Erik WolloLive at
The Gatherings Concert Series
Saturday 27 April 2002St. Mary's Hamilton Village
Review: Erik Wollo
A steady rain droned loudly on the pavement outdoors here, at home, at 2am last night, enhancing the sedative effect of another Star's End broadcast. I would not be long for the world. I also had my concerns for Chuck van Zyl. While leaving St. Mary's a few hours before, we passed by Chuck and, after sharing praise for Erik Wollo's splendid Gathering performance, he confessed that a long day at work combined with Gathering day preparations had left him longing for sleep. One could tell. Yet, only after helping empty out the cathedral, Chuck would soon be on-the-air delivering his five hour Star's End broadcast.
This is why I nearly panicked during the first hour of his show last night. Fighting my own case of the sleepies, I was jarred back to my senses hearing the sound of heavy snoring filtering through my radio speakers. Alarmed, I thought, "Uh oh. Chuck's conked out on the air and he's left his microphone on. Somebody call the studio!" Good news, though. The snoring would soon filter into a strangely beautiful space/ambient piece and the show merely drifted on. Only to reassure, Chuck would soon reappear at the top of the hour, in fact sounding quite spiffy, and provided us with the introduction for yet another hour of live Erik Wollo.
Make that another 'wonderful' hour. And therein rests the beauty of these Gathering evenings. More often than not, a Gathering performer is given the opportunity to pull a post concert rabbit out of his hat. A case in point, as I flash back now to another day, and another artist, when, after his own Gathering gig, he isolated himself in WXPN's studio and created live moments that would later become 'The Light Beyond.' The perfect afterglow; a dreamlike ending to a dreamlike night. This leads me back to when I lay last night, listening again, as Erik Wollo, black hat in hand, introspectively nightcaps his evening; and I make it through the hour in a dreamlike state of consciousness; rain intensifying, its sound mixing with Wollo's, of synth washes and his calmly incisive guitar. Half asleep, the music seems to reflect the city I had just removed myself from, its fading glow, and the wonderful concert performance; expertly, quietly, and sadly being laid to rest.
I seek, when attending a Gathering, those 'moments of transcension', or those times when I find my own world transforming into the vision and soundworld of the artist's. Though I suspect that 'seek' may be the wrong word to use here. One can't search for and expect to find a euphoric surrendering. This just happens. Wollo's first set provided an introduction to his sound, his techniques; a diversified journey. Wollo proclaims himself to be a guitarist; and indeed he is. Creating diversified modes and moods, overlaying sequences patterns, often progressive, sometimes passive, the guitar is his star. Wollo takes you on a journey to many different places. It was during Wollo's calmly intense second set when he stole me away, transporting me from my world and taking me into his own.
Visually, minimalist-in-motion effects were projected on a screen. Swiftly transported wisps of smoke; a single jet distantly streaming across an otherwise empty sky; a rain forest journey of pale greens and blue.
A fine musical representation of Wollo's performance last night can be heard on his fine recent release, "Wind Journey."
Review: Erik Wollo
As the doors opened my fear for the size of the turnout flew away. Why would I have doubted the Gatherings crowd to support the artists? What with the well know names that frequent St. Mary's altar, the attendance of this show and the standing ovation given to Erik Wollo at the end of the night should mean that much more.
I must say that I was not that familiar with his sound but felt as thought I got to know the essence of Erik's work at the Gathering. Through what seemed to be two very well thought out sets, he was able to demonstrate his talents with synthesizers as well as his unique approach to the guitar. He gracefully moved the sound of his guitar in and out of synthesized and natural clean tones. A conservative approach to his art created a comfortable yet engaging night of music. John Diliberto open the show with remarks about fjords and big landscapes, but Erik seemed to have began there and took us to new places. The pieces selected were rather short in length and sometimes a little abrupt in the endings, but never boring or predictable - always turning corners and opening new doors. With minimal visual or lighting effects the audience was left to create there own visions. He returned for an encore that was like a third set packed into a brief period of time.
All in all, two hours of invigorating music created a night to remember for all who were there. Thank you Erik.
by Bill Forcier
|For more about Erik Wollo, please access the:|
Concert Photos by Bill Forcier