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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

WOLLO & WOSTHEINRICH: Arcadia Borealis (2009)

Updated: May 29, 2020

Arcadia Borealis is a nice musical adventure where Erik Wollo's melodious lyricism faces the music stylistic daring of Bernhard Wöstheinrich

1 The Wayfarers 5:55 

2 Exploration 5:30 

3 Solar Wind 6:54 

4 White Sea 3:08 

5 Airship 5:19 

6 Terrestrial Magnetism 5:23 

7 Nautilus 6:13 

8 Midnight Sun 6:05 

9 Mirror Image 6:29 

10 Hemisphere Nord 2:45 

11 Polaris 5:20 

12 Decampment to Arcadia 4:14


(CD 62:39) (V.F.)

(Ambient, experimental, soundscapes)

The DiN label is recognized for offering high quality contemporary music, the accessibility of which is not really for everyone's ears. Admittedly there are exceptions, like Arc and some works of Ian Boddy in his sound textures of heavy British School. Except that the vast majority of works of this English label are experimental, therefore less accessible to a large audience. But there is a public curious of sounds evolving on ambient and/or hybrid rhythmic structures. And this is where this label comes into its own by producing experimental works that constantly push the limits of its borders. ARCADIA BOREALIS from Bernhard Wöstheinrich and Erik Wøllo fits within the framework of the label! It's an artistic encounter between the Norwegian guitarist, with his musical approach as poetic as it is melodious, and the German sound magician with his imagination as complex as on the ball. The result is a fascinating combination where the romantic poetry of Wøllo perfumes musical structures tinted with a daring sound montage which grinds the sweet melodious perfume and hovers all over this amazing album which is a tribute to the Far North and its explorers.

Noises of wild nature behind ocher synth breaths open The Wayfarers. A soft romantic synth line floats on the discreet clicks of cymbals in an avian sound fauna, paving a ticking-shaped cadence bitten by the hopping of a bass line that another symphonic synth line plunges back into a delicious melodious sphere. The Wayfarers dances on a heavy rhythm and ablaze of melodious strata which fade on a curt cadence with a short atmospheric stop in a sound universe with a rich poetic paradox. This opening draws the outline of an album with harmonious hues on passages that are at the same time ambient, ethereal and sometimes lively, on beautiful melodious strata which embrace an astonishing eclectic approach. Exploration continues with a similar intro. Its rhythm is a kind of ballad dragging on a chime sequenced. Halfway through, this melodious phase is crushed by a passage filled by arrhythmic pulses before plunging back into the harmonious vision of its opening. And so goes ARCADIA BOREALIS! Whether with soft and tender musical tracks, such as Solar Wind which offers a soft jazzy structure riddled with poetic strata and wrapped in a solitary piano, or even Terrestrial Magnetism, which breathes Nordic loneliness, or even the atmospheric White Sea, each track here is nourished by rhythms and atmospheres chewed by their contrasts. I know a little bit about the world of Bernhard Wöstheinrich for having listened to Live In Dortmund. He still knits here tones and broken rhythms (Airship, Mirror Image and The Wayfarers) which are recovered by the softness and the poetic vision of Erik Wøllo's guitars.

ARCADIA BOREALIS is a fascinating album, a little strange but pleasant to listen to. It's a beautiful musical adventure where the melodious lyricism of Erik Wøllo confronts the excess of Bernhard Wöstheinrich who takes good care to keep intact the poetic emotions of his companion of an album. A bewitching album which breathes the paradox of the wild beauty of the Nordic and isolated regions of a still unknown world.

Sylvain Lupari (September 4th 2012) ***½**

Available at DiN Bandcamp

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