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  • Sylvain Lupari

Erik Wollo The Shape of Time (2023)

Updated: Jan 9

A great album of ambient beats which has not much to envy to one of 2020's best

1 The Shape of Time 1 4:18

2 Le Paysage 5:45

3 Earth Trek 6:48

4 Nebula 4:43

5 Midnight Sun 6:39

6 Transformation 7:15

7 The Shape of Time 2 5:34

8 Runestones 6:46

9 Blue Epilogue 7:05

10 Slow Swirl 7:43

Projekt Records PRO404

(CD/DDL 62:30) (V.F.) (Ambient Music Ambient Beats)

Time is a notion that serves to measure these abstract distances between yesterday and tomorrow. It is the term used by the sages, those scientists and thinkers of the early times, to give an age to the various stages of our evolution. It is also the theme of Erik Wøllo's latest album, who has become a master in the art of exploiting these abstract themes that surround our universe. Available on January 23rd on the American label Projekt Records, THE SHAPE OF TIME will be one of the Norwegian bard's most beautiful albums. With its 8 tracks spread over 62 minutes, the Scandinavian guitarist-synthesist sets the soundscapes of his Nordic country to music in meditative textures that are finely animated by these ambient rhythms, thus further stimulating the power of our imagination. The balance is perfect between these zones of serenity and these rhythms where our neurons dance with this vision of flirting with time.

The Shape of Time 1 invites us to this new album with a musical synth wave that splits its scope between a layer of celestial voices and a layer of synth whose warm shadow drifts in the dreams of these seraphic voices. Without rhythmic life, the movement hovers gently until it turns into hollow breezes that carry sound crystals. The shadows of a bass sculpt discrete phantom impulses, reminding us that nothing is immutable in Erik Wøllo's universe. Our ears well wrapped up in this decor where the cold courts its opposite, Le Paysage follows with an effect of stridulations which nibbles a cerulean synth wave. The breath of a bass layer injects a lyrical aura to these ambiences that turn into a delicate passive rhythm. The beats resonate in suspension, combining ambient rhythm with meditative melody on a beautiful musical reverie that takes a second momentum with the arrival of percussion a few seconds after the 2nd minute. The shadow of the rhythm projects a tasty mirror effect, condensing its echo in a sustained ambient rhythm. Erik adorns the whole with chords from his electric guitar that harmoniously respond to the echo of the ambient rhythm. Le Paysage becomes infinitely touching when guitar tears start to rain down on it. A very beautiful track! The Scandinavian bard makes shinning his knowledge by proposing a gradation in the order of the titles of this THE SHAPE OF TIME cd. Earth Trek proposes a structure closer to electronic rock with a very good pairing of percussion elements, some of which have this tone of wooden clogs that clash in the void, and a semi jerky flow of the sequencer. A cloud of orchestral haze and of angelic voices hum over this rhythm that establishes a good interaction with our neurons. One can sleep there certainly, as one can dance there with the head in the clouds. The guitar is a witch with its chartreuse lamentations in the more sibylline atmospheres of Nebula. Its hollow synth breezes and these frightened voices are not foreign to this tenebrous vision which encircles the atmospheres of this purely meditative title.

Midnight Sun is a track that will give you a good handful of chills with its bluesman guitar weeping in the sighs of a seraphic trumpet and its warm fluty tone. The orchestrations, not to mention the sampling of a mechanical landscape, are elements of that tenderness that paves the way for the guitar. Synth moans flow over an austere wave in the opening of Transformation. This obscure opening, which joins the moods of Nebula, is decorated with tinkling and fascinating organic lapping effects. Shimmers are gradually added as the wave spreads its ascending presence that is woven into the shadow of its passion. These shimmers become a light sequence of abstract rhythm of which the fine jerks are escorted by a synth air cut into loops in a sonic firmament dominated by a layer of rumblings and a distant melody hummed by a soulless choir. The Shape of Time 2 takes up the same thematic of its first part but with a slightly more intense vision, as a little more tenebrous. Runestones quietly emerges from its atmospheric opening to a rhythm as gentle and meditative as that of Earth Trek. Its circular ascent is guided by amazing percussive effects that tinkle in another dimension of orchestral haze. These tinkles, guitar and keyboard riffs as well as some sequences complete this seductive rhythmic pattern. Another beautiful track in this superb collection of the Norwegian bard to which we must also add Blue Epilogue, which borrows from this rhythmic potion of Earth Trek with claps of hooves that resonate in a meditative rhythmic structure. Slow Swirl helps us to come down from these musical and poetic clouds conceived by Erik Wøllo for the comfort of our 62 minutes meditative incubation. This purely ambient title extirpates us from these structures of rhythms where we dance with the stars and with our dreams in a nice atmospheric gliding movement which respects the meaning of its title.

THE SHAPE OF TIME is a very beautiful album which has not much to envy to Convergence, one of the best albums of 2020. Sailing on the poetry of its sensibility, the music is listened to from one end to the other, helping us to imagine soundscapes that exist only in the imagination. Erik Wøllo deftly pulls us out of these reveries to revel us in the lyricism of rhythmic structures designed to keep us straddling these two poles. Where his abstract forms of time become more figurative phases!

Sylvain Lupari (January 6th, 2023) ****¼*

SynthSequences.com

Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp

(NB: The texts in blue are links you can click on)

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