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 jazĀ  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.