A more eclectic release than his preceding releases, Jan Garbarek's I Took Up the Runes satisfies listeners who had been more or less impatient for something with some meat and some muscle. Opening with a jazzy cover of Mari Persen's "Gula Gula," made fuller with bass guitar accompaniment that modifies the chord structure of the whole tune, the album next features the five-part "Molde Canticle," which spans from a dreamy esoteric sound to African folk music. Garbarek really wails in places, and it is a welcome surprise -- he should wail more than he does. Synthesizer sounds are starting to become less prominent as well. There is excellent piano work by Rainer Brüninghaus and excellent vocalizing by guest artist Ingor Ántte Áilu Gaup. A sign of good things to come.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Allender