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Fripp & Eno - The Essential Fripp & Eno  CD (album) cover


Fripp & Eno

Progressive Electronic

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3 stars The Essential Fripp and Eno is a curious release that contains some of the most original and influential minimalist electronic prog of the 70s by two acknowledged masters of the style. The real attraction is the inclusion of 4 tracks from an abandoned 1979 Fripp and Eno session, although they are stylistically quite different from anything else released under the Fripp and Eno banner.

The CD opens with the No Pussyfooting album in its entirety - splendid stuff to be sure, but if you're a fan you probably own the album already. This is followed by the first two tracks from Evening Star - the most accessible and melodic tracks Fripp and Eno ever released. Up to this point the CD contains a little over 50 minutes worth of brilliant experiments in minimalism, using just electric guitar, tape loops and a little discreet synthesiser.

With Healthy Colours parts 1 - 4 the mood and style changes abruptly. These tracks were recorded in new York in 1979, and fall somewhere between Fripp's God Save The King and My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, Eno's collaboration with David Byrne. Over a kind of automated funk backing (similar in some ways to Kurt's Rejoinder from Before and After Science) Fripp plays some cross picking and adds a few squalls of his unique guitar noise, while Eno throws in fragments of radio and TV dialogue as the piece unfolds. It's not bad at all, but sits rather oddly with the earlier pieces. If Healthy Colours had been released as a stand alone ep it would have made a lot more sense both commercially and artistically.

If you're a newcomer to Fripp and Eno start with No Pussyfooting or Evening Star as they were originally released. If you've already got those albums, this is worth picking up from a bargain bin but represents extremely poor value at full price. A good example of a badly thought out, low value compilation, despite containing so uch good music.

Report this review (#49766)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2.5 stars really. Very uneven. There are some good points. 'Evening Star' for example. But there are large portions of this release that don't do much for me. Like all of 'Healthy Colors' and also 'Swastika Girls'. Basically what you get here is the ambient electronic style with added guitars. But 'Healthy Colors' is more new age electronic like Gary Numan on acid.
Report this review (#176634)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is a compilation in three parts.

Interestingly (and fortunately) it features the original No Pussyfooting album first up. For those unaware this was pre-King Crimson 70s break up collaboration between analog synth and studio meister Eno (Roxy Music) and KC main man Fripp. Fripp had created a system of tape loops where he would record what he was playing on one tape, loop what was recorded onto another tape and back again, adding more guitar to the tape as he went. The result makes for the more guitar oriented but still ambient No Pussyfooting session.

The second part is a couple of tracks from Evening Star. More Eno synths and less Fripp; the two pieces "Wind On Water" and the title track are pleasant enough (to me.) I admit to being a Fripp fan and prefer to hear the man play guitar.

Now we have controversial (?) bit. Healthy Colours was apparently a 1980 collaboration that has only now seen the light of day. The four parts of this theme are remarkably the same / similar based on the same simple rhythm loop and a small and endlessly repeated guitar riff. Many FX permeate, voices and wacky sounds abound. None have even intrinsic value.

It is only on parts of HC IV is there some real variety involving Fripp, his guitar and a chain saw approach - very metal sounding. But do not be deceived, this is still the same endlessly repetitive sound. The samples / FX are laregly meaningless i.e. insignificant. A shame as they take up the forefront of the sound.

Recommend you check out No Pussyfooting. I don't have the new version but I trust some of the reviews that say the backwards and half sped tracks make for credible listening. Ambient Eno fans will probably have Evening Star; I think I'll pass on that.

Completists will want this for the unreleased material. For what it's worth this material (Healthy Colours) is beneath them both and I was so glad when the CD was over. It would make really irritating background music and no way would I pay this for someone (No Pussyfooting excepted.) Ok so the tracks had to come out, now they have you can safely ignore them and stay with No Pussyfooting.

Rating. Hmm. The album No Pussyfooting is an effective release pretty much recorded in the time it was played. Eno plays a note and uses his synth and the studio to make it sound more than it is. Clearly an influence on U2 guitarist Dave Evans (aka Edge.) Lost of processing, little actual playing. I'm into it for Fripp's work. Four stars for No Pussyfooting, not five. It probably won't change your life but it is great for yer prog rock collection and puts some spice in bland electronica ambient collections (guess what side of that fence I'm on.) Excellent stuff. 4/5

The Evening Star selections. Nice, a bit bland. If you're a Fripp and Eno fan you'll probably have it already and like it which is fair enough. Needs more Fripp. Frankly he can do the soundscapes and lead by himself now. 1/5

Healthy Colours. I hate slagging something off but I have to here. This section is pure dreck. Boring, irritating, dull. This was kept back originally and now we know why. Other artists put musical effort into their work. Tunes, riffs, chords, harmonies, rhythms, that sort of thing. This reminds me of modern art where any old rubbish will do as long as it has that superficial presentation. Even though the artist cannot paint anywhere near the technical standard of the Old Masters. But Fripp and Eno are not poor musicians, Fripp is a master guitarist and more IMHO.

Not healthy colours but unhealthy pallor - not as in pale and interesting just pallid as in dreary. Devoid of imagination, ideas and with only Fripp perking up at the end to try and flamethrower some life into this mess (burn it out of existence?) with some metal sounds. No melody, sod all harmony, repeated non-ideas over four tracks. 0/5

Wait! There's more!

Oh godddd...

Just kidding. Really what's here is too much already.

No Pussyfooting is great, the two tracks from Evening Star fill in, The Healthy Colours 1 - 4 are dire.

Bright side: Superb complete No Pussy Footing. Stop there. Uneven result. No stars this evening.

5 / 15 1/ 5 Lucky I picked this up cheap.

Report this review (#302904)
Posted Friday, October 8, 2010 | Review Permalink

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