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Fripp And Eno - Evening Star CD (album) cover

EVENING STAR

Fripp And Eno

 

Progressive Electronic

3.50 | 59 ratings

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tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The second album credited to Fripp & Eno is a bit different from the first in that it can actually be considered (in parts) music, as opposed to a presentation of research work into new and emerging sonic techniques. The tracks are completely instrumental, dominated by Eno's synths and Fripp's guitar warblings passing through the Frippertronics sound system, but some of them are downright beautiful and atmospheric and all those good things that an average good static instrumental should be (whereas "The Heavenly Music Corporation" was really just "interesting" and "disturbing"). The opening "Wind on Water," in particular, is a terrific piece of gorgeousness, with Eno's synths (the "Water") undulating and 'washing' up and down (in volume) and side to side (in channel) while Fripp's guitar (the "Wind") plays little compact swirling patterns, and the five and a half minutes really pass much too quickly (at least, when I'm paying attention and when I have the volume up loud to catch the dynamics).

Then it's onto the title track, which matches the atmosphere of the name and of the album cover very well. The purpose of the low, growling "biker" guitar noises that pop up from time to time is unclear to me, but they're only a slight blight on a bunch of gorgeous guitar noodling (Fripp wouldn't really ever make heavy use of this tone in his Crimson work until some parts of the 90's incarnation, and even then only very sparsely) over strummed acoustic guitars and some whee bits of Eno here and there (particularly in the second half, when some piano pops up). In its eight minutes, it does more for me than any selected eight minute bit from No Pussyfooting could do in a million years. And then there's "Evensong," which is more in the "Wind on Water" vein, only with a much sparser Eno presence (but still with subtle changes in volume and balance throughout), and "Wind on Wind," which is actually a brief passage from the upcoming Discreet Music, featuring only Eno's synths (the intent was to provide Fripp a base on which to play over this in concert). Both of these fit in with the mood of the first two tracks splendidly, even if they're not quite as amazing, and the end result of the first half is some of the best meditation (not to mention "communal with the universe") music I can imagine. In short, it's pretty much a total triumph.

Unfortunately, the album doesn't sustain this sense of beauty throughout, which causes the rating to plummet a long ways. The second side is occupied by a single track, the 28:44 "Index of Metals," which falls back into the "show-and-tell" mode of No Pussyfooting, and given that it doesn't even have academic value for me (that is, I don't see what this track accomplishes that wasn't accomplished by the tracks on that album), it's hard for me to find any enjoyment here. I'm sorry, but while it's neat that the distortion of individual guitar notes essentially ends up getting stuck to the tape as if it were flypaper, causing the distortion of the whole piece to build up over time, it's extremely difficult for me to look past the fact that it seems like there are stretches that consist of one note being sustained for about ten minutes. My brother likes it because it functions as "music by which to scare small children," but given that I don't have any particular desire to give any children nightmares anytime soon, it doesn't exactly have much use for me in that direction either. And, well, did I mention that it's 28:44?

So basically this is an album that starts off fantastic and ends up buried in a giant pile of, well, Metals. If you can find some way to get the first side without the second, jump at it; if you decide to pay full price for this, be very aware that only half of it is good (at least, if you trust my taste at all).

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |

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