Unsurprisingly, “The Sea II” is the follow up to the 1995 ECM recording, “The Sea”. Pianist Ketil Bjornstad enlists the same cast which is: Terje Rypdal: guitar, David Darling: cello and Jon Christensen on drums. This outing seems more fragmented than “The Sea”. Rypdal gets more space to stretch out but his soaring guitar pyrotechnics seem out of place here. The compositions tend to piggyback each other and the overall product seems less thematic than the original. There are some lovely moments when Bjornstad and Darling create ethereal moods and somber settings; however, there is considerably less substance and at times the compositions seem faceless and devoid of character. A less than spectacular effort from this assemblage of acclaimed Nordic musicians.
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