Terje Rypdal: keyboards, electric guitar
Bjorn Kjellemyr: acoustic & electric basses
Audun Kleive: drums, percussion
02. Once Upon A Time
04. A Closer Look
08. Imagi (Theme)
ECM Records 1303
Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal never achieved the level of commercial success that his fellow ECM guitarists Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell eventually did, but he made some excellent music while earning a cult following. Rypdal's style is more than a little like Frisell's, in that place where sonic density, texture and timbre are as critical as note choices and phrasing.
A lot of Rypdal's music veers toward the ethereal, but this mid-80s recording introduces a "power trio" format with bassist Bjorn Kjellemyr and drummer Audun Kleive, a lineup that is an apt showcase for Rypdal's formidable chops and clever, knotty compositions. The opening "Ambiguity" would have made a solid four-minute rock song, but lumbers along for about nine minutes instead (the song's theme is finally stated at about the 3:20 mark, and then it settles down into a terse, dramatic rocker.) "Geysir" is a thrilling track, with Rypdal furiously improvising over a staggering variety of bass techniques offered up by Kjellemyr. The ballad "Ornen" is gorgeous, with soulful Strat tones, sonorous bass and that sumptuous slow 6/8 feel. "Chaser" rocks with a catchy melody and some very dextrous turnarounds; "Transition" might well have been the inspiration for the Pink Floyd instrumental "Marooned."
Americans don't know much about Terje Rypdal; calling him "Norway's Bill Frisell" is an oversimplification, but if you dig Frisell you will like this one a lot. Recommended. - Christopher J. Pellerito (Amazon.com)