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Robert Fripp - The Gates Of Paradise CD (album) cover


Robert Fripp


Eclectic Prog

4.05 | 57 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This was an interesting listen the first time I heard it because it sounds nothing like I thought it would. Many consider this to be Fripp's best "soundscape" album and I have to confess the only other solo Fripp album I own is called "Exposure" which is a song based album. It might just be the subject matter(ya think?) but the music is melancholic and haunting to almost scary at times. It consists of four long tracks with tracks one and three called "The Outer Darkness" or Hell, and tracks two and four called "The Gates Of Paradise" or Heaven. It doesn't show it on the track listing on PA here but each song is broken down into sub-titles which certainly gives us some context.

I have to admit I didn't know this album had a concept to it when I bought it but once I found that out I was reminded of Fripp's guest appearance on IONA's "Beyond These Shores" record some four years earlier as he added his Frippertronics to that Christian band's album. The connection between the two isn't the music but the Christian themes.

Things get started with the longest tune on here "The Outer Darkness" clocking in at just under 24 minutes. Man I found this annoying at times, specifically during the "Wailing" sections that crop up four different times. It almost sounds like processed organ that is very loud. Again to me this is more annoying than scary. Love the start though with that powerful atmosphere that settles back around 5 minutes. The first arrival of the "wailing" section comes in around 7 1/2 minutes and it sounds like an angry church organ. This happens three more times over the length of this long track. I much prefer the spacey and mellow soundscape 19 minutes in. "The Gates Of Paradise" sort of drifts along and the organ-like sounds are softer here and more enjoyable for sure.

The third track "The Outer Darkness" starts off loud and annoying and this continues pretty much throughout. Yes this is my least favourite track and it's sub-titled "In Fear And Trembling Of The Lord". "The Gates Of Paradise" ends the album and it's my favourite soundscape on here. And this does sound different from the rest and it's more interesting as well with more variety of sounds added this time around. It's still haunting and spacey though. A change around 7 minutes as it calms right down. This final part is called "Acceptance". Nice. Beautiful stuff.

I wish this moved me like it does others but it doesn't, and the enjoyment factor is quite low so 3 stars it is.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |


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