How many ways are there to be human? By seeking transcendence in the crucible of the concert Erik Wøllo validates his existence in the showcase of live performance. With Winter Tide (60'14") he adds another enduring work to his discography - this one realized for SoundQuest Fest 2021. Released during a summer when thinking feels like a big ask, this eight part suite unfolds in slow, cooling sighs of sparkling synthetic sounds. As soaring guitar-driven anthems head for the sky, this album's confident melodies hold fast to the heart. Sending his instrument through a labyrinth of digital processing Wøllo's playing yields a rich and varied palette of textures and tones. Alongside silvery lead lines he deploys chords of steel strings - which ride atop rising rhythms of electronic precision. The overflow of magical musical moments impacts us at a level deeper than that of words. Arresting, absorbing and rewarding, Winter Tide freezes time by inundating the mind with thought. Searching and contemplative, then striding into the deep, it achieves a satisfying, constant level of high thinking. The bright spots are incandescent, and we are moved by the concord of sweet sounds - only to sink into icy waters, where the turbulence really attracts the ears. The recital setting allowed room for risk. In this familiar space Wøllo discovers a potent sense of drama - heard in the unique energy exuded throughout each track. Subtle in all the right ways Winter Tide/Live at SoundQuest Fest 2021 was made for a particular kind of listener - determined to collect unique feelings and enjoy each span of sonic goodness while it lasts. Finding our way into this music is a familiar adventure - one where we learn the secrets that we knew all along.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 22 July 2021