on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2019 19 Jul

ECM Double Take (14) – Terje Rypdal: Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away (1974) & Odyssey (1975)

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags:  | Comments off





Hi, Steve,


this may seem a bit nostalgia-driven, but though he he still made awesome albums later on, too, my Terje Rypdal „life changers“ all come from the 70‘s, being WHAT COMES AFTER, WHENEVER I SEEM TO BE FAR AWAY, AFTER THE RAIN, and ODYSSEY.

My first summer in Würzburg studying psychology was a hard one. I lived in an international student‘s home, and the city was situated on the bottom of a basin, a valley basin, surrounded by flora and fauna.

Over some weeks, at highest pollution rates, which always happened in the middle of the night, I sometimes woke up with nasty allergic asthma. I had to take a pill called ASTHMOKRANIT, a hell of a drug. At first it contained aminophenazone, and years later they took the product from the market, cause it could cause cancer, so they said. Then it contained ephedrine which lead to a very special high when the spasms lost their grip.

Thing is, before the drug-induced high, i did some music therapy, kind of, and chose between two albums and these albums only –  one was John Coltrane’s LIVE IN JAPAN, the wild free jazz quintet that can rip off walls and move mountains, including a 30 minute version of LEO. The other one, during my  Asthma nights, was WHENEVER I SEEM TO BE FAR AWAY, from Terje Rypdal, full of yearning string passages, and guitar lines like making the darkest horizon glow – immediately, though still short on breath, I felt a psychic release, sometimes quiet tears were running down my cheeks, and, strange enough, I felt brimming with life.

And, believe me, though these two albums were on two very different poles of the musical universe (the Coltrane one even was in mono, and I cranked up the volume, no one was knocking at my door), Rypdal‘s and Coltrane‘s music had the deepest emotional impact in those summer nights – they really sent me places, and turned a miserable moment into knocking on heaven‘s door, in a great, life-affirming way.


Looking forward  meeting you at Punkt,

best, Michael

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