Live at the Ambient Ping, Toronto 2003 (photo by Jamie Todd)


CONCERT REVIEWS

Ian Boddy and Erik Wøllo at Electronic Circus September 22/2012 (Guterslo, Germany):

Nach zwei wunderbaren Konzerten presentierte der electronic circus mit der Kollaboration des Briten Ian Boddy und dem
Norweger Erik Wøllo ein weiteres Highlight des Tages. Die beiden Musiker haben bisher zusammen eine CD unter dem Titel
"Frontiers" herausgebracht, die in diesem Jahr erschienen ist. Das Album spielten sie mit Ausnahme des Stuckes "Shelter"
komplett. Daneben hatten sie auch noch drei weitere Tracks im Programm. Beide Musiker, die fur sich schon zu den besten
der Szene zehlen (Ian Boddy entwickelt immer wieder die hypnotischsten Rhythmen und neben Erik Wøllo gibt es - ausser
vielleicht dem Amerikaner Mark Dwane - keinen anderen, der so eine atmospherische Gitarre spielen kann), ergenzen sich
im Duo perfekt. Das zeigten die beiden bei ihrem Gig in Gutersloh auf eindrucksvolle Weise. Dieser Auftritt war der erste,
den die beiden Musiker gemeinsam auf der Buhne bestritten und stellte somit eine weitere Premiere dar.

Die Stucke in ihrem Set wechselten zwischen atmospherischen und wiederum recht rhythmischen Passagen. Und auch Erik
verliess sich nicht ganz auf seine schwebenden Gitarrenklenge sondern griff zwischendurch auch recht rhythmisch in die
Saiten seiner Gitarre. Die Tracks hatten Ian und Erik zum gršssten Teil ineinander verwoben, so dass vor allem die Stucke
von "Frontiers" - wie auch auf dem Album - wie ein einzelner Longtrack erschienen. So zeigte sich nach dem Stuck "Vista" im folgenden "Trek" ein Sound, der an eisige Wintersturme erinnerte, auf dem dann herrliche Sequenzen ausgebreitet wurden. Es entwickelte sich eine hypnotische Atmosphere voller magischer Momente. So spielte Erik beispielsweise in "Steppe" eine
unglaubliche Gitarrenpassage, die unter die Haut ging. Das rhythmische Titelstuck der CD "Frontiers" beendete dann als
Zugabe das herausragende Konzert des britischen/norwegischen Duos.

Die Musik von Boddy / Wøllo war so intensiv, das man sich všllig aus dieser Welt entruckt fuhlte. Und auch die beiden
Musiker schienen dies so zu empfinden, denn sie spielten sich fšrmlich in einen Rausch aus atmospherischen Klengen in
denen sie selber aufgingen. Nach der Show meinten sie, dass sie sich gegenseitig hochgeschaukelt hetten. Das Publikum
konnte deutlich erkennen, dass beide an diesem Abend zur Hšchstleistung aufliefen, so perfekt kamen die Sounds und
Klenge zusammen. Selten erlebt man solche intensiven Momente.

Die beiden hatten kein Filmmaterial mitgebracht, weil sie sich ganz auf ihre Musik konzentrieren wollten. Allerdings wurden
sie gefilmt und die Liveaufnahmen dann direkt auf die ruckwertige Leinwand projiziert. So konnte man schšn erkennen,
wie Ian Boddy an den schwarz/weissen Tasten agierte und auch an seinen elektronischen Gereten ein ums andere Mal
rumschraubte, was die unglaublichsten Sounds ergab. Boddy und Wøllo lieferten einen sensationellen Gig ab, der keine
Wunsche offen liess.
Stephan Schelle





LIVE at Bochum, March 10 2012 (Germany):

Aus Norwegen war Erik Wøllo angereist, um einen gut 30 minutigen Set zu spielen. Erik hatte vier Stucke im Programm,
die ineinander verwoben waren, so dass der Gig wie ein einziger Longtrack wirkte. Neben zwei bereits veršffentlichten
Stucken, darunter auch ein gerade erst als Download veršffentlichtes Stuck einer EP, hatte er zwei bisher unveršffentlichte
Tracks dabei, die derzeit noch einen Arbeitstitel tragen.

Erik zauberte dabei auf seinem Gitarrensynthie wieder die wunderbarsten atmospharischen Klangmotive, wahrend
Rhythmussequenzen und Synthiespuren aus dem Rechner kamen. Das war insofern sehr schšn anzusehen, da sich Erik nicht hinter Keyboards oder Rechnern verschanzte, sondern stehend an der Gitarre agierte. Dazu wurden sehr schšne Animationen an die Kuppeldecke geworfen. Beim eršffnenden "Nocturne 2" etwa schwebte ein riesiger Globus unter der Kuppel, darauf
folgte eine Art Mondlandschaft in einer 380 Grad-Variante. Auch waren spater einige durchsichtige Kugeln, die eine Mixtur aus Planeten und Einzellern darzustellen schienen, schwebend durch einen Sternenhimmel zu bewundern. Das war schon sehr toll anzusehen.

Zum Ende des Konzertes holte sich Erik dann noch den belgischen Elektronikmusiker Frank van Bogaert auf die Buhne,
der mit ihm zusammen dann das Stuck "The Windharp" spielte. Diese Kollaboration wurde dann beim van Bogaert-Konzert
fortgefuhrt. Visuell begleiteten die beiden unter anderem riesige, sich bewegende Gaswolken.

Erik lieferte wie gewohnt einen sehr atmospharischen Gig, in dessen Musik man sich verlieren konnte. Er setzte absolut
perfekt seine Gitarrenlicks. Ein Stuck wie "Ataraxia 2" kann wohl au§er dem Norweger nur noch der Amerikaner Mark Dwane
spielen. Ein toller Konzertauftrakt im Rahmen der Schallwelle-Preisverleihung.
Stephan Schelle





E-DAY
Oirschot - The Netherlands - 04/16/2011


Second main act of the day was Erik Wøllo. After Remy, who opened the festival, the event went on with the Norwegian
electronic musician and guitarist Erik Wøllo. Erik had some pre-programmed sequences, on which he added his atmospheric guitarwork and keyboard in real time. That was absolutely fascinating, especially because the music was a long continous
piece and he managed to create a great one hour uniform atmosphere. And even to watch him, was a true joy. You could
see Erik, how much feeling he approached to the performance. The sounds seemed to be transfered from his fingers or his body to his guitar.

The first hour consisted of well known material from his latest album "Gateway". He then presented a long encore with new
music that is not released yet. Erik controlled hypnotic beats and layered sounds and effects from his computer in his set.
to which he played and added great atmospheric sounds from his electric guitar. Also you could see how he triggered and
activated programmed sounds , always in dialogue with the sequences. As a direct response to the moments notice.
There are hardly any other musician who can conjure up such sounds from his instruments strings.
His music was just fantastic.

Electronic music, but in Erik's guitar work you could hear influencec from rock and blues-inspired passages. And sounds and
melodies reminiscent of progressive rock like Pink Floyd were to hear from the set. Also Erik incorporated natural recorded
sounds. Sounds that sometimes resembled of a wind chime for example.

The individual pieces of the set were all seamlessly weaved into one another, so that the gig was like one long track.
Accompanied by the music show was a very appealing video background. Slowly animated graphics and landscapes,
sometimes with snow capped mountains. These nordic or arctic landscapes did fit perfectly with the deep atmospheric music.
(Google translation from german)

- musikzirkus-magazin by Stephan Schelle, 17/04/2011




 
ELECTRONIC CIRCUS
Festival for electronic music in
Bielefeld, Germany - 12.09.2009
(www.electronic-circus.net)




This year in September the second Electronic Circus festival was held in Germany; a true electronic party covering almost
every part of the musical spectrum. A unique gathering of artists and a wide range of visitors who found their way to the
Electronic Circus held in one of my favourite venues; the Movie in Bielefeld.

Norwegian Wood
Fourth act was reserved for mr. Erik Wøllo, Scandinavian multi-instrumentalist with a huge record of service and one of
the most experienced musicians in this scene. While preparing my musical journey to Germany I played Wøllo's music and
his compositions really struck me. The subtility in his music doesn't seem to have any borders. This gifted artist is
"painting" music all over and for those who didn't see him before I can assure you that his live appearance was even
better than the original recordings. The way he touches the guitar makes it feel like the instrument comes alive.
For me the highlight of Electronic Circus 2009.

A bonus was offered by the duo Erik Wøllo and Bernhard Wöstheinrich; another multi-instrumentalist who for this
occasion played an ethnic instrument, the zyther. An interesting combination of acoustic and electronic music followed
and left us with a sense of satisfaction.
by Koos van Wijngaarden
(www.planetorigo.com)



Der nächste, der die Bühne betrat, war der aus Norwegen stammende Keyboarder und Gitarrist Erik Wøllo, für den der
Auftritt in Bielefeld sein Deutschlanddebüt darstellte. Vor Jahren hatte ich Erik schon in den Niederlanden beim E-Day
gesehen. Schon mit dem damaligen Auftritt hatte er mich komplett überzeugt und diese Meinung unterlegte er mit seinem
Auftritt in Bielefeld aufs Neue.

Erik war zunächst allein auf der Bühne und präsentierte seine sehr sphärische, melodische teils unter die Haut gehende
Musik, in dem er einige Sounds, Rhythmen und Synthiestimmen aus seinen Computern und Synthies ablaufen ließ.
Den Hauptteil, nämlich die hinreißenden Melodien seiner Stücke, spielte er dann auf seiner Gitarre, die an einen Synthie
angeschlossen war und mit der er traumhafte Sounds zaubern konnte. Mit dieser Technik (er benutzt allerdings kein MIDI)
ist es ihm möglich, seine Gitarre nicht so hart klingen zu lassen sondern aus ihr unglaublich weiche Klänge hervor zu holen.
Ähnliche Sounds zaubert auch der amerikanische Musiker Mark Dwane aus seiner MIDI gesteuerten Gitarre.

In seinem Programm standen ältere, bereits veröffentlichte Stücke sowie bisher unveröffentlichtes Material.
Schon zu Beginn baute er eine dichte Atmosphäre auf, in der er sich selber zu verlieren schien, was man deutlich an
seiner Mimik erkennen konnte. Die Gänsehäute, die so manchem Zuschauer über den Rücken lief,
schienen auch bei Erik aufzukommen, so tief war er in seinen Stücken.

Die Sounds aus den Synthies und seiner Gitarre gingen eine innige Symbiose miteinander ein. Dabei ergänzten sich
beide Instrumente perfekt. Als visuelle Unterstützung hatte Erik im ersten Teil wunderbare Bilder (Filmmaterial),
die unter anderem vorbeiziehende Wolken oder Berggipfel zeigten, auf eine Leinwand projiziert. Bildmaterial und Musik
waren perfekt aufeinander abgestimmt, ohne dass die Bilder zu dominant wirkten. Als Erik dann einen Rhythmus aus dem
Instrumentarium los ließ, der den meisten Besuchern bekannt war, wurde es unruhig im Saal, er hatte nämlich eine
Coverversion eines bekannten deutschen Elektronikacts extra für dieses Festival mitgebracht. Es handelte sich um
„The Model“ von der Düsseldorfer Elektroniklegende Kraftwerk. Das Stück ist nicht der erste Titel, den er von Kraftwerk
gecovert hat. Auf seinem Album „Blue Sky, Red Guitars“ aus dem Jahr 2004 hat er bereits mit „Computerlove“ und
„In The Hall Of Mirrors“ zwei Stücke der Düsseldorfer, die er damals mit Akustikgitarre eingespielt hat, veröffentlicht.
Bei „The Model“ zauberte er aber mit seiner E-Gitarre über den Synthie eine tolle Version des bekannten Stückes.

Im letzten Teil seines Auftrittes kam dann noch sein Special Guest mit auf die Bühne. Im letzten Jahr hatte
Harald Großkopf zusammen mit Bernhard Wöstheinrich schon in Bielefeld auf der Bühne gestanden, nun gesellte sich
Bernhard zu Erik Wøllo. Bernhard unterstützte Erik dabei an seinem 'Z-Tarr' und einer EMU XL7, stilistisch blieben die
Stücke aber im bisher gehörten. Mit Erik’s Auftritt gab es eine weitere Steigerung des bis dahin schon guten Festivals.
by Stephan Schelle
(www.musikzirkus-magazin.de)





Electric Circus, Germany 2009. (photo by Stephan Schelle)
 

Bernhard Wöstheinrich and Erik Wøllo at Electric Circus (photo by Stephan Schelle)






E-LIVE 2007
Eindhoven, Holland
(www.e-live.groove.nl)



2007's electronic music festival in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, was my second visit to that festival, so this time I
knew what to expect, and also had something to compare with. It's the only festival of its kind in Europe. E-Live has two
main features; a stall area where record labels sell their products, and concerts in the auditorium. Some familiar labels were present, for example AD Music, Spheric Music, Manikin and Klangdesign, but also a couple of new labels; ModularWhite, and MellowJet (run by the well known artist Bernd Scholl, also present). Additionally, individual artists had their own stalls. The
stall area seemed quite busy and I believe there might have been more stalls this year than last year, and also the
audience seemed a little bigger, although Groove reports that around the same number of people turned up this year,
around 300-350. Perhaps people were just concentrated more in the same areas. At the AKH Records stall there was always
some buzz, as the French musician Francis Rimbert (of JM Jarre fame) was present to promote his new album, Snap Shots.
Fans got autographs, pictures and could chat with Francis, who was very friendly and smiling, and seemed to appreciate the
connection to the fans. There was no synthesizer room this year, which I guess was not missed much due to the tight
schedule between concerts. Personally, I always find it fun to tinker with synths (although I don't play them for real)
but perhaps this was just a priority by the organizers.

As for the concerts, the first one was by Maxxess, whose style of electronic is quite unique as he uses the guitar in a heavier fashion that many other electronic artists. In fact, his main instruments are both the guitar and the synths, so the guitar is
not just an exotic bonus in some tracks. After the first track, his main computer broke down and needed a reboot, which took several minutes, but the audience was relaxed and supportive, and laughed when Maxxess explained that he "needed to
check my email before I play another track". The concert then went on, with mostly fast-paced, bombastic tracks, some
rooted in the Berlin School tradition, and others of a more general melodic European style. On the screen behind the stage,
abstract fractal graphics were projected in sync with the music. The concert was basically playback with live guitar and some
live synth leads when the guitar was not played, but it struck me that the words of Jean Michel Jarre, "watching a man play
synths is not sexy" held true because when Maxxess did his guitar thing, the whole performance was more fun to watch than if he had been just one man behind a bank of synths. While the concert had great sound and there were some nice songs,
the diversity could have been greater, in order to show off more composition skills. As a musician, Maxxess is very talented but for my personal taste the compositions themselves could perhaps have more variation.

The next concert was by Erik Wøllo, the Norwegian synthesist and guitarist. His music is much softer and more symphonically crafted than Maxxess, and sometimes touches on ambient structures, sometimes classic euro-space-pop with hints of Jarre and Vangelis. His performance style includes playing synth sounds on the guitar, like an arctic Mike Oldfield, but also playing themes on the keyboards. Wøllo had a custom made movie showing on the screen, depicting various mountains, plateaus,
landscapes, flights above clouds, etc. Very simple and clean images that perfectly fit the relaxed energy of Wøllo's music.
Towards the end of the concert he played his version of Kraftwerk's The Model, which was rewarded by intense cheering from the audience. In my opinion, Erik's personal and emotional music made for the best concert this evening.

The third and last concert in the auditorium was by ARC, a UK duo with two legends, Mark Shreeve and Ian Boddy.
These very skilled keyboard players were highly anticipated by the audience, and played a set of tracks that went from Berlin
School-esque via semi-new age to melodic tunes. The tracks were interlinked, flowing from one to the next seamlessly. The two musicians, being the only keyboard duo on the main stage this night, were very well rehearsed and played as if their four hands were controlled by one brain! There were no visuals to accompany the music, and no performance gimmick either,
so you could close your eyes and just listen to the music. The final song, an old Shreeve classic from the 80s, brought about a great reaction from the crowd, who demanded an encore, and got it! The ARC concert was very professional, and had the
best single song of the day, but the overall concert was slightly predictable in terms of songs and styles. How about an
improvisional section or going bonkers with an unexpected track, like Wøllo did?

To sum up the concerts; Maxxess had the best live performance, Erik Wøllo had the overall best music and visuals, and ARC had the best keyboard playing and the best song of the day. All in all, the three acts complemented eachother and each
offered something different than the others. (The fourth act, Suryia, was not possible to be seen or heard by me, due to
meetings.) E-Live 2007 was another good day for fans of electronic music. It was perfectly organized, offered good concerts
included in the admission ticket, and you get to stock up on lots and lots of music. If I should whish for a change in the
festival for 2008, perhaps they could add some workshops or master speeches or Q&As with the artists.
by Glenn Folkvord
(Planet Origo)




E-Live Festival at Eindhoven, Holland 2007





THE GATHERING
2002
Philadelphia, USA
(www.thegatherings.org)


As the doors opened my fear for the size of the turnout flew away. Why would I have doubted the Gatherings crowd to
support the artists? What with the well know names that frequent St. Mary's altar, the attendance of this show and the
standing ovation given to Erik Wollo at the end of the night should mean that much more.

I must say that I was not that familiar with his sound but felt as thought I got to know the essence of Erik's work at
the Gathering. Through what seemed to be two very well thought out sets, he was able to demonstrate his talents
with synthesizers as well as his unique approach to the guitar. He gracefully moved the sound of his guitar in and out
of synthesized and natural clean tones. A conservative approach to his art created a comfortable yet engaging night of
music. John Diliberto open the show with remarks about fjords and big landscapes, but Erik seemed to have began
there and took us to new places. The pieces selected were rather short in length and sometimes a little abrupt in the
endings, but never boring or predictable - always turning corners and opening new doors. With minimal visual or
lighting effects the audience was left to create there own visions. He returned for an encore that was like a third set
packed into a brief period of time.

All in all, two hours of invigorating music created a night to remember for all who were there. Thank you Erik.
by Bill Forcier




Soma611:
A steady rain droned loudly on the pavement outdoors here, at home, at 2am last night, enhancing the sedative effect of
another Star's End broadcast. I would not be long for the world. I also had my concerns for Chuck van Zyl. While leaving St.
Mary's a few hours before, we passed by Chuck and, after sharing praise for Erik Wollo's splendid
Gathering performance, he confessed that a long day at work combined with Gathering day preparations had left him longing for sleep. One could tell. Yet, only after helping empty out the cathedral, Chuck would soon be on-the-air
delivering his five hour Star's End broadcast.

This is why I nearly panicked during the first hour of his show last night. Fighting my own case of the sleepies, I was
jarred back to my senses hearing the sound of heavy snoring filtering through my radio speakers. Alarmed, I thought,
"Uh oh. Chuck's conked out on the air and he's left his microphone on. Somebody call the studio!" Good news,
though. The snoring would soon filter into a strangely beautiful space/ambient piece and the show merely drifted on.
Only to reassure, Chuck would soon reappear at the top of the hour, in fact sounding quite spiffy, and provided us
with the introduction for yet another hour of live Erik Wollo.

Make that another 'wonderful' hour. And therein rests the beauty of these Gathering evenings. More often than not,
a Gathering performer is given the opportunity to pull a post concert rabbit out of his hat. A case in point, as I flash
back now to another day, and another artist, when, after his own Gathering gig, he isolated himself in WXPN's studio and
created live moments that would later become 'The Light Beyond.' The perfect afterglow; a dreamlike ending to
a dreamlike night. This leads me back to when I lay last night, listening again, as Erik Wollo , black hat in hand,
introspectively nightcaps his evening; and I make it through the hour in a dreamlike state of consciousness; rain
intensifying, its sound mixing with Wollo's, of synth washes and his calmly incisive guitar. Half asleep, the music seems to
reflect the city I had just removed myself from, its fading glow, and the wonderful concert performance; expertly,
quietly, and sadly being laid to rest.

I seek, when attending a Gathering, those 'moments of transcension', or those times when I find my own world
transforming into the vision and soundworld of the artist's. Though I suspect that 'seek' may be the wrong word to
use here. One can't search for and expect to find a euphoric surrendering. This just happens. Wollo's first set
provided an introduction to his sound, his techniques; a diversified journey. Wollo proclaims himself to be a guitarist;
and indeed he is. Creating diversified modes and moods, overlaying sequences patterns, often progressive,
sometimes passive, the guitar is his star. Wollo takes you on a journey to many different places. It was during Wollo's
calmly intense second set when he stole me away, transporting me from my world and taking me into his own.

Visually, minimalist-in-motion effects were projected on a screen. Swiftly transported wisps of smoke; a single jet
distantly streaming across an otherwise empty sky; a rain forest journey of pale greens and blue.

A fine musical representation of Wollo's performance last night can be heard on his fine recent release,
"Wind Journey."

by soma611
As Posted to The Spacelist: Sun 28 April 2002



The Gathering (USA), 2002 (photo by Chuck Van Zyl)