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Terje Rypdal

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Terje Rypdal Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away album cover
3.99 | 45 ratings | 6 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Silver Bird Is Heading For The Sun (14.03)
2. The Hunt (5:22)
3. Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away (17:39)

Total Time 37:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Terje Rypdal / guitar

- Pete Knutsen / electric piano, Mellotron
- Odd Ulleberg / French horn
- Sveinung Hovensjo / 4-& 6-string electric basses
- Jon Christensen / percussion
- Sudfunk Symphony Orchestra / orchestra members (3)
- Mladen Gutesa / conductor (3)
- Helmut Geiger / violin solo (3)
- Christian Hedrich / viola solo (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Tadayuki Naitoh (photo)

LP ECM Records ‎- ECM 1045 ST (1974, Germany)

CD ECM Records ‎- ECM 1045 (2002, Germany)

Thanks to Slartibartfast for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TERJE RYPDAL Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away ratings distribution

(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (4%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TERJE RYPDAL Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Long time ECM recording artist Terje Rypdal was heavily influenced by the jazz-fusion scene of the late 60s, and he was a big personal fan of Miles and Hendrix. This is a rather interesting entry in that it combines some of the Mclaughlin flavored fusion in the first half with an orchestral composition in the title track. "Silver Bird Is Heading For The Sun" is the lead off track at 14 minutes. It begins with a creepy French horn over mellotron before the bass and drums kick in. Rypdal's guitar in the early going is heavy and fuzzed out as it plays off the tron and electric piano. More burning lead guitar follows atop a hugely in-your-face bass presence. Fans of everything from Mahavishnu to Fripp to traditional to modern jazz should find something to like on Side 1. The improvisations find some strange dark galaxies-that along with the superb playing keep this long track quite interesting throughout. "The Hunt" features the same instrumentation but the song itself is not as energetic as "Silver Bird." The guitar lays back somewhat during moments where the horn has some cool parts, playing detached melodies over the mellotron, it is unusual to say the least. "Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away" is the epic length title piece at nearly 18 minutes. It features members of the Sudfunk Symphony Orchestra on strings, oboe, and clarinet. This is an amazing track. There is tons of space in the beginning as the violin and woodwind make gentle introductions playing music that imparts unease, insecurity, questioning? Rypdal holds back until the 7 minute mark when he comes in with ominous notes. Soon he is doing almost space-rock improvisations to the classical music which has moved to the background. Tension ebbs and flows. The ending mirrors the beginning with strings and woodwinds but the mood seems a bit more reassuring somehow perhaps from what we've learned during the journey. Terje sneaks in a last bit of guitar at the tail end to bring a nice close. Some will find the title track too boring I predict but those who enjoy long meandering explorations will be thrilled with it. Not quite a masterpiece in my book but a very unique and enjoyable experience for eclectic fusion fans. Ambitious, thought provoking instrumental music that is never obvious and occasionally really breathtaking.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars.The photo on the album cover was taken after the sun had set and it's almost dark. You can still see dark blue in the water and sky, but it will soon be all black. An apt description of the music inside. Not totally dark like UNIVERSE ZERO for example, but it's pretty close at times. This is different to say the least.

The first two tracks feature a lot of haunting and even creepy mellotron from Pete Knutsen from the Norwegian band POPOL VUH. The French horn only adds to the melancholy, while we at times get some fuzz bass(first track). The lead guitar work by Terje on the first two tracks is fantastic. The self titled side long track has no mellotron on it, but it's the darkest song on the record, this is Chamber music that slowly moves along with the help of strings, clarinet and aboe from a Symphony orchestra. Terje again comes in with his wondrous guitar playing to liven things up somewhat. "Silver Bird Is Heading For The Sun" opens with french horn as waves of haunting mellotron come in. It kicks into gear a minute in as we get some fuzz bass, guitar and drums. Piano joins in as well, the guitar becomes prominant 2 minutes in. More mellotron follows. Fuzz bass 4 minutes in as piano and guitar do their thing. Terje is at his most aggressive after 5 minutes as he rips it up. French horn is back before 7 1/2 minutes as fuzz bass continues. The mellotron after 11 minutes is so creepy. The guitar kicks back in before 12 1/2 minutes as mellotron and fuzz bass continue. It brightens somewhat for the ending when the french horn comes in.

"The Hunt" opens with drums and percussion. French horn follows and mellotron before 1 1/2 minutes. Deep bass and guitar also join in. The mellotron is great ! So is the bass. French horn is back 3 minutes in. The final minute of the song sounds amazing. "Whenever I Seem So Far Away" opens with sombre violin sounds followed by clarinet then violin again. Strings and a dark mood is set before 3 minutes. Clarinet is fairly prominant until we get a change 7 minutes in as the sound gets fuller. Terje starts to take over with his guitar as it cries out in the darkness,especially 14 minutes in. A calm with violin 15 minutes in followed by clarinet 17 minutes in.The guitar ends this one though the way it should.

Thankyou Finnforest who's excellent review of this album caused me to search for it, only to find it was out of print. Thankfully I finally found out it has been recently re-issued, and I got it through The Lasers Edge. Thanks Ken.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is one of early solo album from Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal. He played with Jan Garbarek before ( and with many others before and later as well). Just three long compositions, played by Terje guitar, electric jazz fusion band and symphonic orchestra.

Rypdal's guitar technique always was unique, so it's difficult to compare it with any other guitar player. It's interesting, that he combines rock jamming roots ( Jimi Hendrix) with Nordic jazz school and classic minimalism.

Whenever ECM recording, sound is very clear and airy, even orchestra is placed on back-up, no over-orchestration or overproduction there. It's difficult to describe music of this album in standard categories. Most obviously it is European experimental sound ,which combines electric free-jazz, jazz-rock fusion elements and neo-symphonic orchestration. Atmosphere is cool, plenty of free space for sounds and your imagination. I can imagine this album as Miles Davis electric period work with orchestra, but just transformed in very European ground.

Very nice and interesting music, but quite free-form and not very rock-influenced. No drums and almost no rhythm at all. Liquid sound. So, you can decide if you will be interested by this album. But for fans of such kind of music this album is really great work.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars I'm not sure whether this is Rypdal's second or third ECM album, but it's one of the rockier ones, despite its schizophrenic nature. With its polar cap ice debacle artwork, this album features some of Terje's best musical buddies, and it was recorded in Oslo in 74. On the present, Rypdal concentrates on the guitar (no kb or horns), which allows his compadres to fully develop their roles.

Opening on the energetic 14-mins Silver Bird, Rypdal's guitar takes on an early Coryell-feel, and it grabs the JR/F fans by the guts, as we're hoping for McLaughlin-like fireworks, which somewhat unfortunately won't happen, because the song doesn't allow it. Progheads will be pleased to hear some gorgeous washes of mellotron that add a bit of tension and drama. Excellent stuff, with Hovensjo's bass playing adding much interest to the calmer moments. The following Hunt piece features the same line-up, with a rhythmic intro at first, and then a brooding mellotron underlining Terje's excellent guitar parts. More great stuff.

On the flipside, the sidelong title track features some string musicians from a local symphonic orchestra, and the subtitle indicates well its content: guitar, string, oboe and clarinet. Hovering between Russian composers and symphonico-ambient music (future "new age"), the track meanders too much and too long, before taking off of to the skies. In some ways, this track announces the lengthy voids of his next album Odyssey, with his searing and soaring guitar that will be reminiscent to Steve Hackett fans; but the orchestral arrangements are an asset that the next venture won't have. Fairly cheesy, but impressive nonetheless.

Well despite two vastly different vinyl facets, the A-side is sufficiently strong enough to gather my favours and the symphonic side is impressive enough to let me enter the album in my all- time top 10 ECM releases.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Staying in 1974, and Rypdal would release another solo effort, definitely his most ambitious one among his first few albums.''Whenever I seem to be far away'' was another ECM product, featuring again Sveinung Hovensjo on electric bass and Jon Christensen, this time only on percussion, while the picture are entering Odd Ulleberg on French horn and Peter Knutsen on Mellotron and electric piano, a founding member of Popol Ace.Moreover Rypdal would collaborate with the Suedfunk Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart, conducted by Mladen Gutesha.

Forget about Rypdal's deep experimental and highly minimalistic efforts of the past, here the style is more energetic, passionate and intense, even if there are plenty of improvisations and laid-back moments to be found.Clocking at 14 minutes, ''Silver bird is heading for the sun'' is an emphatic opener of psychedelic Fusion with Rypdal non-stop guitar torturing in a loose style over a fair dose of electric piano and some interruptions for the French horn of Ulleberg to be called.Jazzy rhythms, hypnotic psychedelia and angular guitar solos all the way, but the surprise comes from the cinematic Mellotron injections of Knutsen towards an even more sinister and cosmic atmosphere.The following ''The hunt'' lies somewhere between Jazz Orchestra stylings and Symphonic/Psychedelic Rock, opening with a more melodic sound due to the crying horn lines, but becoming a rich, orchestrated piece along the way with an omnipresent Mellotron and the abstract guitar/bass/drums beats of Rypdal, Hovensjo and Christensen.Entering the flipside, the 18-min. title-track, featuring Christian Hedrich on viola and Helmut Geiger on violin, is a different story.1/3 goes for cosmic, orchestral music, like coming out of a Soundtrack, with only the apparent presence of strings and wind instruments, before Rypdal enters the picture with his slow, atmospheric guitar.He supports the orchestra with his occasional electric solos, but the bulk of this track is dedicated to the pessimistic yet dreamy orchestrations of the Germans.Mellow stuff, which still has some weird, inner dynamics.

Unique work, which contains elements of symphonic, Classical, Jazz and Rock Music.Atmospheric, instrumental, multi-colored palletes, delivered in smooth arrangements.Recommended.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars This was the second Terje Rypdal album I bought, in 1994, after Odyssey. This album clearly explores two different paths. The first half is very much fusion, with Mellotron rearing its head from time to time. In 1994 I had no idea who Pete Knutsen was. I was aware of Popol Vuh from buying Tangerine Dream's Zeit around that time (never heard of them until then), but totally unaware there was also a Norwegian band with that name, and Pete Knutsen was a member (or that the Norwegian band changed their name to Popol Ace to avoid any further confusion). Anyway Knutsen was responsible for the electric piano and Mellotron. Only being familiar with Odyssey at the time, the music was more energetic and less spacy. Then comes the title track, takes up all of side two. This is clearly in the Third Stream. The Südfunk Symphony Orchestra helps with Terje providing guitar, but there's no band help, just Terje and the orchestra. If you're familiar with the Third Stream style, this is pretty typical, heavily influenced by classical. It has a rather eerie feel to it. Not everyone will go for the title track, but certainly fusion fans will dig side one without problem.

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