Terje Rypdal: Per Ulv


Per Ulv


Terje Rypdal (guitar, keyboards, synthesizer)


Waves (ECM 827419)

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Terje Rypdal (guitar, keyboards, synthesizer), Sveinung Hovensjø (guitar), Palle Mikkelborg (trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, synthesizer), Jon Christensen (drums, percussion ).

Composed by Terje Rypdal


Recorded: Oslo, September 1977


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Rock-jazz fusion ECM style, from the Norwegian who has come to epitomize the electric guitar for the label. The song commences solely with Christensen’s hypnotic, percolating percussion that keeps listeners transfixed for forty-five seconds until Hovensjø’s bass enters with a single-chord thud, followed by a six note sequence that in turn heralds Rypdal’s arrival. The leader uses an Arp synthesizer as an icy, stoic backwash against which he plays some of the more desolate sounds ever wrung from a six-string. As the song lumbers on to the chorus, Mikkelborg’s electronically-muffled horn plays a thematic statement that’s awfully close to bop, sharply contrasting from the prior section.

The slowing unfolding cycle of these two themes gets broken up in the middle by a straight rock interlude that’s directly out of mid-period Pink Floyd. The horn sheds the electronic effects and plays a unison line with the guitar, interspersed with Rypdal’s bluesy chops. The ending vamp introduces another strangely altered sound, presumably Mikkelborg’s trumpet made to resemble a synthesized harmonica.

Rypdal created a unique soundscape that’s oddly both futuristic while rooted in jazz and tribal forms of music at once. More than thirty years later, it’s as evocative and forward-looking as ever.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron


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