Posts Tagged ‘Erik Wollo’

Guitar Splendor in Echoes Top 25

February 26, 2014

Erik Wøllo and Mark McGuire bring guitars back to Echoes Top 25

TimelinesCDcoverErik Wøllo’s February CD of the MonthTimelines,  leads Echoes Top 25It’s a brilliant recording of layered guitar dreamscapes.  Following close behind is our soon-to-be March CD of the Month, Mark McGuire’s Progressive Rock epic, Along the Way.  You’ll be hearing more about this album soon.  No fewer than seven vocal albums populate the top ten slots including Priscilla Ahn’s This is Where We Are; Warpaint‘s self-titled album; Linnea Olsson’s cello songs, Ah!; the return of Aurah with  Summon the Sky; Gem Club’s hazy In Roses and Simon Emmerson’s Fresh Handmade Sound reinvention of The Beatles on A Hard Day’s Night Treatment.  That last one, sadly, is not actually out yet.  The rebroadcast of Pure Bathing Culture’s live set boosted their return to the top 25.  See the complete list below.


  1. Erik WolloTimelines (Projekt Records) iTUnes
  2. Priscilla AhnThis is Where We Are (SQE Music) iTUnes
  3. Linnea OlssonAh! (Universal UK) iTUnes
  4. Mark McGuireAlong the Way (Dead Oceans) iTUnes
  5. Fresh Handmade Collective – Fresh Handmade Sound: A Hard Day’s Night Treatment (Lush)
  6. KrusseldorfFractal World (Krusseldorf) iTUnes
  7. AurahSummon the Sky (Very Music) iTUnes
  8. WarpaintWarpaint (Rough Trade Us) iTUnes
  9. Gem ClubIn Roses (Hardly Art) iTUnes
  10. Pure Bathing CultureMoon Tide (Partisan Records) iTUnes
  11. Lost in the TreesPast Life (ANTI Records) iTUnes
  12. Blow Up HollywoodBlue Sky Blond (Blow Up Hollywood) iTUnes
  13. All India RadioFall Remixes (All India Radio) iTUnes
  14. LarkenlyreMusic of the Extraordinary Voyages (Cynelic Gast Music) iTUnes
  15. Kristin HoffmannThe Human Compass (Starr Records) iTUnes
  16. Olivier LibauxUncovered Queens of the Stone Age (Music For Music Lovers) iTUnes
  17. DarksidePsychic (Matador Records) iTunes
  18. Tonight SkyTonight Sky (Tonight Sky) iTunes
  19. Juliette CommagereHuman (Aeronaut Records) iTunes
  20. Muriel AndersonNightlight Daylight (Muriel Anderson)
  21. David Helpling & Jon JenkinsFound (Spotted Peccary) iTunes
  22. BluetechSpacehop Chronicles Vol. 1 (Native State Records) iTunes
  23. James HoodCeremony (Edible Sounds) iTunes
  24. Banco de GaiaMaya (Disco Gecko Recordings) iTunes
  25. Divine MatrixHydrosphere (AD Music) iTunes

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.


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Erik Wøllo’s Timelines: Echoes February CD of the Month

February 3, 2014

Erik Wøllo’s Timelines
Echoes February CD of the Month

It’s a cliché, I know, but as soon as an Erik Wøllo album starts,
yoTimelinesCDcoveru know you are on a journey.  It’s like the moments before take-off, only Wøllo’s ascent doesn’t throw you back in your seat with G-Force thrust.  It’s a gentle rise into euphoric space. Timelines is a beautifully sculpted example of that.

Wøllo is a Norwegian musician who has been recording since 1984, releasing 18 solo albums in that span plus collaborations with musicians like Steve Roach, Ian Boddy and Kouame Sereba. From his 1988 album Traces (recently reissued on Spotted Peccary Records along with other Wøllo titles) Wøllo showed a command of detailed orchestrations and dramatic melodies. A guitarist and keyboardist, both elements come together in intricate and unexpected ways on Timelines.

Erik Wollo Live on Echoes 2010

Erik Wollo Live on Echoes 2010

Wøllo’s recent albums, Silent Currents and Airborne, have taken him into the drone zone inhabited by Steve Roach, but Timelines is a return to form for this guitarist who is more at home in a world of melody.  But you can hear those abstract influences in his electronic percussion palette which reflects the influence of his collaborations with Roach on Streams of Thought and Road Eternal.

The central core of this album is acoustic guitar, on which Wøllo composed all of the tracks, except I suspect, the spacey closer, “Ocean.”  On “Blue Rondo,” an acoustic guitar arpeggio seems to reveal itself out of an electronic swirl, merging with glurpy water drip electronic percussion, soaring synth pads and growling electric guitar drones before evolving into a gently percussive piece with some searing ebow guitar leads.

Erik Wollo Live on Echoes 2010

Erik Wollo Live on Echoes 2010

“Visions” is the centerpiece of the album, a slowly building work of interlocked percussion, electronic cycles and that ebow guitar that seems to emerge like a stealth bomber out of the storm clouds. Maybe that imagery is a little foreboding, but that’s what draws me to Wøllos music.  A track like “Along the Journey” could be a gentle walk through a Norwegian forest and easily devolve into New Age prettiness.  But throughout the walk, Wøllo has ambient atmospheres swirling at the edges, leaving them unfocused and mysterious.  There’s a darkness that balances the light, a dark undertow that serves to put his melodies in beautiful bas relief.  And then of course, there’s the thudding percussion and spiraling ebow solo that reveals this is no country walk.

Erik Wøllo has had a few CD of the Month picks in the past.  It’s hard not to.  Time is suspended when you cross Erik Wøllo’s Timelines.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
Read more about Erik Wøllo
Gateway CD of the Month
Erik Wøllo & Steve Roach Interview

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.



LRC19-250pxJoin us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

It’s Christmas. Projekt Gets Ornamental.

September 18, 2012

Various Artists – Ornamental (A Projekt Holiday Collection)

I just got in my first Christmas album of the season and the tree-topper has been set high with Ornamental, a collection from the Projekt label.  Best known for their dark ambient and Goth recordings, as well as great electronic releases from Steve Roach and Erik Wollo, this is their latest incursion on holiday music.  They had previously released a series called Excelsis, of which the first, A Dark Noel, remains among the most distinctive and haunting seasonal albums ever.   With Ornamental, Projekt expands their seasonal pallet in a double CD that ranges from electronica to goth, space music to shoegaze, medieval to mystical.

It launches with the corniest Christmas tune possible, “Frosty the Snowman,” but Paulina Cassidy turns it into snow shrouded  electronica dream.  It makes a perfect entry into the vertiginous holiday soundscape of Ornamental,  although she’s a little less successful on her other two entries.

Anji Bee & Ryan Lum of LoveSpirals

There are a lot of post-Cocteau Twins shoegazer ruminations on the album.  Autumn’s Grey Solace swirls sparkling snow flurries around “Through the Snowy Trees” and Ashkelon Sain & the Dorian Fields turn “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” into a moody  My Bloody Valentine-like ode to a bleak winter.  Unto Ashes delivers their post-Cocteau Twin’s sound upon “King of Frost” sounding like medieval shoegaze troubadours.  LoveSpirals, who had a couple of my favorite Excelsis songs, (“Welcome Christmas” in their Love Spirals Downwards edition and “Aspen Glow” as LoveSpirals) return with another evocative seasonal song, an original called “Happy Holidays” featuring Anji Bee, who sings it with sophisticated élan,  like she’s casting knowing glances over her shoulder against Ryan Lum’s chiming guitars.

The two discs of Ornamental are divided into the “Traditionals” and the “Non-Traditionals.”  The Non-Traditional disc opens with a song from the score of the ultimate Christmas album for hipsters, the “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence,” soundtrack.  But Ornamental goes deeper than the oft-covered title track and play “Forbidden Colours,” composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto and  David Sylvian.  Black Tape for a Blue Girl, the band headed by Projekt label head Sam Rosenthal, delivers it with their usual funereal, vampire dirge.

Some don’t make it.  Maroulis, Koehn and Mooney’s “Ave Maria” is ponderous gothic chant; Ego Likeness’ “What Child Is this” is clichéd goth spookiness; and The Last Duchess’s “Cradle Song” is a lot of echo and reverb signifying nothing. But there’s also the contrast of All My Faith’s Lost delicate, folk reading of “In the Bleak Midwinter” with KatzKab who take “My Sad Wishlist” on a girl-group romp somewhere between the Shangri-Las and The Waitresses.

Erik Wøllo in Echoes Living Room

Norwegian synth-guitarist Erik Wøllo pretty much drips icicles on almost anything he’s recorded over the last 3 decades.  Whenever he comes through Echoes, we always try to get a seasonal set out of him and he graciously obliges.  He does it here with a pair of sparkling “Crystal Bell’s that close Ornamental in a meditative fashion.

I’ve been begging for musicians to create a different kind of seasonal music besides the rote rendering of the same 25 or so holiday chestnuts over-roasted on an open fire.  Projekt has been fulfilling that since 1995 with ExcelsisOrnamental takes them in a slightly less gothic and doom-laden mode and makes it a likely pick for the best seasonal CD of 2012, if your tastes in seasonal music heads towards the abyss.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineNow you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line.  Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

You get great CDs like Dead Can Dance’s  Anastasis  by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Follow the link and see what you’ve been missing.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours, or Brian Eno releases a new CD

Philadelphia Concerts & Win Free Sakamoto Tix

October 8, 2010

Philadelphia’s Concert scene is heating up as the weather cools down.  Here’s some of the concert appearances  in the next 9 days with a lot of Echoes artists coming in.   See Ryuichi Sakamoto listing below to win a free pair of tix and his new double CD Playing the Piano/Out of Noise.

Guitar Masters
Matthew Shipp

Portico Quartet
This was a fine, but poorly attended concert.  Read what you missed here:

*******THIS WEEK*********



Peppino D'Agostino @ Echoes in SF


W/Eric Johnson, Andy McKee and Peppino D’Agostino.
Weds, October 13
Colonial Theater, Phoenixville
A trio of great guitar players in solo sets.  Peppino D’Agostino is an Italian guitarist purveying delicate finger-style compositions.  Andy McKee is from the new generation of tapping guitarists and has made quite a name for himself.  Eric Johnson is better known in metal circles, but I’m assuming he’ll unplug for this.

Friday, October 15, 8pm
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street
$12 General Admission
One of the true giants of contemporary jazz piano, Matthew Shipp brings an enveloping sense of melody, a architect’s sense of space, (if the architect is Gehry) and an explorers sense of adventure.  Not to be missed.


Wollo @ Echoes


Sat. October 16
The Gatherings
St. Mary’s Church, West Philadelphia
Erik Wollo has had more Echoes CD of the Month selections than anybody, including his last album, Gateway.   And Philly has gotten to hear him live more than any city in the country.  He returns, playing new music for space guitar and synthesizers.  This will be the recommended concert next week.


Sakamoto @ Echoes Concert


Sunday, Oct 17 7:00p
Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA
Ryuichi Sakamoto is a legend of eclectism and an artist who musicians always seem to love.  He’ll play the Keswick performing a solo, acoustic piano set.  You can get a preview of this Monday night on Echoes when he plays live on the show.
***Win tickets to see this concert and Sakamoto’s new album, Playing the Piano/Out of Noise

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes Top 25 for June: Erik Wollo’s Gateway #1.

July 1, 2010

Erik Wollo’s Gateway, our June CD of the Month, leads the way for the Echoes Top 25 for June.

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Erik Wollo’s Gateway tops the Echoes Top 25 for June.  That’s no surprise since it was the Echoes CD of the Month.   But following right behind it is Carbon Based Lifeforms and Interloper, another great album of darkly shadowed, melodically rich music from this Swedish duo and the French Ultimae label.  And don’t look now, but next month’s Number One album can already be found at Number 3 this month, Carmen Rizzo’s CD of lush electronica, Looking Through Leaves.

You can see the complete list of Echoes Top 25 for June.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Erik Wollo’s Gateway Echoes CD of the Month for June.

June 2, 2010

Veteran Norwegian Composer places 4th Echoes CD of the Month.
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Erik Wollo is an architect of ambience, a poet of electronic landscapes.  Employing “cinematic” as an adjective for this music is a tiresome cliche, and it’s been applied to everything Wollo has recorded.  Yet, on his latest CD, Gateway, There’s no denying the way his sends you piloting down canyons, soaring between mountains and launching on trajectories somewhere toward the heavens. Put the title track of Gateway on loud while driving, and your car won’t be the only thing on cruise control as Wollo’s music turns an everyday commute into a fantasy journey.

On songs like “Life in Technicolor,” groups like Coldplay try (with the help of Jon Hopkins) to attain the same kind of timeless, shifting mood that is Erik Wollo’s stock in trade. And like them, Erik Wollo brings a minimalist’s sense of austerity and design to expansive synthesizer orchestrations on the heroic strains of “The Traveler.”  It’s that perfect Wollo mix of ping-ponging electronic rhythms and melodic pads that sweep in searchlight patterns.

With all the electronics, it’s almost easy to forget that Wollo is a gifted guitarist.  Most of the music is generated from a guitar or guitar synthesizer.  He can make his six strings sound like an electronic symphony and on the highly ambient tracks that conclude the album, like “The Mental Trail” and “Full Circle,” it sounds nothing like a guitar at all in their glacial motion and vast, horizon-like textures.  But on pieces like “First Arrival” he can also pull out twanged liquid leads.

Erik Wollo manages to synthesize influences from Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd to Steve Reich and modern electronica.  But as one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary instrumental music, he’s truly morphed these sounds into a image evoking modality that is wholly his own.  Step through Erik Wollo’s Gateway and you’ll see his world revealed.

Gateway is the Echoes May CD of the Month.  We’ll be featuring several tracks from it on Monday, June 7 and the following weekend.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

~John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Echoes On LineStoriesSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Rhian Sheehan’s  Stories from Elsewhere Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line.  Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album.

Echo Location: Steve Roach & Erik Wollo

March 17, 2009

Steve Roach & Erik Wollo: A Norwegian ambient artist descends in the Arizona Desert.

You can hear an audio version of this blog, with music.

Stream of Thought Steve Roach lives on a horse ranch in Arizona, surrounded by saguaro cactus and 100 degree plus heat.  Erik Wollo lives in Norway surrounded by mountains, snow and nights that can last the entire day.  Their musical landscapes aren’t that similar either. Erik Wollo, composes plaintively melodic music, conceived around his guitars and electronics.  Steve Roach on the other hand, has built his reputation on expansive, slowly evolving works, with roiling textures usually free of obvious melodies. Yet, the two musicians got together on a  CD called Steve Roach 2003, Stream of Thought, on which they’ve found a meeting ground between melody and mood.
“I mean I love melodic music,” confesses Roach, speaking from his Timeroom studio in Arizona.  “I don’t necessarily want to be creating it at that level like the way Erik’s music is really constructed from very strong melodic senses.”

Erik Wollo Echoes Studio

Erik Wollo Echoes Studio

“And for me it’s probably one of the most non-melodic albums,” counters Erik Wollo from his Frederikstad studio.
Roach and Wollo have been mutual fans for years.  Wollo remembers first hearing Roach’s Dreamtime Return release.
“It was very inspiring,” he admits.  “I had it on the whole day, I remember, for a longtime.”
Roach was already familiar with Wollo’s music, tracking down obscure import releases like Traces.  “I heard Traces on vinyl back in the early 80s,” he recalls. “It is still one of my top 10 albums.  There is just an elegant really efficient and emotional quality about it that just holds up to me right now.  A timeless kind of feeling to it.”
You might not pick it up on first listen, but the initial inspiration for Stream of Thought came from driving.  After their first meeting in 2004, the musicians spent a couple of years sending music ideas back and forth to each other.
“Erik had sent me materiel for an album originally called “Music for Cars,” says Roach.
“I have his music in my car and he has my music in his car,” says Wollo.
That driving music evolved into Stream of Thought.  It is at once expansive and detailed.  In a fashion atypical of Roach, it’s composed of short vignettes and motifs that crossfade into a continuous work.  It launches with Wollo plucking multiple mandolins in a rapid, Reichian fashion as Roach brings in swirling pads and before you know it, your off into a work that swerves from rhythmically driving acid drops in “Part Two” to gently floating guitar arpeggios in “Part 9.”   The fact that Wollo is a guitarist as well as a synthesist lends Stream of Thought more melodic contour than you’ll usually hear from Roach.  And Roach brought in his reignited passion for analog synthesizers and sequencer patterns. Although Steve Roach and Erik Wollo travel in different music spheres, they each pass through space, electronic and ambient terrain.  When they got together in Roach’s Arizona studio for the final sessions of the album, they fell into synchronous orbits.
“It was great working together because we have a similar kind of approach it feels,” enthuses Roach.  “Just the way we focus in and really, not a lot of words and really focusing on the sound.”
“Actually we felt very free,” says Wollo. “We became one brain over there.”
You can hear the merged minds and music of Steve Roach and Erik Wollo on their album, Stream of Thought from the Projekt label.  We’ll hear an interview with the two musicians on Echoes Monday 3/23/09.  This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.  To listen to an audio version of this blog with music, go here.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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