I quite enjoy Erik Wøllo’s signature sound, even though in past reviews I have mentioned that I feel it can make new releases come off as too familiar. That being said, I’m happy to toss that consideration out the window as I sit back and launch into yet another round of listening to Timelines. And, oh, my friends, there have been a lot of repeat listens. I am going all-in for more of the wailing guitar singing out across broad, descriptive sonic vistas. I am very much on board for the windswept washes of sound and romantic piano fills. I am once again diving headlong into the simple bliss of digging an Erik Wøllo album, over and over. On this release, Wøllo started with melodies picked out on acoustic guitar, then built up from there. As always, the layers are perfectly piled together, complex forms crafted out of loops and infused with melodies. For me, what works best on Timelines are small touches of texture Wøllo brings in to differentiate this release from others. For example, the way jazzy brushstroke drums add a cool flair to “Pathfinder,” paired with analog-glitch rhythms and gossamer pads. It’s a smooth blend of beat and drift. On “Color of Mind,” beautiful acoustic fretboard work lays down a core that’s as steady as a sequencer–if Windham Hill made a sequencer. And you know, I just can’t help myself–every time that signature guitar sound rises up out of nowhere, headed for the far horizon on a solid wave of sustain, I get chills. It always works. There are stretches in “Along the Journey” where that sound meets up with Oldfield-style trills and the effect is nothing short of soul-stirring. It ranks right up there with my favorite Wøllo tracks.
So, yes: Timelines is familiar territory for Wøllo fans, but as always it’s a very pleasant place to visit. Emotional and filled with sonic imagery, it absolutely demands repeat listens. Superb work from a true master of the craft.
Available from Projekt.