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Robert Fripp - Robert Fripp & Andy Summers: I Advance Masked CD (album) cover


Robert Fripp


Eclectic Prog

3.59 | 77 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars While The Police was a band that rode the Punk bandwagon (Outlandos D'Amour remains one of my Punk reference in the matter), this trio was anything but a punk band that was made of untalented kids trying to have their quarter hour of glory, but not learning the trades of musicianship. Nope, these guys were highly talented with Sting being a jazz bassist in Newcastle circles, while Stewart Copeland had drummed with Curved Air for time But clearly, the better musician was Andy Summers, roughly ten years older than the other two and spending his time since the middle 60's looking for a break. For quite a while his destiny coincided with George Bruno (AKA Zoot Money) with whom he started in the British RnB scene, before forming their psychedelic group Dantalion's Chariot, without much success past their first hit-single. When that ended, Summers joined Soft Machine replacing Daevid Allen, where he apparently connected well with Ratledge and Wyatt, but not at all with Kevin Ayers who didn't like Andy's jazz penchants. He ended up being sacked by Wyatt (Ayers didn't have the balls to do it himself) after an American tour, two weeks before anothertour, this time supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It turns out that Ayers would quit Soft Machine a few months later for his own solo career. So Summers phoned Zoot in LA and was taken immediately into Eric Burdon's New Animals (where Zoot was holding the keys) and Andy spent almost two years in that job, until the group's break up and Burdon joining forces with WAR. Summers then went to Uni and studied music. He resurfaced in England in late 74, and ironically was fairly quickly taken in Kevin Ayers'backing band (probably some guilt involved, here)?. But Andy couldn't find a permanent job either. He ended up helping out a punk band Strontium 90 (helped out by Gong's bassist Mike Howlett), where the French guitarist Henri Padovani was a bit too shallow in the musical department. His arrival helped that group's transformation into The Police? the rest is history?.

But when Sting was taking the major songwriting workload, letting only remnants to Summers, Andy started to look elsewhere for his musical satisfactions and working with Robert Fripp was definitely one of his long time wish, that came to fruition in the early 80's. Note that these albums were fairly low-key projects since both had major acts going, Fripp having revived King Crimson at the start of the decade. Sooooo what to say of this album? It doesn't sound like either Crimson or Police, but lots of parts are reminiscent of Fripp's austere Crafty League Of Gentleman/Guitarists (or sumthin' similar to that), but that's not to say that Summers let Fripp steal the spotlight. In terms of instrumentation, both are apparently toying with all instruments, including synths, bass and (African) percussions.

Sonically this album is somewhere between the ambient Fripp (No Pussyfooting and the Frppertronics thing) and the Crafty League Of Guitarists, the result sounding like a typical ECM jazz /new agey album of the 80's. Much of the guitar works come from (or will be used) from CLoG, using those Indonesian scales (some more Far-Eastern influences pervade through as well), and the music never goes really dissonant. While a pleasant and unobtrusive listen, this album will not have you riveted to your seat, but it is also gentle music enough not to irate women, and can even be used as cuddling music with the more open-minded ones, despite a certain austerity.

Not exactly my type of album, but Fripp fans should appreciate, because if the album's role distribution seems very egalitarian (the production being handled by both guitarists), in terms of influence, this is definitely more Frippan than Summersian realm. The better of the two albums they made together, even if the second side of Bewitched is somewhat stronger than I Advance Masked.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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