2015 Projekt PRO314 (CD)
As a bridge leading to a new uncharted continent, Erik W°llo's BLUE RADIANCE transports the listener along innovative, shimmering and sonorous musical pathways. The nineteenth solo album from this renowned Norwegian ambient/electronic artist continues to develop and refine his masterfully crafted soundworld into an intensely detailed fusion of elegant compositions and deep atmospherics.
Built around catchy and accessible melodies and rhythms, BLUE RADIANCE's eleven new compositions feature sophisticated and engaging waves of W°llo's trademark processed electric guitar, occasional acoustic guitars, synthesizers and percussion. Striking, varied, and deeply emotional, the tracks open up when the guitar surfaces out of the swirls, revealing soul-stirring themes rich with melancholy and hope. It's that interplay -- the contrast of the lead lines with the washes of sound and minimal piano -- which make for an intensely powerful listening experience.
John Diliberto of Echoes Radio wrote of W°llo's previous album Timelines: "Recording since 1983, releasing 18 solo albums in that span plus collaborations with musicians like Steve Roach, Ian Boddy and Kouame Sereba, W°llo shows a command of detailed orchestrations and dramatic melodies...(this) could be a gentle walk through a Norwegian forest and easily devolve into New Age prettiness. But throughout the walk, W°llo 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 solos that reveals this is no country walk."
The album's most active pieces are built upon arcs of rhythm and layers of sequencer patterns -- with W°llo's lead lines setting the pace. "Revealed in Time," "Pathway" and "Osmosis" all have dramatic percussive punctuations with pulsating arpeggios and deep analog bass. The etheral tracks "BLUE RADIANCE," "Moon Above" and "Crystal Orbits" soar and dive in open, airy sections that stretch through time. These quiet, introspective and slowly unfolding pieces have a musical vastness of space, highly lush and expansive washes, powerfully evocative and soothing translucence. "Sepia" is more acoustic, featuring guitars and piano which evoke a warm nostalgia: an organic sonic texture contrasted with long and elegant guitar EBow lines. "Earth Sky" closes this journey with beautifully hazy synth swells added with distant soaring guitar voices. An utterly suspended, lyrical and sublime outro.
Hypnagogue wrote about Timelines: "... as always it's a very pleasant place to visit. Emotional and filled with sonic imagery, it absolutely demands repeat listens. Superb work from a true master of the craft."
The album title BLUE RADIANCE suggests music from the blue and icy tone spectrum: from the darker blue to the almost snowy white. The striking album cover image by Michał Klimczak depicts a bridge headed into another land, a metaphor for the music which carries the listener to the unknown. BLUE RADIANCE is an album highlighting W°llo's extraordinary luminous mastery.