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Erik Wøllo — Sojourns
(Projekt no#, 2022, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-02-11

Sojourns Cover art

For those who have followed Erik Wøllo from the beginning in the early 80s, his origins as a jazz guitarist were extremely impressive but only the first step of a very long trajectory, which has, since his third album Traces, been steeped in ambient elements, the art of composing on electric guitar in a way that doesn’t sound much like a guitar at all, instead more like a synthesizer, due to the heavy use of all kinds of effects and loops. It was at least another seven years before what he was doing began to make sense to me and eventually touch my soul. But what really opened my ears and eyes was seeing his performance at Soundquest Fest 2021, forever preserved on his album Winter Tide — the hour-long video of the entire performance is still floating around out on the internet, and worth tracking down. Here at the beginning of 2022, three albums and less than one year later, Wøllo presents his latest endeavor, a wonderful shimmering ten-track album titled Sojourns, each piece serving as a powerful image in an ongoing journey, where the listener’s mind can wander freely. No two pieces are alike; each has its own character and ability to spark the imagination in an entirely new way. The opener, “Memory Waves,” simply floats between a few lush chords, with layers and layers of sound painting a vivid picture in the listener’s mind. “Sojourn 1” carries on from where the opener ends; colorful soaring sounds exist within a backdrop of swirling textural sequiences, and light percussion is introduced to the set, although the percussion-free floating beauty of the piece’s last few minutes truly offers a complete and dramatic escape. “Sojourn 2” comes much later in the program, and bears little resemblance to the first part, other than in some general terms, the percussion here seems more of a sequenced synth beat floating inside a maelstrom of beautiful sounds. The appropriately tiled “Sound and Shadows” finds its way through a web of mysterious cavernous floating drifts, while gently sweeping sonic clouds surround the repeating notes that ring out in the memorable “Peace Bells.” A sense of peace, calm, and diffusion imbue the listener along the path on “Gravity.” Every piece on Sojourns paints a new image that a listener can easily get lost within.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Erik Wøllo

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