Terje Rypdal: Melodic Warrior

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Terje Rypdal
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Terje Rypdal: Melodic Warrior
WORKS: Melodic Warrior; And The Sky Was Coloured With Waterfall And Angels
PERFORMER: Terje Rypdal (electric guitar); Melodic Warrior: The Hilliard Ensemble; Bruckner Orchester Linz/Dennis Russell Davies; And The Sky: Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra/Sebastian Perlowski
CATALOGUE NO: 3729504

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Terje Rypdal’s prolific career began as an AOR Polydor signing in the late 1960s, subsequently progressing as the spikiest member of ECM’s jazz guitar roster with excursions into the concert hall. This new offering is one of the latter and manages to be interesting and at the same time imperfect at several levels. Both pieces – Melodic Warrior and And The Sky Was Coloured With Waterfall And Angels are more episodic than thematic. The resulting compositional style favours large, extended slabs of sound being moved around, with detail and variation etched onto them like enigmatic hieroglyphics. Add to this the oddly untidy recording, replete with coughs and low-end boominess, plus the fact that the whole thing sounds absurdly under-rehearsed and it seems that – to paraphrase one of the guitarist’s early lyrics – we don’t quite know why we’re here. Redemption, as it turns out, is in the aforementioned detail which overlays the seething orchestration: the scribbly guitar phrases, the wayward vocal lines, the growling brass textures and more. Listen to this disc with that in mind and you’ll find it rewarding enough.

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Roger Thomas