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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Erik Wollo Emotional Landscapes (2003)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

“Melodious, soft and attractive! Such is the musical universe that Emotional Landscapes offers to our ears”

1 In the Picture 2:51 2 Metaphor 4:42 3 Prism 4:15 4 Second Totem 5:25 5 Sounds of the Seen, Part I 8:06 6 Valley 3:02 7 Virtual World 5:54 8 Mountain Beach 5:21 9 Sounds of the Seen, Part II 3:00 10 Satellite 4:21 11 Echo of Night/Cadence 6:08 Spotted Peccary SPM1203

(CD/DDL 68:08) (V.F.)

(Progressive New Age)

With its fine melodies which roam into ambiences slightly filled by with a poetic mysticism, EMOTIONAL LANDSCAPES is, in my opinion, the best way to tame Erik Wollo's soft universe. Sat well on his Scandinavian souvenirs, the nomad with a dreamy guitar presents a beautiful musical canvas with 11 titles which are exchanging their boreal moods on rhythms and melodies which sometimes capsize and entails us into tribal atmospheres of a world unique to the vision of its author.

In the Picture opens Wollo's 12th opus with a smooth meditative melody where the floating sighs of a solitary guitar are wrapping the soft melodic approach of a piano and its spheroidal notes which wave like a carousel of mist. Metaphor adopts the same musical pattern of strangeness and mysticism, with a grimed ambience where notes of guitars weave a somber minimalist melody from which the rotatory bends are tortured by strata and scattered solos from a morphic guitar. The tempo grows heavy but remains slow, cloistering itself in an intense eerie mood. Prism is an ambient track flowing on a river of chords which teems in an attractive harmonious contradiction that fluty winds caress of tribal breaths. Second Totem rolls on a beautiful ballad where the guitar draws a discreet melodious line which is assailed by another guitar in more incisive solos. The rhythm livens up. And for the first time on EMOTIONAL LANDSCAPES our feet are wriggling on a rhythm always delicate but livelier that layers of violin and absent choirs decorate with a soft floating touch. Groans of violins floating in mystic mists open the very beautiful Sounds of the Seen, Part I. A fine series of twinkling arpeggios draws a cosmic ballet which goes astray in the tears of these Stradivarius while the title dives little by little into an emotional disorder with riffs which pound under the hybrid caresses of arpeggios and violins. The rhythm becomes then spasmodic. It quivers abruptly, blowing its pace into brief uncertain passages to start again with an odd dance of electronic folk which suits so well to the approaches of the Bohemian Scandinavian.

After an escapade into some ambient and contemplative lands in Valley and its wails from a lonely guitar, Virtual World offers a soft rhythm fed of a plentiful faun of percussions. It’s a brisk rhythm which scatters its pace, and which undulates under the caresses of a bass of which the hypnotic cooings sing in the winds of a synth to harmonious breaths and the discreet airs of a guitar with melodic notes. It may take some listening, but one eventually succumbed to the strange charm of Mountain Beach, by far the most audacious title on EMOTIONAL LANDSCAPES. Without precise rhythm it flows on a lineal movement robbed by percussions which sound like huge holocaustic locusts whose din gets lost in the loops and riffs of a guitar which doesn’t lost time to also drop a soft harmony which clashes in this abstract setting. More ambient and more atmospheric, Sounds of the Seen, Part II is a good complement to its first part with its violin which cries on the echo of a prism of an autumnal nature. Other ambient and meditative title, Satellite scatters its notes of a dreamy guitar into some intersidereal winds while Echo of Night / Cadence concludes on a soft floating rhythm with hatched synth pads which serve as pattern to a beautiful melodious approach, weaved into the dreams and memories as much poetic as harmonious of Erik Wollo. And if we remain patient, we can hear a last atmospheric breath with Cadence which is without life nor rhythm, but rich in atmosphere and tones of a land that even the dreams can't draw.

Melodious, soft and attractive! Such is the musical universe that EMOTIONAL LANDSCAPES offers to our ears. By flirting with an esotericism in the divinities as dark as Mephistophelic, Erik Wollo shapes his minimalist structures with an eye for detail which harpoons immediately our awakening. It’s different certainly, but it’s doubtless the most beautiful contemplative music that I heard.

Sylvain Lupari (September 6th, 2012) *****

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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