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Fripp & Eno - The Equatorial Stars CD (album) cover


Fripp & Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.94 | 68 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After several decades pause, the collaboration of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno had evolved from their rawer 1970's sounds towards more soothing and quieter directions of ambient realms. The inspiration for this elevating disc of aural tranquility was drawn again from the stars. The reference to term "equatorial" was left slightly unclear to me; possibilities would be either an observing perspective from locations of Earth's equatorial latitude, allowing visibility for both northern and southern hemispheres heavenly views, or maybe referring to the astronomer's celestial equatorial concept used as for a star homing tool. Whatever the case was, both are earthbound observing methods, not related to actual positions of stars, which only due our own vantage point seem to reside as constellations. The open and soothing record can also be listened easy without any thematic orientation, though it suits well for either mystical astrologic contemplations or slumbering in scientific astronomic cosmic dreams. My own on-professional astral navigator's notes are stated as follows;

The delicate ringing of ethereal bells creates a pleasant experience of vast space for the beginning of the journey. The first cosmic entity adored is gigantic star "Meissa" (The Shining One), radiating its blue glow from the constellation of Orion. Robert's dark-toned effected guitar solo licks reach solemnly for the heavenly light, harmonizing wonderfully with the radiant background vibrations of cloister observatory's audio research chamber. Later the guitar sound morphs to mesmerizing echoed shadows, merging to the disappearing background tonal tapestry. The perception shifts to "Lyra"'s constellation, dominated by Vega, one of the most brightly shining stars on the skies. Synthesizers evoke a melodic triangle creating a feeling of anticipation, clear guitar slides mystifying on the harmonic probabilities with fantastic sense of style. Like from man's perspective of time, the solid stagnation of the sounds appears as firm as the stars themselves on the nocturnal roof of the earth. According the Greek tale of Orfeus, his lyra was sent by Zeus to the skies on the wings of an Eagle, which could give a signal to turn the telescopes to the constellation of Aquila. There one can witness a young giant star "Tarazed". Here hollow wind-like humming pairs with Robert's guitar prayers, this fusion scribing yet another wonderful page to this celestial book of hours. The long waves of cosmic sounds move quietly towards more electronic modern sound palettes in the final moments of this song.

To this point, the album has musically been completely awesome meditative resource for me, but the following visitation to the "Lupus", the constellation of the Wolf, introduces some programmed rhythm loops, which I did not find most optimal for meditative music listening. This predatory animal, lurking in shades of mighty constellation of Centaurus in the southern hemisphere's sky, has also some more turbulent radiophonic elements familiar from Robert's 1990's solo recordings.

The next place of observation, "Ankaa," is the traditional name for constellation of Phoenix, the mythical fire bird eternally being reborn from its own ashes. The visualization for this sun is created from semi-harmonious synth abstractions, cinematopic sound constructions and subtle guitar visitations, continuing the core quality line of this record for me.

The visions are again drawn to the constellation of Aquila, positioning for the light of "Altair", one of the closest and brightest star visible for us. This rapidly rotating sun has been studied by the cosmologists, and it has been noted being flattened from its poles due gravitational forces of its spinning. For this fact, the presence of rhythm loops and funky guitar riffs are justified, and create more dynamic tension for the movement. However for the complete listening experience I tend to skip this track along with the earlier mentioned fourth song.

The last glance goes to a group of stars on the constellation of Sagittarius, "Terebellum", reaching a wonderful climax to the formless cosmic presence available on this album. So for me the only negative aspect of this record were the few programmed rhythms, which in my opinion disturbed the sacred serenity sensed from the other tracks, luckily occupying the majority of the album's running time. These great solemn moments make this as a really pleasant album, certainly worth recommending for those searching elevating groves of modern ambient music calmness.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 4/5 |


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