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Robert Fripp - I Advance Masked (with Andy Summers) CD (album) cover

I ADVANCE MASKED (WITH ANDY SUMMERS)

Robert Fripp

Eclectic Prog


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3 stars While not a bad album,I ADVANCED MASKED is not a great album either.It isn't anything like KING CRIMSON,or THE POLICE,for that matter.It does sound more like a FRIPP solo album;full of sonic soundscapes and low key droning guitars,which is very much like the essence of all FRIPPOTRONICS,but with less beat driven movement .A little bit more on the ambient side.Don't get me wrong,this is a very listenable release,but it doesn't have anything to recommend it that much either.Considering the release date,I suppose this was sort of cutting edge at the time.Two and a half star rating;extra half star since it has cool cover art,I guess.If you see it in the discount rack for a cheap price go for it,otherwise...

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Send comments to bob x (BETA) | Report this review (#45867)
Posted Tuesday, September 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
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4 stars It is always a rare treat when gifted artists come together for a project, and this collaboration between two of rocks' most influential guitarists fulfills that promise and creates just the right blend of rhythmic mastery with atmospheric minimalism. Robert Fripp and Andy Summers guise the music in neutral colors and subdued garb without losing intensity on 'I Advance Masked', a true partnership wherein both players contributed equally, each only adding something to a moment of music if necessary. The result is an unselfish record of constant forward movement and sonic wonders, especially for 1982.

The driving title track sets the pace and we're off on a special trip. 'In the Cloud Forest' slows things with warbles, quavers, the chimes of Summers and piercing round notes of Fripp. Though vaguely reminiscent of both 1980s King Crimson and the Police, 'I Advance Masked' is an animal all its own, never imitating or taking from the two men's other bands. 'New Marimba' pulses and 'Girl on a Swing' is a nice respite with gentle chord washes and a beautiful solo from Fripp. 'Hardy Country' refreshes the tempo and the adventures in modulation that are such a part of this session. 'The Truth of Skies' moves into darker realms, 'Painting and Dance' teases with mathematic counterpoint and 'Still Point' thrills with an urgent rhythm and great lead.

A challenging record from start to finish, it can be both carefully listened to or relegated to 'background' music and still satisfy both needs. Very pleasing and a great stater for 'texture-rock'.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#107634)
Posted Monday, January 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
js (Easy Money)
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3 stars If you enjoy that style of interlocking guitar melodies that Fripp pioneered in the early 80s then you will probably want to get this album. I actually think this album is probably one of his most successful efforts in this area. The difference with this album is the abscence of a rock beat on almost all of the songs, this really allows the guitars to stand out on their own without a loud beat to battle with.

Fripp is heavily influenced by traditional music from around the world on this outing. Most people recognize the influence of Indonesian gamelan on his music during this period, but there is also a strong African influence as well. Mbira or thumb piano music from Rhodesia seems to be a strong factor in songs like Painting and Dance. Also, the interlocking guitar style of 80s pop bands from what was then known as Zaire seem to be an influence as well. Traditional music from China and Japan are also an influence on this almost classical sounding album.

Although busy guitar work dominates most of the songs on this album, there are some exceptions. Under Bridges of Silence is a sombre ambient soundscape and Girl on a Swing is a peaceful Asian influenced melody. In the Cloud Forest features Fripp playing a free-ranging solo with his classic Frippertronics guitar sound, something I wouldn't expect on an 80s record. Another interesting song is the title track which is one of the few songs with a pronounced drum beat. It sounds like the perfect blend of 80s Crimson and the Police only without the vocals. There are other songs that are in styles that are hard to describe, but sound like pure Fripp.

Another interesting aspect of this album is the way in which it seems to predict the arrival of Math Rock, and to a lesser extent Post Rock, years before either of those genres had a name. I think this album is closer to what is called Math Rock today than Fripp's work in the early 80s version of King Crimson.

This is a great album that sounds better everytime I hear it. Fripp pulls influence from clasical music from around the world and ends up with a glimpse of the future.

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Send comments to js (Easy Money) (BETA) | Report this review (#163368)
Posted Friday, March 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
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Prog Folk
3 stars While The Police was a band that rode the Punk bandwagon (Outlandos D'Amour remains one of my Punk reference in the matter), this trio was anything but a punk band that was made of untalented kids trying to have their quarter hour of glory, but not learning the trades of musicianship. Nope, these guys were highly talented with Sting being a jazz bassist in Newcastle circles, while Stewart Copeland had drummed with Curved Air for time But clearly, the better musician was Andy Summers, roughly ten years older than the other two and spending his time since the middle 60's looking for a break. For quite a while his destiny coincided with George Bruno (AKA Zoot Money) with whom he started in the British RnB scene, before forming their psychedelic group Dantalion's Chariot, without much success past their first hit-single. When that ended, Summers joined Soft Machine replacing Daevid Allen, where he apparently connected well with Ratledge and Wyatt, but not at all with Kevin Ayers who didn't like Andy's jazz penchants. He ended up being sacked by Wyatt (Ayers didn't have the balls to do it himself) after an American tour, two weeks before anothertour, this time supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It turns out that Ayers would quit Soft Machine a few months later for his own solo career. So Summers phoned Zoot in LA and was taken immediately into Eric Burdon's New Animals (where Zoot was holding the keys) and Andy spent almost two years in that job, until the group's break up and Burdon joining forces with WAR. Summers then went to Uni and studied music. He resurfaced in England in late 74, and ironically was fairly quickly taken in Kevin Ayers'backing band (probably some guilt involved, here)?. But Andy couldn't find a permanent job either. He ended up helping out a punk band Strontium 90 (helped out by Gong's bassist Mike Howlett), where the French guitarist Henri Padovani was a bit too shallow in the musical department. His arrival helped that group's transformation into The Police? the rest is history?.

But when Sting was taking the major songwriting workload, letting only remnants to Summers, Andy started to look elsewhere for his musical satisfactions and working with Robert Fripp was definitely one of his long time wish, that came to fruition in the early 80's. Note that these albums were fairly low-key projects since both had major acts going, Fripp having revived King Crimson at the start of the decade. Sooooo what to say of this album? It doesn't sound like either Crimson or Police, but lots of parts are reminiscent of Fripp's austere Crafty League Of Gentleman/Guitarists (or sumthin' similar to that), but that's not to say that Summers let Fripp steal the spotlight. In terms of instrumentation, both are apparently toying with all instruments, including synths, bass and (African) percussions.

Sonically this album is somewhere between the ambient Fripp (No Pussyfooting and the Frppertronics thing) and the Crafty League Of Guitarists, the result sounding like a typical ECM jazz /new agey album of the 80's. Much of the guitar works come from (or will be used) from CLoG, using those Indonesian scales (some more Far-Eastern influences pervade through as well), and the music never goes really dissonant. While a pleasant and unobtrusive listen, this album will not have you riveted to your seat, but it is also gentle music enough not to irate women, and can even be used as cuddling music with the more open-minded ones, despite a certain austerity.

Not exactly my type of album, but Fripp fans should appreciate, because if the album's role distribution seems very egalitarian (the production being handled by both guitarists), in terms of influence, this is definitely more Frippan than Summersian realm. The better of the two albums they made together, even if the second side of Bewitched is somewhat stronger than I Advance Masked.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#288945)
Posted Saturday, July 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
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3 stars Ambient guitar-scapes

In late 81-early 82, the guitarists of Crimson and The Police joined to record their first collaborative effort titled "I Advanced Masked." I bought it on a whim a few years later and didn't enjoy it much in those days. Now it is more enjoyable but mostly as a curiosity than a truly musical fulfilling rock album. The two paint some short and atmospheric tracks of guitar and synthesized guitar sound, leaving some to stand on their own and adding rhythms to others. My favorite is the lovely and longing "Girl on a Swing" which has beautiful repeating note sequences with mild lead licks over the top, quite melancholic. Much of the album is similar; it doesn't vary too much in approach. Sometimes in the heavier moments like the title track it can sound like a slower, hazier version of 80s Crimson but without the cutting edge bass and drums it lacks bite. The moods are somewhat cloudy and immersed in flowing washes and swirls. It's an album I enjoy more as background music and doesn't inspire much passion. The fantastic album cover is my favorite thing about it, and somehow or other I managed to acquire a poster of this album cover which adorns the basement wall. So while I don't play it often, I gaze at the cover every day. Recommended for fans of Fripp solo projects to check out, but others may be less than overwhelmed. Far from essential in my opinion but worth checking out if you can find it without spending a lot.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#303261)
Posted Sunday, October 10, 2010 | Review Permalink

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