Erik Wøllo: Airborne

Attention, luxury car makers. Please start including a copy of Erik Wøllo’s new release, Airborne, with every purchase. Because this disc is the musical equivalent of a fast, smooth and comfortable ride through lush vistas, motion bordering on flying, images bordering on dreamscapes. It’s got high velocity and it’s got cruise control in equal proportions. While tonally it is very much a signature Wøllo disc, replete with familiar phrase, tones and structures, nothing can detract from the upbeat, pleasant cruise of Airborne. As always, the artist finds a sweet spot that blends cinematic New Age with classic electronic-music elements. Straight out of the gate, however, you might also pick up a hint of Pink Floyd. The first track, “Spring Prelude (Equinox),” carries a little echo of  “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” between its long-held pads and David-Gilmour-style guitar wails. Wøllo’s own guitar style takes over soon enough, a rich sound that’s somewhere between sighing and singing as he floats out his chords. This is a wonderfully varied disc; a thoughtful, guitar-based track like “Circle Lake” is balanced by a bouncing, lounge-tempo sequencer-driven ride like “North of the Mountain” or “Time River,” at the end of which Wøllo works in some quiet but effective guitar wails like a distant call, and everything’s offset by the occasional easy drift–“The Longest Day,” for example, where Wøllo builds a drone-like base of plucked guitar phrases and accents them with soaring, hawk-circle synthesizer pads. “Airborne 1” is one of the best moments here thanks to the round tones of a fretless bass trading the lead with piano. Hand percussion taps along underneath, and the whole piece is infused with a laid-back certainty. Throughout Airborne, Wøllo maintains the feel of watching the landscape pass beneath you and around you, a constant and comforting sense of motion, lulling you into an easy mindset while giving you plenty to see. This is a flight to take more than once.

Available from Projekt.

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