Terje Rypdal: What Comes After (ECM 1031)

 

Terje Rypdal
What Comes After

Terje Rypdal guitars, flute
Barre Phillips basses
Jon Christensen percussion, organ
Erik Niord Larsen oboe, English horn
Sveinung Hovensjø electric bass
Recorded August 7/8, 1973 at Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Terje Rypdal’s What Comes After, his second for ECM as frontman, is more about what came before. An exquisite diversion from the dustier billows of his later work, it charts much of the same territory as its self-titled predecessor, only this time with a tighter supporting roster. Sveinung Hovensjø lays down the dominant bass line that is “Bend It,” an atmospheric 10-minute opener that lulls us into its nocturnal crawl. The bowed bass of Barre Phillips and Jon Christensen’s subtle drum work adorn long-form improvisations from Rypdal as he wrenches out an ever-changing dialogue from the repetitive core. “Yearning” reprises the sinewy oboe (played here by Erik Niord Larsen) of Rypdal’s self-titled effort and features him in a rare acoustic turn. The jangly percussion makes for a mystical, if all too brief, experience. The see-sawing melodies and tender bass solo of “Icing” extend this feeling of isolation and memory before the delicate rimshot of the title track slinks metronomically through Rypdal’s mounting ruminations. “Séjours” marks the oboe’s standout return in one of the album’s most thoroughly realized tracks, while “Back Of J.” leaves us with a sparse final word, Rypdal unplugged and unhurried.

Albums like this allow us to appreciate the ways in which artists grow. ECM’s consummate electric guitarist has worn many hats, and perhaps none so many as in his formative years. Here, he feeds off his surroundings, even as he strays in equally fruitful directions, always harboring an innate awareness of where he is grounded. A wonderful place to start for initiates and strangers alike.

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