What does it sound like?:
Exposure, reissued here as a cd plus audio dvd set, is one of Robert Fripp’s best and certainly most accessible albums, featuring collaborations with a number of artists, including Peter Gabriel, Eno, Peter Hammill and, perhaps rather surprisingly, Daryl Hall. The original 1979 album appears as Edition 4, and has been newly remixed to fine effect by Steven Wilson, while the dvd additionally features the 2005 version (Edition 3), plus the album in its originally intended iteration (Last of the Great New York Heartthrobs). Originally conceived as one of a trio of albums planned to be released simultaneously, along with Daryl Hall’s Sacred Songs and Peter Gabriel’s second effort (both produced by Fripp), the album presents the artist in a very different light to his last sighting in King Crimson in 1974, the music being a mixture of mainly short songs, instrumentals and sound collages, featuring a variety of different vocalists along the way. The move to New York in the latter part of the seventies seemingly galvanised and inspired Fripp, influencing the sounds he created and at the same time reinvigorating his creative palette, both in the way he worked and in the opportunities the city’s thriving and newly buoyant music scene created to collaborate with new artists. Highlights for me are the title track plus the new version of Here Comes The Flood, but overall this has to be one the best ever debut solo albums, one that still stands apart from the pack – it’s really withstood the test of time with its power and vitality, and if you’ve never heard it then this is a great opportunity to put that right.
Washington Square Church, another cd and audio dvd package, is a collection of live recordings made in the New York church of the title in July and August of 1981.This is a prime example of the Frippertronics technique of creating pieces from tape loops overlaid with his guitar, slowly building the music from the ground upwards. There are certainly some fine early examples of this method here, with the mesmerising loops overlaid with powerful yet strangely beautiful guitar solos. It’s hard to believe this remarkable music was created over forty years ago as it still sounds so current, especially on the surround mixes presented on the dvd. This type of music is maybe not to everyone’s taste, but if you want an introduction to the whole Frippertronics genre, then this is perhaps one of the best and musically most accessible entry points.
What does it all *mean*?
For the superfan, there’s a huge Exposure box set available, but otherwise two more reissued titles will be arriving in July.
Goes well with…
Expecting the unexpected.
Might suit people who like…
Creative collaborations and ambient spiraling soundscapes.