Fans of Erik Wøllo find his music so engaging that the act of listening leaves them little time for anything else. Leading us through the psyche of the artist his albums portray places not know until we reach them. A marvel in its structure, execution and heart North Star (51'09") reminds us of the power of music, the rigor of musicianship, the joy of creativity, and the realization of potential. Where the output of his contemporaries may unnerve, Wøllo reassures. Exciting to behold North Star's eight tracks each have the distinct sensation of encountering a miraculous mind. As we step from our familiar moment into an alternative realm of swimming sonics and cerebral energy, listeners are transported deep into a world that we are eager to grasp. Exploring the potential of sending his guitar through an endless array of digital processors Wøllo designs a rich and varied aural palette. The playing builds slowly, then proceeds in a measured surge of plucked steel strings, breathing chords and sustaining E-bow notes - all surrounded by a luxuriant atmosphere of harmony and texture. Submitting to this dreamy quality we find that each note seems to carry its own message. A new pleasure born every moment, themes linger just long enough to stir the memory. In profound moments of contemplation unnamable tones mingle with undulating drones. Elsewhere, forward motion is attained in North Star's pulsing synthetic percussion and snaking electric guitar leads. Ghostly assemblages of drifting electronics merge to form bright major chords or mysteriously minor ones. As the soundscape darkens, dulcet melodies glide gracefully above waiting fading forms - stilled in the long cold between stars. Some pieces are of a scale that asks listeners to become lost in their dimensions, yet further in an intimate ballad offers familiar moments of stillness and repose - akin to one of life's small redemptive mercies. As stargazers study The Universe, musicians ponder the mind, and what to fill it with. Listening to this work beneath the dark arch of the night sky we may imagine escaping the limitations of the Earthly plane. Throughout North Star Erik Wøllo's nuanced gestures are fully readable, and the music is exactly what it wants to be. Looking toward the stars, Wøllo's music heads straight for the heart - so that we may awaken to what is inside.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 17 June 2021