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Re: Robert Fripp's Radiophonics and A Blessing of Tears

On Nov 26, 2004, at 5:11 PM, Krispen Hartung wrote:
> However, with all due respect to the man and guitarist, I'm not at all 
> impressed with these particular works.  I find them dull and 
> uninspiring.  I even read through his academic discourse in the CD 
> insert…still, no greater appreciation of what he is doing.   I'm sure 
> the CD would make an outstanding soundtrack for a sci-fi or art film, 
> but as standalone works, I think they totally misrepresent Fripp's 
> caliber as a musician and composer.
> My contention is basically that every song sounds so similar to me, 
> and there is no real interesting melody work to give each song an 
> identity of its own. I'm sure Fripp would beg to differ, but as a 
> listener, I'm not drawn to any particular song as having a unique or 
> strong musical fingerprint or personality.  It sounds like 
> stereotypical synth ambient music to me…a great cake, but no icing on 
> top.  And this isn't my response to just Fripp's


that's funny, Radiophonics and A Blessing Of Tears are two of the most 
near-and-dear albums to me. it may be an acquired taste for most 
people, but i for some reason took to it like a duck to water.

and before you pass judgement upon me as a "stereotypical synth 
ambient" musician or (gasp) Fripp-worshipper, let me add that i am a 
gigging soul organist who cannot live to gig without his Hammond and 

btw, i'd like to know what "stereotypical synth ambient" music is, 
because i ain't heard NOTHIN' like those Fripp albums.  Ciani, Rich, 
Roach, Vir Unis ... none of those people sound like Bob.

i don't believe the point to these albums is to impress you with 
melodicism or song-based composition. these are textural works, and 
quite monochromatic at times. about the closest relative they have in 
"prog rock" would be the early beat-less Tangerine Dream albums and the 
textural portions of early period rhythmic Tangerine Dream. Fripp would 
not like this comparison i'm sure, but they both are very influenced by 
Ligeti. TD used three Mellotrons with three hands on keys and three 
hands on pitch controls to do what Fripp does/did(?) with looping and 
the Eventides (the H3000 could easily be referred to as 
Ligeti-In-A-Box, considering many of the presets duplicate elements of 
Atmospheres and Requiem). both approaches are equally interesting to 
me. i only have two hands, so i own an H3000. hahaha.

i own every proper King Crimson album and rock the fuck out to The 
League of Gentlemen CDs i have, but his soundscapes CDs are the ones 
which "speak" to me in the most emotional manner i've seen out of the 

as far as "leaving the synth behind", he did that. those albums were 
made with my favourite of the soundscapes rigs; GR-300, Sansamp PSA-1, 
TC2290s, Eventide H3000SE, and some generic Korg multi-effects. the 
GR-300 is a for-fucking-real guitar synth, not one of these 
hex-pickups-into-frequency-to-midi convertor dealies he's using now. i 
find his tone on these CDs far more "alive" and interesting than his 
later soundscapisms in the harder and more recent KC albums. i'm am not 
as much of a fan of the GR-1 Fripp as the GR-300 Fripp.

yes, i have seen a soundscapes show. Chicago in 1998 i think. it was a 
great evening. an hour or 90 minutes of music, and an hour of Q&A.

btw, you seem to be echoing alot of comments in reviews of G3 shows 
this summer:

Eric Williamson