Long before ECM released its first remix album (for Nils Petter Molvær’s Khmer), it put out this, its first singles collection. Or so it’s nice to think: the title actually has nothing to do with the content. For their third album, Terje Rypdal & the Chasers instead spit out one of the most transcendent rock albums this side of the Milky Way. So much of that transcendence lies in the bandleader’s characteristic sere. When spurred on by the keyboard stylings of Allan Dangerfield and Audun Kleive’s clear-and-present drumming, he simply can’t go wrong.
For twenty years electric guitarist Terje Rypdal (and ECM producer Manfred Eicher) have helped define the most sensual, moody, alluring aspects of European jazz and new music. And while Rypdal, the improvising guitarist, may structure his solos and chamber-like accompaniments in the manner of a jazz or classical composer, there's a lyric, rock edge to his guitar playing that will transport anyone who has ever contemplated the vocal cry of a Fender Stratocaster driven into distortion.
“My time with ECM is a lifetime by now,” Terje Rypdal notes, as he embarks upon his fourth decade with the label that has documented his far-reaching achievements as both improviser and composer. For this anthology, Rypdal chose to focus on his groundbreaking electric guitar artistry, heard in settings ranging from symphony orchestra to the enlightened hard rock of the Chasers. “Music must have colours and freedom”, Rypdal once said, and his selection here lacks neither.
Essentially a continuation of Rypdal Vitous DeJohnette, this album somewhat lacks the atmospheric keyboards of its predecessor. It is nonetheless quite compelling, particularly in DeJohnette's propulsive drumming on the title track, and his phantasmic piano and voice on "Uncomposed Appendix." This album also features one of Rypdal's best-loved works, the gorgeously stark and stately "Topplue, Votter & Skjerf" — Norwegian for "Hat, gloves, and scarf," an idiomatic phrase implying the onset of their long and cold winter.
An exciting departure for ECM veteran Rypdal, this extended work, commissioned for the 2009 Bergen Festival, begins with a sound of swirling massed horns likely to bring Coltrane to mind. There is more than a hint of “Ascension” in the opening moments of “Crime Scene”, a work paced like a mystery thriller. The music surrounds the Rypdal quartet with Mikkelborg, Storlokken and Vinnaccia (all of whom recently appeared on the critically-acclaimed “Vossabrygg”) with a 17-piece jazz big band and keeps the action moving at a fast pace.
This is a collaboration between Rypdal (on electric guitar & synth), and David Darling (cello). If you think electric guitar & cello is an odd combination for a band, you're right! If you think it couldn't possibly work, you're wrong!! Moody and compelling, and definitely not for everyone.Worth it just for the track "Mirage", which lives up to its title sonically. The track "Laser" does the same also… a blistering solo electric guitar kills any semblance of peace and silence, and after it's over, sets up the hot-summer-day-let-me-lay-and-listen mood for the rest of the CD. All are well worth the listening effort.
The electric guitar innovator in the 1970s. This box set in ECM’s Old & New Masters Series collects Terje Rypdal’s two-LP Odyssey album – heard on CD, for the first time, in its entirety, including the much-requested and epically-rocking “Rolling Stone” – and “Unfinished Highballs”, a recently unearthed 1976 radio recording that documents the Norwegian guitarist’s work for his Odyssey quartet and the Swedish Radio Jazz Group. The complete Odyssey may address a longstanding demand, but “Unfinished Highballs” will surprise even Rypdal’s most committed fans. It reveals that not only were many of the markers which would come to define his career already in place, but the intrepid guitarist was already searching for ways to include, rather than exclude, in his approach to composition and performance.