs she's recorded since her last work with the band whose name is referenced in the title (though I'm not really certain why)....  (1996) » Read more

Renaissance - At the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – It is with great pleasure that I announce Renaissance live at the Royal Albert Hall with Orchestra. Recorded live on the King Biscuit Flower Hour on October 14, 1977, this is a far better album than...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues