Between Worlds is a dynamic and daring collaboration between widely respected ambient electronic recording artists Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo. This album is a profound experience that delivers from the first track to the last, teleporting the listener to a place, or more succinctly, a ceremonial space; honoring and invoking the spirit of the American Indian.
Deborah shares some insight into the essence of the work, “The American Indian believes there are two worlds – the world of spirit and the world of form. Creating a bridge between the two worlds are ritual, healing and magic. The music process presented here was created to represent with sound this bridge between the worlds.” Erik adds, “It is important to hear the voices of the past and how they lived in tune with the rhythm and spirit of the earth. With Between Worlds, we delved deeply into the experience, capturing the feeling of this American Indian heritage with sounds and compositions.”
On site location recordings, authentic American Indian instruments, and sonic soundspaces by contributing artist Steve Roach, augment these beautifully composed vignettes, delicately and respectfully illuminating life, Between Worlds.
Quotes from the artists:
“I spent my youth travelling around the world experiencing different cultures so it is no great surprise that I became fascinated with the American Indian. To me this album represents a connection to the heritage and richness of the American West and the indigenous peoples that inhabited these lands long before us. This project afforded me an opportunity to visit again with old friends from prior releases. It is also the rekindling of a passion that is a recurring theme in my compositions.
It might seem odd that I paired up with someone from Norway to co-create a project about American Indians, but Erik Wøllo was born in a small village in Norway, where the local people preserve and respect their heritage, not unlike the American Indian who holds their culture sacred.
In retrospect, we married the two worlds using authentic live recordings and native instruments with modern electronic sounds.”
“Being a musician has led me to work with ethnic musicians from Africa, India and other places, including Norwegian folk music. I grew up in Norway and became interested in Native American culture from early childhood through movies, television, and of course books. Over the years my interest continued to grow to understand these indigenous peoples.
I believe it is important to hear the voices of the past and how they lived in tune with the rhythm and spirit of the earth. “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” (Native American Proverb). Together with Deborah Martin on this project, I was able to delve deeper into the experience to create sounds and music compositions to compliment the American Indian heritage.”
To listen or purchase Between Worlds click here
Bert Strolenberg; Sonic Immersion (Germany)
“Between Worlds” is a collaboration album of American musician Deborah Martin and the talented Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Erik Wollo, which let us hear the voices of the American past. Inspired by Native American music and its culture (with special focus on the South West area), the ambient journey reaches out to the core of the world of spirit and the world of form in which American Indians believe.
Assisted by the ambient expertise and musicianship of Steve Roach, the twelve tracks of the duo form a sonic ritual of magic and healing, celebrating the lives and times of the ancients, which was very much in tune with the rhythm and spirit of the earth.
The outcome are modern electronic sounds blended with the sound of various authentic Indian instruments, Native chants, on site location recordings and Steve’s impeccable soundscape wizardry.
Space and time indeed get a different meaning as this tribal-oriented and highly
atmospheric sonic exploration goes by, creating a ceremonial space of emotive music which fully respects and honours the profound and lasting meaning of the American Indian heritage.
Chapeau, Erik and Deborah!
Peter Thelen, Expose Magazine: issue 38
Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo
The worlds in this case are the spirit world and the physical world, the bridge between them according to Native American beliefs are the ritual, the healing and the magic, and on the music presented here that bridge is the focus. Composer and synthesist/percussionist Deborah Martin (recent works include Deep Roots Hidden Water, Convergence, Anno Domini, and others) and Norwegian composer/guitarist Erik Wøllo (recent releases include Wind Journey and Blue Sky, Red Guitars) have teamed up to create this hallowed cinematic soundscape using numerous field recordings of Native American chanting and instrumentation blended into their twelve original compositions. Steve Roach is also on board for about half of the cuts – this is definitely an area he understands well and has worked many times before – as well as several additional percussionists, track depending. Martin adds her lyrics and vocals to a couple of the cuts. Each of these pieces is presented in a sketch of sorts built up using ideas that are integral to conveying the experience, some are more stark and percussive based, while others are more melodic, blanketed in the warm synth tones that Spotted Peccary productions are best known for; these are balanced and flow together nicely as the proceedings evolve, making for a dramatic listening experience that almost needs to be taken as a whole. Recommended.
Todd Zachritz, Goatsden
The sound of ‘Americana’ is really a new development, and though it does reflect many of our ‘roots’ in this country, it’s not altogether accurate. On this series of recordings, composers Martin and Wøllo pay tribute to the true Americana – the music and spirit of the Native Americans. The worlds of healing, magic, and ritual are reflected here in these compositions, and with fellow ambient/ethno sound sculptor Steve Roach assisting, the duo explores these ceremonial spaces with location recordings, native instruments, chants, and even old 1894 cylinder recordings. ‘In Between Worlds’ is just that — an audio travelogue examining the spaces between the inner and outer planes, life and death, and the natural and spiritual worlds. It’s a fairly relaxing, ambient sort of sound here, and tracks like ‘Gathering At Sunrise’ are simply beautiful and uplifting collages of chant, light percussion, and an irresistibly uplifting groove. These are songs full of reverence, light, love, and peaceful oneness. Wonderful.
Sylvain Lupari, Guts Of Darkness
Sometimes we want to hear something different. The kind of thing we are not used to hear. Here is a surprising work with a mythical and a very tribal approach of the peoples of North America first nations. Between Worlds is a pleasant surprise which inhales the autumnal legends of the Native Americans. An album to sonorities that amaze and surprise in a world where in a meeting place where two paradoxical universes, but indeed in parallels, couple with instruments of former days and current technology. With Steve Roach collaboration on electronic effects, Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo (two artists recognized to bring very emotional nuances to their creations) concocted a fabulous musical epic stuffed of ingenious sound effects which listens to as the wind sings towards plains, dunes and mountains. Some Indians stories told with a glittering sound dexterity.
A somber wind, hauled by tribal twinklings, open the eponymous track. Clan percussions and beautiful bass espouse the languishing rhythm which appears from it, seized by a beautiful flute which undulates with wandering on surprising singings of disappeared nation, of which the reconstruction is completely surprising.
And it is the strength of Between Worlds. Throughout this temporal journey, Martin and Wøllo leave a magnificent place to tribal sound elements which we hear with delight in western movies and stories about the Amerindians people. Titles as Between World and The Thunder and the Water feed these hypnotic paces which initiated spiritual dances and trances of the Indian sorcerers. Deep from the woods strange voices rise where we believe guessing those are breaths of spirits. Incantations are chanting on heavy biting reverberations, while hypnotic tom-tom sounds are charging Spirit Song on a bewitching cadence, where spit vipers’ cymbals, somber spiritual winds and Amerindian singings abound around a sweet ethereal guitar. A title with strong tribal essence, as we find it on A Healing Way and From Earth to the Sky. The eclectic aspect is present throughout Between Worlds. Heterogeneous elements which become entangled to heavy synthesized droning à la Roach on titles such as Anasazi and Canyonland which are close to a dark and tenebrous tribal universe.
Ancestral Whispers, Gathering At Sunrise, Distant Voices and Sunrise At Whiteriver are atonal musical pieces where the duality between the elements of a gliding space, seized with sweet synthesized stratas, stumble on Indian folkloric songs, incantations and stories of people to thousand legends.
Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo’s Between Worlds is a beautiful musical surprise. An audacious opus which moulds pleasantly the voices and the instruments of the Native Americans to synths, programming and synthetic tones of today’s gears, not to say tomorrow, in harmonious, enchanting , and even cosmic contexts.
I got to say it’s not pure EM, nor insipid New Age. It’s simply wonderful Indian tribal music, marinated in an electronic broth. For those who want to hear something different…
Virginia Tamayo, Amazing Sounds
In an interesting collaboration, Deborah Martin and Erik Wollo combine their respective artistic approaches to create daring, fresh work.
Clearly inspired on the culture of Native Americans, the music drinks from the sources of approaches typical of Ambient and melodic contemporary music. Each one of the twelve themes in the CD has a different nature. Some are mainly World Music, others flow through melodic Ambient, and there also are some in the in-between realm between both.
In the slowest parts of this work, there is an abundance of architectures based on synthesizers that evoke the immensity of the great open spaces.
Also remarkable is the skill that the artists have proved to possess by fusing traditional elements with cosmic structures, such as for instance in ‘Sunrise at Whiteriver’, a theme that brings to us the echoes of a faraway past soaring in the solitude of natural landscapes that have witnessed History. Another impressive theme is ‘Anasazi’, with a peculiar rhythmic structure and the taste of adventure.
Between Worlds is a gentle album of subtle melodic music fusing contemporary synths and programming techniques with organic field recordings and performance material. The voices and instrumental sounds of American Indian musicians are sensitively involved so that they form a central thread without dominating the compositions. Often placed deep within the mix, the approach here is not to form synthetic backdrops to catchy indigenous samples or to deliver original songs with a bit of digital enhancement. Here modern sounds and forms are of equal import: electro grooves with distant, scratchy chants and flutes; atmospheric drones with hand drumming and shaker percussion; ambient soundscapes and rhythmic mouth bow; drifting melodic themes haunted by intriguing fragments now well over a hundred years old. Between Worlds is surely one of the most sensitive projects to convey these instantly familiar iconic sound forms in an electronic context to date.
Montaged imagery in earthy tones hints at a fading culture and pattern of belief. The front cover image overlays shadows of trees upon pots and bowls and the top of a tee pee. This piece runs across to the back of the folded insert where similar elements centre around an ethereal figure that initially is barely perceived – an American Indian musician. The rear of the package delivers a tracklist with times for each piece along with Spotted Peccary logo and website address. Within is a set of photographs showing historical locations and musicians Credits are detailed and respectfully presented acknowledging the artists’ debt to the communities that they have sought to sonically explore.
The latest 2009 release from the Spotted Peccary label delivers a collaborative project from two well respected electronic recording artists Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo. This collection of twelve pieces features partial segments of cylinder recordings from the late 1800s – Omaha and Kiowa Indian voices thick with time. Current onsite recordings of Apache drums and songs as well as other genuine performance elements maintain the musical balance, with Deborah Martin providing vocals, synths, Taos drums and percussion and Erik Wøllo bringing further synths and programming. Steve Roach is credited with having provided additional synths and atmospheres for a number of tracks. This sound bridge between worlds seeks to illustrate something of American Indian belief whilst deftly presenting a rich heritage that made a connection with the earth strikingly different from that of much of today’s society.
One thought on “Between Worlds”
One of the most amazing albums I have ever encountered. What is truly striking is that the music evokes historical context and genuine ancient spiritual senses. I found myself searching and reading about American Indian history. It’s a beautiful creation and pure magic. Stunning and deep! I only wish there were more. Thank you!