Terje Rypdal: After The Rain (ECM 1083)

 

Terje Rypdal
After The Rain

Terje Rypdal electric and acoustic guitars, string ensemble, piano, electric piano, soprano saxophone, flute, tubular bells, bells
Inger Lise Rypdal voice
Recorded August, 1976 at Talent Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Konghaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

With an incendiary initiation on Jan Garbarek’s Afric Pepperbird, and after successfully leading far-reaching experiments like his first self-titled project and the plush Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away, Terje Rypdal opened a new door for ECM when he stepped into the studio to record perhaps his most intimate statement to date. In spite of their brevity, the ten tracks on After The Rain flow in a single 38-minute ode to the almost painful depths of life’s greatest joys. Rypdal overdubs every instrument himself, with his former wife, vocalist Inger Lise, providing the occasional organic touch. Shielded by a holy trinity of intimacy, sincerity, and fearlessness, Rypdal plunges with open eyes into the darkest eddies of his emotional waters. An electric keyboard provides much of the album’s supportive breadth, as in the heavily flanged gem that is “Air.” Rypdal gives us a rare acoustic taste in “Now And Then,” and in “Wind” an even rarer flute solo. The title track breathes in a cloudless sky, Rypdal’s electric cello-like in its weighted grace. Wind chimes complete the illusion of the cover art’s open plain. A string of vignettes, among them the utterly poignant “Little Bell,” leads us to “Like A Child, Like A Song,” bringing its hands together in humble elegy.

Hanging words such as “atmospheric,” “evocative,” or “lyrical” on this Christmas tree would only topple it in a shower of withered needles. One might say the title refers not to the music itself, which if anything feels drenched, but rather to its lingering effects. I sometimes imagine the synthesizer here as a substitute for an unavailable orchestra, the presence of which would have created an entirely different, Eberhard Weber-like, experience. As it is, its sedation lends a potent archival ascendency and distills the soaring solos within. Rypdal’s keening guitar percolates through the album’s semi-porous cloth like sunlight through the veil over a face of one who has seen the world only through the wavering screen of tears, and never in the clarity of day. It is a style of playing that falls even as it rises. At his profoundest moments, Rypdal inspires a humbling lack of vocabulary with which to describe what one hears. In which case, After the Rain is filled with silence.

3 thoughts on “Terje Rypdal: After The Rain (ECM 1083)

  1. Entrambi sovraincisi personalmente dai titolari al Talent Studio di Oslo, After The Rain di Terje Rypdal e Characters di John Abercrombie sono album molto diversi l’uno dall’altro, sebbene concepiti dal produttore Manfred Eicher col medesimo intento: consentire a due dei più emblematici chitarristi ECM di esprimersi in solitudine. I rispettivi approcci strumentali distinguono in modo netto il norvegese dall’americano.
    After The Rain – Con l’inconfondibile sonorità psichedelica della sua Stratocaster, Rypdal secerne note lunghe, sostenute, che fluttuano come bolle sopra gli accordi onirici del pianoforte. Intervallati da refoli di flauto (Wind, Little Bell) e bozzetti acustici (Now And Then, Multer), i brani più estesi (Autumn Breeze, Air, After The Rain, Kjare Maren, Vintage Year, Like A Child, Like A Song) compongono una sinfonia scintillante di bagliori siderali.

  2. After starting with ECm around 1978, this is still one of my Top 10 recordings of theirs, and still my very favorite Rypdal recording of all time. I find it more intimate than anything else he’s done and the lack of percussion gives one the chance to really focus in on the canvas Rypdal paints here.
    Besides, I know of nowhere else where one can hear Rypdal play acoustic guitar (or even briefly saxophone on one track).
    For me, Rypdal perfectly balanced each piece instrumentation-wise, regardless of if the piece has multiple instruments or is a piece for a solo instrument (example: flute or solo acoustic guitar), I never come away from this one thinking he should have added to, or .left off any instrumental part on any of the pieces. That’s quite an accomplishment for this type of album since any piece could have been ruined by too much, or too little going on.

  3. This is the recording that introduced me to Terje Rypdal. The opener ‘Autumn Breeze’ is still one of my favourite pieces. He has perfectly captured the swirling nature of fallen leaves tossed by the eddying breeze with the delicate interplay of piano and electric guitar before that endlessly sustained, singing guitar heralds the darker, colder days to come. The album is full of perfectly composed, arranged and performed vignettes.

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