|Artist: Erik Wøllo
Album: The Polar Drones
Small things are perfectly formed. This could be said of music by Erik Wøllo. The 15 tracks on The Polar Drones (69'25"), his 11th album, are minute yet impeccably executed in exacting flair. In the span of two to five minutes each of these miniatures offers a broad range in mood and music - from brisk grooves and penetrating rhythms to crystaline dreamscapes and delicate starlit melodies - The Polar Drones easily moves thematically through gleaming glacial panoramas on out into the Arctic winter's long dark night.
Most of the tracks here exist as individual statements, but some have been strung together through interesting crossfades and transitions. "Pulsar" (4'50") opens cold with cascading interlocked sequencer tones beneath a ribbon of luminous swirling effects. "The Return of the Sun" (7'29") begins in much the same way, but quickly evolves into a weighty tour across a frozen landscape inhabited by icy piano-like tones and undulating basslines. "Distant Sun Rays" (2'51") moves slowly as deep churning drones slide beneath Wøllo's breathing guitar and synth pads. Equally beautiful and arresting is the concluding track "Farewell" (4'08") - euphonic in its drift beneath the circling star trails and shining auroras of the polar regions.
Other tracks hint at Drum 'n Bass, Trance and World Music influences - all rising out of Wollo's Contemporary Instrumental stylings. A real tonic in the themes, Wollo's music does not lose its power to familiarity. There is a majestic quality to The Polar Drones - a harmony within its spirituality, development and design. Whether he is describing the bareness of a vast tundral landscape or the complexity of an individual snowflake - Erik Wøllo offers incredible insight into the world through the infinite perspectives of music.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 25 July 2003
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