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Robert Fripp - That Which Passes - 1995 Soundscapes, Live Vol. 3 CD (album) cover


Robert Fripp


Eclectic Prog

3.70 | 35 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Robert Fripp revisits his musical contemplations of mortality and grieving on this, the third volume in the 1995 Soundscapes series, and deftly accomplishes the most inspiring compilation of these electronic improvisations so far. Unlike the previous releases, 'That Which Passes' goes further than presenting full pieces as they appeared live, and the performances have been edited, retouched and pieced together in the studio to create much tighter ideas and more of a feeling of journeying, an ongoing narrative from track to track. Evolving yet again, as each Soundscape album does, the album features an even greater palette of sounds, effects, and dynamics, and exploits them fully to reach moments of sheer, piercing beauty throughout.

Like 'A Blessing Of Tears', the music emerges from Fripp's personal emotions and thoughts following the death of his mother, but in fact captures such depth that the tale reaches out to universal concepts of awakening, deep fear, loss, frustration, uncertainty, brooding, as well as vitality, awe, joy, and - a common Soundscape theme of which Fripp is a master - acceptance.

The first track progresses from an extremely quiet delay effect to a mighty wall of sound, portraying a huge onset of emotion, resignation... challenging and remorseless. This opening piece is strongly reminiscent of 'Radiophonics', but just as it builds to a near-intolerable density the whole thing ceases immediately as if startled out of a nightmare, and a very new Soundscape begins in the form of 'On The Approach Of Doubt'. A rising siren seems to lure the listener higher and higher, and at last breaks the surface - with such relief - out into a curious and gentle space, alive with drifting, accordant waves and the most distant of beautiful, questing voices. Much more typical of the album's material, this too soon faces fiery discord, and the album pushes on through a tough drama of highs and lows, rarely lingering too long and exploring feelings of more complexity and specificity than ever before.

Among the highest points are: the breathtaking 'On Triumph', where after the long ordeal of the previous track the music climbs to an incredible chorus, the unison of voice-like sounds suggesting an immense space, as if the all the doors of possibility are open at once; and 'The Fear Of Light', with its cruel, slicing drones forming some truly merciless chords and an atmosphere of profound unease you're unlikely to hear in any music other than Soundscapes.

As always, this is music that demands to be an experience in itself. It will not place itself in the background, allow low volume, or pleasantly accompany your social gatherings. The peace and time to catch every unfolding note is the key to really listening to Soundscapes... Forget everything you think you know about music, remind yourself just how insignificant one human being is in the scale of the universe... then immerse yourself, and feel that turning instead to utmost significance as you experience the power of creation and expression that one performer and one listener can share.

ThulŽatan | 5/5 |


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