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

A TEMPLE IN THE CLOUDS

Robert Fripp

Eclectic Prog


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Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars On this album the hypnotic guitar looping of Robert Fripp are enriched with composer Jeffrey Fayman's electronic layers, creating rich textured and minimalist divine ambient music. I have gained feeling that the record symbolizes ascension in four levels, a theme that could be interpreted in many different subjective ways.

First the travel begins from the "The Pillars of Hercules". These particles swim in shimmering celestial sea of sounds, oscillating relentlessly on simple solemn melodic harmony. The soundscaped guitar progressions blend beautifully to more natural sounding tonal elements, and the stagnant scenery easily removes the capability to sense time correctly. This sequence occupies the first fifteen minutes, and eventually evades to the sea, leaving the ocean rolling in its wake far below. Climbing altitude along the pillars a scenery of "The Sky Below" is reached. This four minutes long piece resides between the two largest movements of this record, and it is a cinematic calm phase, soothing the voyage with its new age flavored leanings. From this vision the traveler reaches "A Temple in The Clouds", a half hour long flight in solemn corridor, where both low-pitched vast echoes and higher toned rapid arpeggios unite within the caresses of eternal winds. The one-key based mantra swirls with relentless ferocity, offering sight to presence of abstract divine truth, a larger than life codex privileged for the pilgrims to behold. After enlightenment, the voyage continues above, allowing to see "The Stars Below". This three minute lasting coda holds very romantic characteristics of beautifulness, synthesizing the yearning weeps familiar from "Blessing of Tears" album and movie soundtrack oriented symphonic orchestrations.

I liked this album when I heard it during the time of its release, but later my own psyche had grown more open to the passive straits of stagnant aural impressions. Also some sentimental and spiritual appetites in the field of music have strengthened inside me, and thus this record has been cleaned from the dust and grown a very dear sacred artifact for my nocturnal meditative listening moments.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#41494)
Posted Thursday, August 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
laplace
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This one's credited to Fayman & Fripp but it sounds like you might expect - like the tides of a sea of light interpreted by endlessly looping and minimal guitar lines. The marginally percussive samples introduced into the music highlight it interestingly (like glints upon the waves, if you'll indulge a whimsical reviewer) but as ever, you could cut into this album at any point and be confronted by more or less the same sound.

Of course, it's a beautiful sound and sufficiently bathes the mind but if you already have a soundscape album by Mr. Fripp then the purchase of this one is by no means necessary. Two stars increasing to three if you're a real ambient dronehead.

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Send comments to laplace (BETA) | Report this review (#109783)
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The four offerings here are an ascent from Earth to the Heavens; consistent with Fripp's interests in exploring soundscapes. Entirely "tape-loops", synthesizers, and Fripper-tronics; there is no prominent guitar work to be found. One finds only slowly evolving themes with subtle fade in and outs of muted or treated sounds. Fripp's collaboration with Jeffrey Fayman (also known for his work with Steve Roach) is a fruitful one. For fans of this genre I would rate it three and a half stars; overall three stars.

"The Pillars of Hercules" creates the impression of sea shore & surf, choral chanting, with a consistent base note amplitude modulation throughout. "The Sky Below" has a subtle chorus singing individual notes. Each instrument voice figures more prominently and distinctly than in the first track. The sound of the surf lapping against the shore slowly fades. For "A Temple in the Clouds" there are numerous impressions of the sounds of a Tibetan monastery; sounds reminiscent of low-pitched horns and chanting monks, muted hints at wind chimes, cymbals, and gongs. "The Stars Below" consists of synthesized strings. The final ascent is accompanied by more choral voices and symphonic background.

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Send comments to convocation (BETA) | Report this review (#189011)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#679972)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am kind of alone when it comes to Fripps´s solo projects. I neither; do not know how to put it in words or it is a general rejection. When the G-3 came to Mexico with him as guest; people used his intervention as an intermission to loose themselves down and start chattering or going to the toilet. Odd; considering half of them were wearing Crimson T-shirts. I am not suggesting a standing ovation: but the feeling in general is; as if he has lost relevance in the music field and more important in the prog one. Anyway; I have never been that hot with my prog-peers neither. So 5 stars? Am I overblowing the 5 stars conditions? ore worse, my admiration for Fripp?!!... To anyone who was a bit (at least) amused with the Eno & Fripps´s 1975, "Evening Star" project and thought: What would have happened if they went the other way around. Instead of constructing the industrial like passages, went instead the "cosmic" way? ( Something that will happen later with "Equatorial Stars"). But the feeling in general in comparisson to this work is that we were just given a little dossage of the " whole pill".

This is the whole pill! Here Robert Fripp takes off with a different travel mate: Jeffrey Fayman. As the liner notes explain he (Fayman), planned the whole scheme, and waited for Fripp to Ok it. The travel-logue: A Temple in the Clouds. From the moment it starts, it simply grabs you and only when it finishes you will be set free ( you would not like to get off,anyway), no stop-overs. Intense, abstract, deep, flawless, original and beautiful by chance, not intention. My favorite kind. Ok! so this is not an "Eno & Fripp" album, less a "Crimson" one, more like a soundscapes "reloaded" project. 5 Stars "like a luxurious trip to the clouds; pure white,electric blue, shades of gray and pitch black."

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Send comments to admireArt (BETA) | Report this review (#886503)
Posted Wednesday, January 02, 2013 | Review Permalink

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