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Robert Fripp - God Save the Queen / Under Heavy Manners CD (album) cover

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN / UNDER HEAVY MANNERS

Robert Fripp

 

Eclectic Prog

2.89 | 28 ratings

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uduwudu
3 stars 2012-04-10 Robert Fripp - God Save The Queen / Under Heavy Manners Copy reviewed LP.

In Fripp's Drive To 1981 this 1980 album may represent the real building block upon which Disciplined, later to rename themselves King Crimson would be built upon. Fripp had developed his system of Frippertronics, playing guitar through one tape recorder, recording it and improvising against that recording to be recorded on another tape recorder. Probably his most successful and popular album was No Pussyfooting' (1973) recorded with Brian Eno. However this album ? effectively a compilation of two EPs sees further resurrection of Frippertonics on the first side, spacey bleeps and drones.

While the spacey technical approach would feature in Fripp's music thereafter it is Under Heavy Manners that really features the building blocks of King Crimson. The title track features the vocal input of Talking Head David Byrne, a contemporary colleague of Adrian Belew (yet to join Discipline.) The sound of the two has often been remarked as similar something to which Fripp probably saw to his advantage. Fripp wrote the lyrics of Under Heavy manners and the content and approach may form the nucleus of the new Crimson album called Discipline. E.g. 'Jurism, tourism, neologism, imperialism' could be later seen as the basis for Elephant Talk and the later Neurotica with its word play and manic delivery. It has a new wave / accented offbeat approach that is really primitive compared to later sophisticated arrangements. The Zero of The Signified is the track with rhythm. Fripp alludes and distances himself at once from the notion of "Discotronics" or "Roscotronics". One way or another the rhythmic aspect of the future King Crimson might have had it's genesis on this track. Perhaps Fripp's work with his project (1981) the League of Gentlemen may have had influence on his newer technical approaches to the nascent neo-Crimson. The track is dominated by bass guitar, drums and guitar with Frippertronics added. Really this could also be seen as a prelude to the near Crimson work undertaken with David Sylvian. Note Sylvian had recently emerged at this time with British punk art pop band Japan. The effect of this album is one of two distinct ideas that would receive later development, and frankly, improvement ? but one has to start somewhere. This is electronic experimental music with the emphasis on experiments as a process. The overall effect is that of transition as Fripp's Road to 1981 still had a few miles to travel. But the kernels of the new King Crimson are here. I've not seen this on CD yet and not sure it will happen. It's probably not a great album, essential for Fripp students, interesting for King Crimson (1981 ? 1984) students and okay for anyone else interested in experimental music that is in it's primitive way quite good. The most interesting feature of the so-called discotronics is the guitar arpeggios which are used as the basis for the early '80s King Crimson compositions. It is most certainly not funky as King Crimson were not particularly funky either, more complex driving over a simple rhythm (which would later be well developed by Bill Bruford).

The album features the beginnings of early '80s Crimson and a fair bit of Frippertronics as well as David Byrne providing the approach for vocals in the yet to form Discipline. Belew would however be so less annoying, managing to deliver his lyrics with melodic aplomb, something missing from Byrne's experimental approach.

Overall three stars. It's good, perhaps essential, to have if you are a Fripp / Crimson scholar but it is no substitute for the early '80s King Crimson, a good signpost for the road ahead.

uduwudu | 3/5 |

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