Return to Forever – Romantic Warrior (1976)

Ah again a classic. Classic in older material, not in the sense of being for eternity. Why? Well, it’s freakish jazz rock. I mean, jazz rock is is freakish to being with. But to have freakish jazz rock . . . . Well I’ll stop here. Apart from me saying it’s nice to listen to once in a while. I like Chick Corea’s playing and still am a fan of his analogue synth sounds and the Fender Rhodes. But what I really like is how Lenny White’s drums sound. The tom-toms are just sounding great: very open, clear. Al diMeola is OK, I like him more on his solo albums.

Unfortunately some tracks are a bit corny, such as Majestic Dance and The Magician. The rest is good for the genre in it’s era.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Well, basically, this is a classic, selling millions (I guess).  Some don’t get used to rap, but no doubt: this is very funky music (check Suck my Kiss). Sometimes a bit folky (Breaking the Girl) to get a break from the right in your face music. Of course it had some major hits: Give it Away and Under the Bridge. The last bunch of the tracks are more rock oriented.

Production wise (I know, it’s an ugly word), the album is right into your face. Immediately in the first song – The Power of Equality – listen to the drums: they’ve been recorded twice. Split extreme onto the left and right channel. Normally a technique used to create heavy guitar tracks. Here, it creates some heavy drums. The guitar on this album is kept direct and very transparent. The bass, well, is low and funky.

Terje Rypdal – If Mountains Could Sing (1994)

This record is a fusion between guitar oriented rock and classical music. This sounds quite like a dodgy record, in a similar vain as Yngwie Malmsteen. But no, this is a totally different kind of fusion, or at least a different kind of rock music and a different kind of classical music. No Bach or Mozart whatsoever, this is more the modern kind of classical music.

The record consists of some pieces by a small rock band. Rock band? Well, sort of: a three-piece band guitar, drums and double-bass and electric bass. The small band leaves a lot of room for improvisation, not the kind with trillions of notes per minute. Most pieces have an airy, roomy and laid back feel to it.

Other pieces are performed by a small string ensemble, relatively unstructured while other pieces are performed by a combined ensemble. The balance between the rock, and jaz  and classical influences is really good, it blends perfectly. Terje Rypdal, being on the scene quite some time, has a really beautiful tone on his guitar. His use of volume and tremolo is superb. Maybe there’s something special about Scandinavian musicians (cf. Jan Garbarek). What is true is that the label ECM that puts out his records has a good reputation of compiling a good catalogue of musicians and records similar to Rypdal’s.