Terje Rypdal/David Darling: Eos (ECM 1263)

Terje Rypdal
David Darling

Terje Rypdal electronic guitar, casio mt-30
David Darling cello, electric cello
Recorded May 1983 at Talent Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals
From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure,
And bosom beating with a heart renewed.
–Alfred Lord Tennyson

Eos. Greek goddess of the dawn. Aurora to the Romans. She of the rosy fingers and golden arms. A welcome companion as we take in these private explorations from Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal and American cellist David Darling. Although further collaborations would reveal themselves on The Sea and Skywards, it was on Eos that they first tested the former’s mettle against the latter’s fluid tensions. The session begins where you might, depending on your temperament, least or most expect: in the solar eclipse of “Laser.” Rypdal sharpens his tools alone, raining sparks and molten glass. From this lit match burns a slow and epic fuse in the 14-and-a-half-minute title improvisation. Here the unlikely duo charts its deepest waters, covering our expectations in a muslin screen. Like a dream, it pulls at our feet with heartrending pathos, Rypdal bleeding coronas as he croaks into life. After this graft of spiritual skin, we continue our slumber in “Bedtime Story,” where an angelic drone cradles Darling’s plaintive acoustic and finds a willing partner in Rypdal’s amplified warble. Yet the skies begin to pale in “Light Years,” where the promise of interstellar travel becomes a fantasy for the lonely. As the stars wash into a white blanket around us, we see in the eyes of the cosmos a dire reflection. The world as we know it has vanished, and we are the only ones left with any concept of time. Our guide is the “Melody” that follows. Its wrists are frail, dusted like Saturn’s rings, and equally impossible to grasp. Still they lead, bringing to bear a false promise in “Mirage.” Rypdal’s snaking lines burrow into this pizzicato landscape without ever looking back, shaking off the residue of memory in favor of an enlightened solitude. This leaves us in the sweetness of “Adagietto,” where loving arms grow from dark matter like dandelions, blown into countless galaxies by the breath of Theia herself.

<< Kenny Wheeler: Double, Double You (ECM 1262)
>> Alfred Harth: This Earth! (ECM 1264)

4 thoughts on “Terje Rypdal/David Darling: Eos (ECM 1263)

    1. Thank you again, Will. “Mirage” gets deeper all the time. I am a great admirer of both musicians, and yet only heard this record for the first time last week. Certainly one to explore.

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