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Erik Wøllo — The Shape of Time
(Projekt no#, 2023, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-02-11

The Shape of Time Cover art

I’ve spent several decades trying to appreciate whatever it is that Norwegian composer and multi-instrumentalist Erik Wøllo is doing, following him from label to label (Origo, Eurock, Monumental, Spotted Peccary, Projekt, and others) but it’s always been a mystery why a very skilled guitarist like himself would essentially abandon that instrument and instead use it only as trigger for synthesizers. Certainly he makes beautiful sounds in that mode, gracefully flowing edifices of softness and color, shimmering pillars of light and shadows, swirling mesmerizing pillows of sound that blossom with delicate beauty leaving a powerful effect on the listener. But I had to go all the way back to his first album to find guitar sounds that sound like a guitar — that wonderful release where it all first began. Wøllo’s appearance at Soundquest Fest 2021 was certainly something that helped this listener come to a better understanding of his process of compositional creation, which has further informed my appreciation of his craft. The album at hand, The Shape of Time, seems to be geared toward a perceived observation of the passage of time, short term (days or years) or long term (epochs), though the composer’s intent could be just about anything; the music likely emerged well before the titles like “Le Paysage,” “Runestones,” or the two-part title track, but like all of Wøllo’s releases of late, there seems to be an abundance of searching and reaching out, a quest for beauty and brilliance in the emergent building blocks of sound creation. The music floats and wanders, sometimes bubbles softly with gentle or percussive sequences, sometimes dancing like sprites in the night sky, there’s even a beautiful and inspired acoustic guitar solo during “Midnight Sun,” backed by a swirling blanket of colorful starlight. The gently simmering “Blue Epilogue,” with its percussion loop, sounds like it should be the final track (with a title like that), but it isn’t, instead leading into the appropriately titled “Slow Swirl,” a powerful ending to this epic journey.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Erik Wøllo

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