Erik Wøllo

Hvaler, Norway

The Abandoned Sea


Behind the Music

I had always seen the ocean as a vast endless beauty — a place of journey, trade and communication, where everything connects. Reading The Outlaw Ocean, however, has shown me the reality: The sea is lawless and, at times, a no man’s land that only a few have the power to dictate. As Ian reveals in his reporting, the ocean is not always a place of serenity. Beneath the glittering waves lies a world of corruption — dumping of toxic waste, smuggling, enslavement and skirting of the law. 

I want listeners to see and feel the cinematic beauty of the sea as well as its precarious fragility. We as humans are on the precipice of destroying sensitive environmental ecosystems that are crucial to us. We have to fight for the protection of the ocean, even if it often feels like a losing battle.

Erik Wøllo
About Erik Wøllo

Erik Wøllo (born 1961), one of Norway’s foremost composers, has been a professional artist since 1980. His long musical experience covers a wide range of styles from rock and jazz, to experimental electronic and classical music. He has been composing and performing music for films, theater, ballets and art exhibitions, as well as composing for strings, woodwinds and larger orchestras. As a guitarist he has been leading his own groups, playing at clubs, concert halls and festivals in Europe, the USA and Canada.

Erik has released over 50 albums with music that can be classified in the genres of space, drone, new age and electronic music. A true pioneer and always looking for new ways of expressing himself, he was one of the very first Norwegian composers who adapted minimalism in his work in the 1980s. Through his many successful album releases, he has gained worldwide recognition for his unique sound and style.

Erik Wøllo has collaborated and released well known album works together with some of the most respected artists in the ambient music world: Steve Roach, Michael Stearns, Ian Boddy, Byron Metcalf, Bernhard Wöstheinrich and several others.

Erik is best known for making spacious, evocative ambient and new age music, primarily using atmospheric guitars and synthesizers. However, he has also composed numerous works for contemporary classical ensembles, as well as pieces for ballet, theater, multimedia installations and library music. Additionally, he has explored genres such as techno, downtempo and world fusion.

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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