As with 2011’s double-disc release, Silent Currents 1 & 2, Erik Wøllo’s new digital-only release comes from a live performance. But whereas the first two parts were just archival presentations of a live set, Silent Currents 3 differs in that Wøllo took the material back to his studio to edit and remix it. While I could not tell you what’s been added here or how, I can say this release is an hour’s worth of signature Wøllo flows and formations. While this results in some familiarity of sound, the journey is still deep, smooth, and nicely modulated. Wøllo shifts the listener easily from quiet drifts at the edge of space into bubbling, sequencer-fronted passages, and passes briefly through some darker, uncertain zones. And, as always, there is that wonderful, sighing and crying guitar rising up out of the mists of sound. What makes this set stand out is how is highlights Wøllo’s ability to make unobtrusive transitions from one space to the next. He might immerse the listener in one of those smooth, lightly energetic sequencer-and-guitar passages, then ease his way out of it and melt the tone into something built on soft pads. The cool thing, for me, is that I’m usually a minute or two into the new space before I register the shift, and it feels like I’ve been in the current vibe the whole time. The sections, for lack of a better word, are fairly brief, keeping the piece dynamic and engaging. I particularly like one beautiful stretch near the middle where a shadowy, abstract drone and a mechanical beat unfold into a sparkle of sequencer notes. These rapid, glistening runs are given the spotlight for a few moments as Wøllo strips back the other sounds. A shift of scene then takes the tone out into spacemusic territory and onward.
If you haven’t listened to Erik Wøllo before, Silent Currents 3 makes for a very good introduction, as it does run through his signature styles. His incredible touch on guitar, the way a melody and emotion slowly ooze off the strings, is worth the listen alone. For those who are familiar with his work, this is another good example of how well he pulls together a piece in real time, and also turns a bit of light on his studio skills. All in all, an hour well spent with an ambient master.
Available from Projekt.