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Terje Rypdal - Bleak House CD (album) cover


Terje Rypdal


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.05 | 28 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This was Terje Rypdal's debut album released in 1968 as a 21 year old. He had already become a guitar hero of sorts as a teenager playing in THE VANGUARDS, but "Bleak House" would be the start of something beautiful. I was surprised at the variety on this record as Terje seems to be dipping his foot into many different waters. Avant-Garde, Jazz, Big band and Blues are all part of the party but we also get compositions and improvs too. By the way some of the guitarists who have pointed to Rypdal as an influence are Jeff Beck, Andy Summers, Bill Frisell and David Torn.

"Dead Man's Tale" is like a slow burn with slowly pulsating organ, a guitar line and a beat as vocals arrive before a minute. This is a bluesy number that is kept at a low boil. I can just imagine hearing this in a smokey bar back in the day. Terje solos tastefully 3 1/2 minutes in as it becomes all-instrumental to the end. The organ solos before 4 1/2 minutes in a fairly relaxed manner, then it's the flute's turn to solo a minute later. So good. "Wes" is a bright tune with plenty of horns playing over the guitar melodies. It sounds like an upright bass before 1 1/2 minutes. Good tune! "Winter Serenade" is a free-form track based on an idea from Rypdal. It's very low key with sparse piano and a subtle horn to start. It starts to get fuller 1 1/2 minutes in. This has an avant feel to it as different sounds come and go. We are in the heart of avant territory 3 minutes in. It's almost haunting after 4 minutes then it starts to wind down well before the 5 minute mark to become low key like the beginning.

"Bleak House" is a relaxed jazzy song with some nice drumming, guitar and horns.Terje starts to solo after a minute. Nice. Horns lead the way 2 1/2 minutes in as Rypdal steps aside. The guitar is back before 4 minutes as themes are repeated. Terje is ripping it up after 5 minutes. "Sonority" is a beautiful piece with atmosphere and some pleasant flute as well. The horns seem to breathe and exhale in wonder. Cymbals and other intricate sounds can be heard as the guitar is played tastefully. Check out the guitar and flute 3 1/2 minutes in as things turn more passionate. "A Feeling Of Harmony" is the short closing track with male vocal melodies accompanied with acoustic guitar. This is a catchy and enjoyable number. The flute replaces the vocals after a minute. The vocals are back late after the flute has stopped. i really enjoy this one.

While i'm not big on variety I really enjoy every song on here. Sure the best was yet to come but I highly recommend this one.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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