Dark, funky and versatile aren't usually words that go together to describe one album — particularly an instrumental progressive-fusion album with metal and jazz leanings. But in the case of multi-instrumentalist do-it-yourselfer Greg Rapaport's eclectic yet accessible instrumental-guitar project Wyrd, that trio of descriptors works damn near perfectly. This album was released in 2001, but as is occasionally the case when sailing on the Sea of Tranquility, some discs don't come into port until well after their maiden voyage.
Wyrd is worth the wait, as Rapaport — who hails from Westchester County, N.Y. — sounds unlike any other progressive electric guitarist on the scene. The album opens with "11th Portal," a scorching shredder that'll rock you into another world, but then segues into "Mahdah," a smooth yet upbeat jazzy piece whose opening and closing passages will bring you right back to your front porch on a cool weekend morning. In between the song's beginning and end, however, Rapaport will scare the bejeezus out of your neighbors with clean, screaming lines and effects that sound like hell unleashed. Other highlights among these nine tracks include the bass-heavy groove of "Bugjuice" (demonstrating Rapaport's adeptness on other instruments, albeit one of them is a drum machine), the aggressively melodic "Diminished Returns" and "Powderburn," and the staccato rhythms of spooky yet dreamy closer "Darkmatter."
Don't let the artwork — featuring a stone statue of a naked man reaching above his head to grip the arms of some unseen savior while smaller stone statues appear to be writhing in pain, roiling in sorrow and reveling in evil — throw you. In fact, it's got something to do with the album's name, which comes from the term representing three Norse sisters known as the Norns: Urd ("that which has become"), Verdandi ("that which is becoming") and Skuld ("that which should become"). It's all very intriguing.
Intelligent music? Check. Intelligent player? Check. One last question: Why the hell, after self-releasing four albums, does this guy still not have the support of a label?