Ambient Visions, (USA):
Composing music since the eighties, Norwegian Erik Wollo has released several fine albums mainly in Europe.
Journey" his latest album has been taken under the wing by Spotted Peccary's subsidiary label Wanderings, a label
designed to release albums from a broader spectrum of countries other than its North American original foundation.
"Wind Journey" as the title suggests is a light filled and gently melodic journey through soundscapes of synthesizer sound
and guitars both acoustic and electric. The guitars are an important ingredient to the music as they are Erik's main
instrumentation and therefore the backbone of his sound. His previous release "Guitar Nova" for example was a fine
example of acoustic guitar led compositions that somehow managed to sound refreshing from the mainstay of
There are twenty-three tracks that make up "Wind Journey", each a delicately put together musical vignette. When we get to the ninth track onwards the tracks become the seasons suite starting with the track "Sea". This features very laid-back guitar put through some form of effects, which lead us into "Open Land" that features some electronic rhythms that gradually pick up pace which helps give contrast to the overall feel of the album.
The whole album conveys to the listener the differing seasons in all their glory in a very picturesque way. A lot of musicians
can play their music well. To actually play and convey the feeling of the different seasons, landscapes and the sheer magical joy of journeying through the wind by balloon as the albums cover depicts is a hard thing to do,
but Erik has managed it very well.
- Gary Andrews 8/26/01
Amazing Sounds, (Spain):
Luminous airy music. Thus could this album by Erik Wollo be defined. Luminous because it turns out to be as warm as the
sunrays in a clear morning. Airy, given its agile, dynamic, crystalline and at times ethereal shades. Both the title and the
cover of the album refer to an air walk. And certainly, the compositions seem to reflect the sensations and emotions that can be experienced in free flight, onboard a balloon or an airplane. Of course, there also are moments with other orientations.
Yet anyway, this is a very intense album, where it is obvious that Wollo has immersed his five senses. On the other hand,
This is styllistically speaking his most electronic album in several years.
- EDGAR KOGLER
Backroads Music (USA):
- An exciting new Spotted Peccary CD due Aug. 1st. Any fan Wollo's previous gems will jump for this musical world of rich,
vibrant textures and rhythmic pulses. Wollo, from Norway, has his own style, and he's at his best here.
- Lloyd Barde
Erik Wollo's works are overlooked gems of modern instrumental music. From his home in Norway, Wollo's been sending out
missives of mood and ambience since the mid-1980s with albums like Silver Beach and Solstice. Last year's U.S. release of
Guitar Nova explored the acoustic-guitar side of this musician in multilayered, overdubbed soundscapes that retained the
ambience and structure of his electronic works. With Wind Journey, he returns to synthesizers but keeps his electric guitar at hand for some gloriously heroic solos, especially on "Dream Line." A subtle, tugging ostinato pattern builds into layers of
keyboard orchestrations topped by guitar, which starts out in a pastoral, acoustic mode but segues into a soaring lead solo
that recalls Steve Hackett during his Spectral Mornings era. Wind Journey is centered by Seasons Suite, a 10-part sequence
of moody vignettes. Erik Wollo's roots in progressive rock are clear and he uses them to articulate a cinematic music. While
Wollo lives in a country with some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the world, he composes much of his music in a
basement studio. The worlds he creates are strictly from the imagination, and what a vivid imagination it is.
Nightlight (Public Radio in Alaska):
What a surprise and completely different from the last CD!
The last Eric Wollo CD featured wonderful virtuoso guitar, most closely akin to a "fingerpicking" style. Each piece was
different, almost like a "best of" CD. This CD is completely different in that the artist uses the guitar as part of a series of
thematic atmospheric tone poems based on the idea of wind and its forms and effects. The overall feel of the music is very
ambient, with the guitar used less as a melody-maker, and more as a symphonic, electronic instrument, almost like a
timescape. The orchestration includes atmospheric electronic soundscapes within which the artist creates mood music of the
highest quality. I was absolutely fascinated by the CD on first hearing it, and it only gets better with each re-playing as I
discover new nuances to the music. What a master of the guitar this man is. I highly recommend that you take a listen to
this CD, and take a journey into the wind with Mr Wollo. This is a thinking person's delight!!!
- Lyn McNutt
Wind and Wire (USA):
Norwegian guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Erik Wollo`s second CD on Spotted
Peccary is chock full of a large assortment of
great music, varying in
moods, tempos, and subgenres. This makes it nearly impossible to review
coherently yet I
desperately want to review it because I`m giving it a big
thumbs up. Further complicating things is the fact that the album
twenty-three cuts on it! Yikes! So, this review will not be a literal
run-down of every (or even every other) song. Instead, I`ll do my best to
detail what makes Wind Journey one of the most appealing yet diverse albums
to come from Spotted
Peccary in a long time.
Wollo plays electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, electric bass,
percussion and flute on this album. Depending on what
playing at any given point, the CD swings from ambient in nature to a more
rocking/prog-like sound to a
sedate acoustic instrumental feel to an alloy
of all of the above. Whatever mode he`s in, though, the music is always
inspired, his technique is masterful, and the engineering is a delight to
The first eight cuts include two takes on the title song. The first version
is one of the album`s strongest pieces - melodic yet with spacy synths and
beats - it has a subtle Germanic EM air, intermixed with soaring electric
guitar lead lines and a
propulsive rhythm section. In a different vein,"Dream Lines" melds lush synth strings with muted hand percussion and
ambient-style guitar in a piece that is both ethereal and highly dramatic."Going North" is a gentle song, featuring reverbed
guitar, twinkling synths,
and an undulating series of washes. The second version of the title track is
yet another strong cut,
as a driving quasi-tribal beat propels the song
forward, bringing along with it Craig Chaquico-like guitar and synth
In fact, many of the songs on this album share the instant
likability and accessibility of Chaquico`s best work. While this
type of "ambient-pop" music might be foreign to long-time Spotted Peccary fans, the
judicious use of multiple synths and
keyboards throughout the recording
places the album squarely within the California label`s sensibility.
Tracks 9 through 18, which sit in the middle of the album, comprise what
Erik titles the "Seasons Suite". The "Suite" opens
with a echoed lead
electric guitar lines over synth choruses on the song "Sea". Some of the
other cuts in the suite include the somber yet uptempo "Open Land" (which
evokes a feeling of movement through its galloping-paced percussive
the gently sad "Distant View" (featuring great synth washes and
muted hand percussion), the sparkly and (surprisingly)
cheery "Early Autumn"
and the appropriately icy (courtesy of twinkling wind chimes and wind-like
Wind Journey closes with five more selections (not part of the "Seasons
Suite"). "Passage of Time" reminded me of the
great guitar-tribal group Mo
Boma, with clipped guitar playing and a fast tempo cadence. "Aurora Borealis" has various
electric guitars, sounding a bit like some of Jon
Durant`s work, but in a more serene vein, painting a sonic picture of those
ghostly northern lights dancing in an inky black sky. The final cut, "Home",
is a bouncy mostly synthesizer number - bubbly electronic rhythms, warm
melodic refrains, and a subtle retro-sound to the lead keyboard combine to
bring the recording to an extremely satisfying conclusion.
This review barely scratches the surface of all the great music on Wind
Journey. Erik Wollo is a multi-instrumentalist of
dazzling virtuosity. His
compositional ability is also staggering, as he easily weaves back and forth
between more dramatic
and rhythmic numbers to those which are more rooted in
ambient territory. This is certainly one of the top "guitar-oriented"
releases of this year and should also appeal to fans of well-executed
synthesizer music, as well. While the CD encompasses a variety of moods, the
overall musical vibe is consistent (I`d call it active reflective, meaning
the music is less passive than most ambient music tends to be, yet the
emotional resonance is low-key and even sad at times). I just hope an album
this wonderfully diverse and complex from a compositional standpoint doesn`t
come along again for a while. My critiquing
ability, frankly, isn`t up to
the challenge! Highly recommended!
- Bill Binkelman
We first encountered his expansive six-string stylings with last year's Guitar Nova. Now soar with erik wollo on an instrumental wind journey. Though always close at hand, the guitar is less in the forefront during this dreamier outing as the one-man
band's other instrumental talents take flight. Brooding deep passages are traversed by the radiantly unfurling guitar strands of wind journey. Quietly rippling electronics and slight percussion join dream lines' gusting string-like sweeps, all of which
sometimes serves as a backdrop for fluid pluckings. A spacious void is soon filled with drifting tonal flows, persuasive
rhythms and brightly ringing guitar strings in wind journey 2 (5:37)
More-ambient textures spread across sea, the opening piece to the seasons suite (tracks 9 to 18) wherein wollo levitates
over open land, through rain and frost to arrive at the amorphous drifts of winter lake. Midway through this phase, twangy reverbs lead into huldra 2 where ponderous drumbeats meet with raspy flute flavors. Piano twinkles and shifting guitar
essences add the "shine" to winter shine (1:17).
Interlocking sequencer patterns and chimes mark the passage of time with their hypnotic convergence. Gauzey sheets of electric guitar ephemera fluctuate beautifully in aptly-named aurora borealis.
A gently flowing panorama for the ears, wind journey rises above new age mediocrity thanks to erik wollo's thoughtfully
planned course. Favorable weather conditions (and several perfectly ambient interludes) make for a 70-minute, 8.4-rated
flight of fancy through 23 (!) tracks. From Spotted Peccary's Wanderings imprint.
- David J Opdyke
Exposé Magazine, (USA):
Wollo's second release for Spotted Peccary (his previous Guitar Nova
was licensed for US release last year) finds the
multi-instrumentalist and composer striking a balance between the
power of the fretboard and the atmospherics of synthesized sounds. It
doesn't take more than a play or two for this one to get in to the
psyche of the listener, with its
powerful melodies and shimmering
backdrops. With an uncanny ability to blend memorable themes into
soundscapes, his work draws additional potential
from the use of masterful production techniques.
Wollo plays all
instruments (guitars - electric and acoustic, bass, keyboards,
percussion, flute and programming) on the
23 tracks herein, mostly
2-4 minute vignettes that create and explore a series of themes, and
then move on to the next,
flowing seamlessly as a sonic continuum.
While the backing synths may counterpoint the main theme (usually
guitar) creating an air of mystery, it might suddenly
switch, supporting the melodic exploration directly, thereby
changing the mood of the piece for the duration. Other
pieces seem to exist suspended in sort of a colorful ambient haze,
with guitars and keys piercing through it, causing it all to take
This is dreamy and emotionally charged music,
full of passion and peace. My highest recommendation.
-Peter Thelan, Exposé Magazine, Issue No. 23, December 2001
STAR'S END, (USA):
The brief moment between pushing "play" and hearing the opening notes of Wind Journey by Erik Wollo, can only be likened to the anticipation experienced at the head of a scenic mountain trail; a path where your footprints will be the first in quite
some time. What lies ahead promises to be vivid, intoxicating and affirming. Upon listening to Wind Journey, it becomes
obvious why this album is constantly being associated with rugged landscapes, sweeping mountain ranges and vast coastal
fjords. Wollo's work here is the musical equivalent of crossing a majestic landscape, over the earth and beneath the stars.
Wollo's dynamic sonic expeditions are well-conceived and melody driven. Lofty guitar themes intermingle easily with regal
synth lines, cleverly crafted so as to be nearly indistinguishable. The voyage is propelled, often briskly, over a foundation of ticking percussives and syncopated slide. Wind Journey also has its share of introspective, even tender moments. These
expressive and gentle serenades are surely some of contemporary instrumental's warmest passages.
The album is an overwhelmingly positive listening experience, completely unselfconscious, bringing air and light into our
internal listening space.
- Chuck van Zyl, 24 January 2002
Napra Review vol 13, no 2. (USA):
His latest album "Wind Journey" is a flowing yet cohesive recording full of interesting turns that keep the ears simultanously relaxed and alert. Dreamy, floating electronics sometimes lead the wind journey, but they are well integrated with acoustic
intstrumentation – guitar, percussion, and flute. Like the wind this recording takes a colorful journey across many lands, yet remains fresh; the suggestive minimalist qualities of the music leave much open to the imagination. Electric guitar is a
frequent participant, hinting at Wøllo`s rock`n roll past, but rather than dominate, this "voice" simply adds to the chorus.
Nature themes surface continually, such as the drops of water audible in the frame drum on cut 12, "Rain". The integration of slow pauses between the notes and the layers of cohesive melodies make this recording reminiscent of the most minimal
Moody Blues styles of the 1960s.
Sonic Immersion (Holland):
This is Erik’s second cd on Spotted Peccary’s sublabel Wanderings, and this time the content is much more electronic.
"Wind Journey" contains 70 minutes of beautiful instrumental music, divided over 23 tracks. It indeed feels like a great
journey as we take off with great uplifting textures, lyrical acoustic and electric guitar and flute sounds. At times it made me
think of the music of Char-El, Mind over Matter and the older music of Gandalf.
Erik has a great ear for details and the overall balance of sounds, as he takes us on an emotional as spectacular trip
through the higher atmospheres with great views.
In the middle of the album we encounter the "Season Suite", divided in ten chapters, after which Erik recaptures the feeling of the first part of the album on the last five tracks.
It’s only a pity the
closing track "Home" sounds empty and uninspired, as it absolutely doesn’t have the same high quality or impact as heard
on the previous tracks. It’s a left-over that should be on this disc at all.
Planet Origo (Norway/Estonia):
Fans of superbly melodic synth and guitar music please form an orderly queue.
Although the name is familiar to me, I'm
pretty sure this is the first full album I had ever heard by Erik Wollo, the acclaimed Norwegian multi instrumentalist, and I
can honestly say that it won't be the last! This album is superb.
Taking the vital statistics first; it's a 70 minute long album comprising an amazing 23 tracks of melodic instrumental synth
music blended with both acoustic and electric guitar. The album is essentially in two halves, the first 8 tracks followed by 'the seasons suite' which is a collection of short musical representations of the seasons.
I confess that the guitar isn't my weapon of choice being an electronic music specialist, 'but' I love them when used mainly for lead melodies as they tend to be on
this album. I guess this harks back to the time I first discovered Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream.
I always feel it's helpful to have a few reference points when reading about music. Obviously your own ears are the best
judge but if the examples are at least 'fairly' close to the music in question it gives you an idea. To that end I would list the following albums as a good indicator of whats in store; Universal Ave. by Double Fantasy, Mind over Matter - The Colours of
Life, Bob holroyd's Fluidity & Structure. Even aspects of Pete Bardens - Seen One Earth, The Guitar Orchestra - The Guitar
Orchestra and the track The Pump by Jeff Beck aren't too far away and yes you are right in thinking that I'd only heard The
Pump because it was on the Risky Business soundtrack!
The opening track is a mere minute and a half long but already it gives you an idea of where the album is going - all the
components of what you are you are going to hear later are laid out before you. Continuing the pace, Wind Journey 1 fades straight in and establishes a powerful presence with a rhythmic sequencer line bubbling underneath and strong lead guitar
and synth melodies over the top. Musically it is quite different, but still somehow reminded me of Micheal Hoenig's 1978
masterpiece Departure from the Northern Wasteland. This becomes stranger again if you check out the original artwork for
the Hoenig album - it's remarkably similar to the Wind Jouney cover as it also features balloons taking off. Confirmation if
any was required that music is more than capable of triggering strong images in the mind.
A drifting melodic interlude slows the pace down and prepares the listener for more dreamy synth pads to weave into the
mix. A superbly melodic guitar melody takes centre stage to give an overall Ash Ra New Age of Earth feeling - a gorgeous
sun drenched beach would be the perfect place to listen to this. The album as a whole seems to be broken into slightly
longer more complex pieces with strong melodies and themes, punctuated by short ambient pieces. Awakening starts off as quite melancholic but towards the end we are rewarded with a brilliant melody and synth voice that reminds me of L'Enfant
from Opera Sauvage by Vangelis. In complete contrast, Insula is very similar in sound to Andy Summers great solo album
The Golden Wire. The mood of the album is generally quite consistent but the style varies considerably; not enough to break the relaxed mood just enough to keep your interest.
Wind Journey 2 marks the end of the first half of the album and it's one of my favourite tracks having an absolutely killer
melody, being full of tension and building up as beautifully as it fades away. It also complements Wind Journey 1 at the
start of the album - which is always nice, you get a feeling you've been on a journey which is exactly what he's trying to
achieve here I'm sure. If you like Mind over matter you'll love this track - it's got a lot in common.
Sea marks the beginning of the 'seasons suite' and it magically conjours up visions of seabirds riding the thermals as they
drift above the ocean. Seamlessly on to the next track Open Land and the melody and emotion just keep coming, it really is brilliantly absorbing music. I don't think the track titles have been given casually either, it's easy to get a mental picture
from them which matches the music itself - Rain for example sounds exactly like....rain!
Suzanne Ciani fans will like Early Autumn as it would sit perfectly aside tracks off her Neverland album - very relaxing stuff.
Passage of time has a definite Love on a real train vibe which fades off into the quite melancholy Aurora Borealis. The last
track of the album Home, begins with the same tinkling wind chime effect thats heard at the start of the album. It's another gentle piece which reminds me a lot of Edgar Froese - Stuntman - though that's probably mainly due to the synth voice used.
I've always felt marketing electronic music is notoriously different; for a start there are countless genres and sub-genres.
Fans also tend to be fanatical about their particular genre and rarely crossover, so how do you pitch an album which crosses
several boundaries? I can't see Wind Journey in the same category as a Chillout Ibiza compilation, there are to many
searing guitar leads to be pure ambient and 'New Age' would do it a major dis-service in my opinion.
The fact this album reminds me of 'so many' different pieces of music doesn't help either but it is a testament to the albums diversity. for example I can also hear similarities to Jan Hammer and David Gilmour but it certainly isn't a direct copy of
either, I never thought that once it's just a familiar feeling you get when listening. I really couldn't put my finger on what
'individual' signature sound this album has, but nevertheless the overall effect is relaxing, dreamy, atmospheric, ambient
and above all 'melodic'.
Suffice to say that fans of any of the other artists mentioned here plus people who like Mike Oldfield are probably going to
enjoy this album. I liked it the moment I put it on which can mean long term I'll get bored with it, but I think there's enough variety here to keep me returning to it and finding something new. It creates a wonderful mood just to have on in the
background if you're too busy to listen properly or if you have the time - sit back and enjoy the magical journey.
Clearly I'd give this album a resounding thumbs up! and I can't wait to hear the album he is working together with Steve
Roach on, should be fantastic.
NORWEGIAN REVIEWS, "Wind Journey":
DAGENS NÆRINGSLIV, 28/7/01: musikken er smellvakker, atmosfærisk og skiftende som årstider. Intens variasjon mellom
temaer og instrumentering - er et sterkt kort i en musikalsk verdensdel med mye ensformig ørken. Det er de spretne
gitarene, ofte med gitarsynthesizer, som får ham til å skinne.
Kanskje er litt av hemmeligheten ved Wøllos vindreise at lytteren kan kjenne seg igjen her og der. Fremdeles henter jeg
ofte frem hans femte, "Images of Light" fra 1990. Det er denne han på sett og vis plukker opp tråden fra med "Wind
Journey", som bør kunne vise seg like slitesterk.
DEMOKRATEN, 21/6/01: Wøllo har med "Wind Journey" nærmest gjort som Verdi: Tatt for seg de fire årstidene. Hoveddelen
på plata er skisser fra vår, sommer, høst og vinter. Og det merkes. Her er variasjon i lydbildet. En akustisk gitar eller en
elektrisk gitar flerrer opp lydbildet og skaper variasjon fra teppet med elektroniske instrumenter i bakgrunnen. Selv om
sommersola stekte utenfor, fikk jeg gåshud av "Frost" og de mer vinterlige bidragene.
MUSIKKAVISEN (www.musikkavisen.no): Dersom man skal trekke frem et høydepunkt fra dette albumet må det bli
tittelkuttet "Wind Journey 1". Dette kuttet har en enkel og melankolsk melodi med et nydelig gitartema.
Dette er et av de beste albumene som Erik Wøllo har gitt ut. Albumet burde ha appell langt utenfor de kretsene som
vanligvis lytter til denne musikktypen.
SARPSBORG ARBEIDERBLAD: Len deg tilbake, lukk øynene og bli med i et landskap av fine og følsomme lydbilder. Du får en
fin tur. Dette er Wøllos niende utgivelse. Tematisk er den et krysningspunkt mellom en reise og årstider. På bakgrunn av
dette lager han musikk. Veldig behagelig, og bra i en krysning mellom ambient, jazz og klassisk.
Wøllo har gjort det aller meste selv på denne utgivelsen.... Erik Wøllo kan utvilsomt sitt fag, og overgår de aller fleste når
det gjelder å lage elektroniske lydbilder.
«Wind Journey» er en meget behagelig cd. Den er godt laget, og vi tar også med at utgivelsen har et av de vakrere
omslagene vi har sett på lang tid. Og det er spesielt da vi savner lp-formatet.
BACKSTAGE: ...vår kanskje fremste fornyer av dagens studiobaserte instrumentalmusikk,....og det er et meget
stemningsskapende album Wøllo her har begått,....Wind Journey er en innholdsrik CD full av skiftende klanger,
stemninginger og bildemanende musikk som først og fremst er vakker, melodisk og lyrisk.