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Terje Rypdal - Odyssey CD (album) cover

ODYSSEY

Terje Rypdal

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.88 | 21 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Terje's continuing adventures with ECM were beginning to transform in a love affair, to the point that Manfred allowed Rypdal to release a double disc affair, which I believe in 75 was the label's first. This album features the usual "Rypdal Norwegian Whale-fishing crew" suspects, despite the strange choice of a trombonist as the unique horn player, outside of the master's own sax twiddlings. Apparently the remaster of this album lists also a French horn player as well, and this could be explained that he only appeared on side 4 of the album, which is not on the first CD reissue. Oh BTW, the album's name has nothing to do with mythology, so if you're into concept album, you'll be disappointed.

Anyway, we're facing a relatively quiet album, with plenty of atmospheric moments, most of it created by Blix's organ (no other Kb played), but also Terje's strident and aerial guitar wails. Indeed, by the time of this album's release, Terje was fine-tuning his typical guitar style (well somewhere between Oldfield and Hackett), and he'll have plenty of time to achieve it over the course of these two discs. Lengthy and gliding tracks like Midnite, Adagio, Fare Well are just excuses to allow Terje to wail, soar, reign, dominate his team- mates heads and shoulders. Actually, when not on his guitar, Rypda is laying out some synth layers from his String Ensemble rig, but he's not a Tangerine Dream member, and there are way too many useless meanders and other lengths (thinking of Adagio amongst other), and the whole thing is uneventful. One could call this album "new age" if the term had been coined much sooner, so I suppose that many described it as cosmic or spacey, which I think might be a tad misleading, partly because of Rypdal's guitar sometimes leaving its annoying aerial wails to come down and growl a bit in the lower registers, like in my album-fave Better Off Without You, and Birkerot, where he really unleashes. Fare Well is actually quite annoying, because Terje's strident guitars are really aggravating and irritating to my left ear, and switching channel speakers won't help, because after two minutes, the right ear is sore. Ballade is self-explanatory and boring except maybe for Terje's guitar growls when it doesn't soar searingly.

A rare double ECM album, but given the result, no wonder Manfred didn't release that many more and its CD reissue has been shortened by the D-sidelong Rolling Stone track; which by its name, might have been the rockier or energetic track of the album. Never heard it, though. This is the kind of ECM album that you can feel glad it has an end and relief comes once it stops spinning or by pushing the eject button. Definitely not my cup of tea, outside two or three (shorter) tracks.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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