ERIK WØLLO & MICHAEL STEARNS
Sharing the bill at a small European music festival in 2018 sparked an unexpected collaboration between these two artists – one American, the other Norwegian – who had never met, despite both having long and distinguished careers in ambient and space music. The resulting album Convergence is a successful marriage of Erik Wøllo’s melodic gifts and guitar innovations (though they are both guitarists) with Michael Stearns skills as a synthesist, multi-instrumentalist and panoramic sound designer. I think the reason it works so well – as one Bandcamp fan pointed out – is that neither artist is trying too hard. Fans will be able to spot the sonic signatures of one or both artists at different times, and the music never strays too far from what they do so exceptionally well – liquid, lush spacemusic with touches of tribal, rock and classical. In particular, it’s great to see Michael Stearns releasing albums again, a West Coast ambient pioneer with a substantial 80’s and 90’s catalogue but who in the last two decades has largely focused on commercial production work including soundtrack commissions.