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Robert Fripp - A Temple In The Clouds CD (album) cover

A TEMPLE IN THE CLOUDS

Robert Fripp

 

Eclectic Prog

3.74 | 13 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Robert Fripp's year 2000 collaboration with Jeffrey Fayman was a natural extension (and in many ways the conclusion) to his groundbreaking experimental work alongside Brian Eno in the early 1970s. But don't mistake the album for the sort of New Age ambient background doodle designed to cure insomnia. This is a powerful, ecstatic apotheosis of pure sound, unlike Eno's tranquil minimalism meant to be played as loudly as possible. Crank this sucker, and then watch as the walls begin to shimmer with radiant energy.

Yes, there's a definite, deliberate monotony built into the foundation of the music...all the better to stimulate the primitive brain stem and induce a state of heightened awareness, allowing the listener a glimpse of infinity. Pardon the dime store mysticism, but it's hard not to recognize the album for what it is: a huge, musical mantra, expressing more undiluted divinity than the entire discography of (insert the name of any born-again Neo Prog fundamentalist here).

The CD sleeve actually credits Fayman with 'tranceportation', and he obviously knows his craft. The erstwhile drummer uses the phrase 'lucid dreaming' to describe the effect, best heard on the two longer selections, slowly rolling juggernauts of oceanic motion ("The Pillars of Hercules") and atmospheric depth ("A Temple in the Clouds"). Don't expect much in the way of variation, but attentive listeners will find a lot of detail hidden within the awesome, unchanging ebb and flow of each track. A pair of shorter interludes is drawn from more traditional Robert Fripp soundscapes, but the entire album blends organically together into a single rich, symphonic, all-enveloping tapestry.

The title itself offers the perfect description of an album sounding like something from a Tibetan monastery high in the Himalayas (the original guitar tracks were supposedly recorded in a Buddhist temple). For a point of reference closer to these Archives, imagine the 1971 Florian Fricke devotional noisefest "Vuh", updated to our digital millennium and re- interpreted by the same guitarist responsible for the nouveau-metal math rock of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part IV".

Strange, that a mild-mannered Protestant like Robert Fripp should create such a magical racket. But there's something almost deliriously pagan in the way the album taps into the spiritual essence of music making, to such a degree that even a committed non-believer like myself can't help but respond to it.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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