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Giles Giles & Fripp - The Brondesbury Tapes CD (album) cover


Giles Giles & Fripp


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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2,5 stars really!!!

This calbum is nothing more than the studio demos and sessions of Giles Giles and Fripp and the transformation phases into King Crimson. This can be fascinating if you are a Crimson fanatic (the first two versions of I Talk To The Wind with Dyble on vocals and McDonald on flute but also the version without those two), but can be tedious to a non-fan.

Only a part of the tracks come from the Cheerful Insanities and the Study was clearly the chrysalidic form of Suite No.1 and many more funny annecdotes can be detected.

For Crimson fans only (hence 2*) but since I am one of those , the half star.......

Report this review (#41681)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Only fans and collectors need apply for this album. As a big fan of King Crimson, I do enjoy this timepiece to an extent. This collection has a few tracks that serves as blueprints to future Crimson songs ("I Talk To The Wind," "Suite No. 1," "Scrivens") and also has a few that really showcase Robert Fripp's guitar playing. Also, as a drummer myself, I, for some reason or another, have become increasingly infactuated with Michael Giles' drum playing. It is never overly difficult by any means but seemingly melodic and pastoral while remaining jazzy. Anyways, a lot of these songs are demos recorded in a hotel and sound a little rough while some of the other demos and singles are very jazz inflected mostly due to Mike Giles and contain sometimes psychadelic voice stylings. Overall, there are a number of great songs on here (including "Suite No. 1, ""I Talk To The Wind," and "Why Don't You Just Drop In") but this album will best serve as history for fans of King Crimson, Robert Fripp, Judy Dyble, the Giles brothers, and/or Ian McDonald depending on your taste. Instead of two stars, I would say 2 and 1/2 due to the remotely possible interest fans of jazzy psych might have in it.
Report this review (#42755)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
2 stars This is an interesting CD, it features the Giles brothers and Robert Fripp in their progrock salad days. Remarkable are some Syd Barrett sounding tracks (mainly because of the vocals) like "Hypocrite", "Digging my lawn" and "Erudite eyes". I'm delighted about the varied guitar play from Robert Fripp: a Spanish flavor (like Hackett) in "Tremolo study in A major", virtuosic jazz in "Suite no. 1", psychedelic in "Passages of time" and bluesy in "Why don't you just drop in". The climates of the 21 songs alternates between Sixties pop and rock (THE KINKS, THE BEATLES), jazz, classic, folk and embryonal KING CRIMSON sounding (like "Scrivens" and the later KC song "I talk to the wind" in two versions). I don't think that this CD will appeal to progheads who are not into King Crimson/Robert Fripp but it's a fascinating effort, very progressive although it does not appeal very much to me.

Report this review (#43887)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Historical interest album, even more so than their proper studio album. The bad news: it's all monophonic, and the sound quality ranges from pretty good to okay. However, I find it fascinating to listen to some of the tracks that suggest where this would lead. Yes, it's for collectors only, but, like disc four of the Genesis Archive box (early demos), it's a very interesting and insightful listen. That's why it gets 3 stars, though it's not in the same league with most 3-star albums.
Report this review (#44044)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When I think of proto progressive rock music, I think of Giles, Giles & Fripp. Others come to mind as well-- the Beatles, Syd Barrett, and Brian Wilson. But because GG&F's music was such a perfect blend of those recording artists, the trio seem the definitive proto-progsters with soft naivete, Britpop kitsch, and crooning quasi-psychedelic strangeness. Not to mention a vital link in the prog chain, being Robert Fripp's first real band and featuring proto classics like 'Tremolo Study in A Major', 'Suite No. 1' and 'Erudite Eyes'. As well, an early 'I Talk to the Wind' makes an appearance sounding not unlike the version made famous by Fripp's later project.

This wonderfully fun, well-recorded and absolutely hilarious collection from a session in 1968 after the making of their first record for Decca ('The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp') is a delight. It is especially interesting if you have a penchant for the very earliest beginnings of progressive rock and it was during this period lyricist Peter Sinfield and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald began working with the boys, later transforming into the legenary King Crimson. Some tracks such as 'Why Don't You Just Drop In' and 'Digging My Lawn' are shameless 1960s pop but others are sweet-sounding and carefully constructed like 'Under the Sky' with Judy Dyble's lovely soprano and McDonald's jazzy flute, the psycho- symphonic 'Murder', and the gorgeous arrangements and Beach Boys harmonies of 'Wonderland'.

This is not a record one pulls out to play very often and it is rife with so many cliches as to make it a spoof of itself, like some joke 60s band right out of 'This is Spinal Tap', vainly trying to fit in to a quickly disappearing fad and doing it badly, to boot. But the music is thoroughly pleasant, well-produced and will make you giggle all at the same time. Very neat stuff.

Report this review (#106691)
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars It's difficult to decide whether to rate this ** (collectors/fans only) or *** as the majority have rated. Historical interest is noticeable: here we are already on the brink of the formation of KING CRIMSON, much much more so than with their only proper studio album - its cheerful sixties pop was actually quite far from KC. Partly "Brondesbury Tapes" is circulating the same (and similar) stuff, and partly it shows what was coming In The Court Of The Crimson King next year. Of course saying so may lead you wrong, because there isn't much of the progressive, Mellotron-loaded new world of that seminal album, just outtakes of a couple of its mellow tracks, 'I Talk To The Wind' and... and... oops, sorry, that's all. But at least multi- instrumentalist Ian McDonald is already in for many tracks. So doubtlessly the group sound has improved from the Cheerful Insanity album (e.g. McDonald's flute/sax/clarinet). It's just mono and the sound quality not exactly perfect.

The technical imperfection however is not taking off my third star, it is the lack of coherence and overwhelming absence of repetition. Many tracks are here twice, some pairs not even notably different from each other, and that makes this CD taste like pure collector's stuff. Maybe a better organizing of running order could have improved things a tiny bit. Or maybe not. But the fact remains that of the 72 minutes only about one third says already all that there is to be said. Some of it is very good, yes, but the blood relation to King Crimson doesn't make it comparable to the latter.

Report this review (#244987)
Posted Saturday, October 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars For some reason, this album reminds me a lot about the Wilde Flowers album I reviewed many, many moons ago. That too was a compilation of demos and oddities which was a taster for Caravan and Soft Machine. So is this album and it is a forewarning about things to come (King Crimson).

The connection here is the two versions of I Talk To The Wind. Versions who just prove how great this song is. But I still prefer the King Crimson version.

The rest of this album is a mix of female vocals led pop and some eccentric pop/rock in the British vein in the best 1960s tradition. The music is actually not too bad. But I cannot deny that this album is for fans and collectors only. This album does not have enough legs to stand upright on it's own, I am afraid. But it is still worth checking out.

2.75 stars

Report this review (#284436)
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | Review Permalink

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