Timelines is the 18th solo album from veteran Norwegian ambient/electronic artist Erik Wøllo. It’s a warm, epic and shimmering cycle of memorable electronic music. Noted for his many Echoes Radio albums of the month – and placement on “Best of the Year” lists at Amazon, Zone Music Reporter, Schallwelle Award (Germany), and others – Timelines continues in that tradition with nine engaging pieces exploring the idea of music and time: how elements of past, present and future affect a listener’s perceptions.
Layers of acoustic guitar loops and pulsation-patterns create the foundation on which Wøllo’s distinct melodic piano themes are played. The pieces bring emotional synth lines and powerful deep basses together with delicate percussion arrangements. As a natural and important counterpoint to the expressive piano themes, Wøllo’s electric guitar ebow solos are both intense and haunting.
“I started most of these songs with just an acoustic guitar,” Wøllo reflects, “composing and recording them in the same order you hear on the album. I created the arrangements, adding other elements, building and sculpting the compositions in time. I have always been interested in timelines and schemes that show how time can be measured, and how we relate to them. Each of the tracks was conceived as part of a suite exploring the ideas and aspects of time and consonance. And how these elements go together, and how music as an artform is a manipulation of time. But the interesting clue here is of course how we relate to time in our body when we actually hear the music. And how our experiences and memories – as well as present circumstance – affect our hearing of the music. When I made this album, I was more aware of these ideas then ever before.”
Wøllo’s background in 70s prog-rock is noticeably present on this album. Strong rich themes, chords and rhythms all lead towards crescendos and counterpoints within the songs. Well-structured, yet all the while retaining a spacious ambient and cinematic feel, Timelines is a natural continuation of the electronic palette heard on Wøllo’s recent albums Gateway (2010) and Airborne (2012), as well as his collaborations with Steve Roach: Stream of Thought (2009) and The Road Eternal (2011).
Timelines is an accessible and inviting album: an occasion with which the listener can discover involving music that combines rhythmic grooves and atmospheres with recognizable lyrical passages.
CD at Projekt for $14 + Shipping www.projekt.com/store/product/pro00298/