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The Friday Morning Listen – Robert Fripp

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Things have been kinda strange as of late. Various people at the house have been sick (and now recovering, I think). The weather has been very bizarre too. Two things we almost never get in New England are: hot & dry and warm & extremely damp… at least not at the end of June. Warm & damp doesn't begin to describe the recent sog we've suffered through.

So the word I'm looking for is oppressive. Emotionally and physically oppressive. It's been a weird slide toward summer.

This being the 4th of July weekend in the States, you would think that I would have picked some big, blustery sort of music that would both kick off the weekend celebration and kick this nasty wet blanket of a mood squarely in the ass.

Well, that would have been a good idea because on top of all of whatever's been going on, I've been up very late several nights yakking on the phone with friends, culminating with last night's dinner with an old friend at a locale requiring a two hour drive home… through severe thunderstorms.

Yow. So when I got up this morning I had some nice John Astin-style dark circles underneath my eyes. Lovely.

Instead of blasting some VeryAmerican™ Bob Seger or whatever, I end up with a very British, very introspective Robert Fripp. I can't explain it. This is Fripp at his most… uhm… something. He calls them soundscapes and that they are.

Some folks might think that Fripp is being pretentious, what with titles like "Acceptance – Affirming," "Love Cannot Bear," and "Requiem – Affirming." No, I've read and listened to many an interview with the man and, basically, he is who he is. A musician with perhaps too many brain cells in that head. A musician who can listen to blissful classical music in his hotel room and then go onstage to commit aural violence with his guitar. A musician who recognizes his touring personality enough to refer to himself as "grumpy."

Also, a musician with big ears. Big enough to come up with these soundscapes, pretty much dripping with personality and hope. Or something.

Don't worry, I'll slap Live Bullet on the record player tomorrow.

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About Mark Saleski

  • This is probably my favorite soundscapes album since 1999, which still gives me shivers because it’s just kind of freaky sounding. This is more mournful and yearning, but all of his soundscapes seem to have been that way since his mother died (she seems to have figured deeply in his soundscapes. I wish he would explain why.)

    Fripp’s released every soundscapes show that he’s played this year through DGMLive.com. I have still yet to download any of them, however, because I find that his soundscapes really take a long time to really sink in and a long time to wear out to the point that I feel a need for a new album of them.

  • i’d love to see him do a soundscapes show. the closest i’ve come is one of the Projekt 2 shows, which defintely had some soundscapey material in them.

  • I saw Fripp opening for one of the G3 tours years ago. It was pretty entertaining to watch the crowd. The houselights were up and Fripp’s usual swooping, swirling sounds were going on, but few in crowd realized that the guy on stage was creating it and so ignored it, thinking he was a roadie tuning guitars. Not the most appropriate setting for this music, but definitely the most humorous.

  • I’ve got a couple of Fripp memories that stand out for me, both are from the late seventies during the ambient faze of his career. Some friends and I had taken the original silent film version of Nosferatu out of the library-this being the days before home video and DVD we also had to rent a projector to play the spools of film.

    We put on “Music For Films” for a soundtrack, and good lord if it didn’t work perfectly. It was probably far better than the original score would have sounded through the little speaker on the projector, and it lent the film an amazing supernatural quality.

    The second is two friends went to a Fripatronics concert in 1979 in Toronto. It involved Fripp on stage with a guitar and a bunch of tape machines whirling away. After the intermission, he came back out, they said he had barely said a word until this point, and said that he’s never really admired very many rock and roll guitar players except for Jimi Hendrix and with that went into a searing version of “Wild Thing”. After that he played another hour of Fripatronics calmly sitting on a stool and not saying another word.

    Richard Marcus

  • Joey

    Back during the first go ’round of King Crimson, I thought Fripp was one of the master’s. Then I purchased… League of Gentlemen. Whew, what a let down that was. I was in Japan back in the mid-80’s and just happened upon the 2nd edition of King Crimson… wow.

    Since then Fripp has continued to inspire. I ALMOST signed up for his music seminar in West Virginia, but career moves necessitated that I wouldn’t be able to take the alotted time away from the gold mine.

    I did see Tony Levin on several occassions after the Japan tour I witnessed. Other than some work with Andy Sommer, I don’t think Levin shined any brighter than with his stint in King Crimson.