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Robert Fripp

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Robert Fripp God Save The Queen / Under Heavy Manners album cover
3.23 | 68 ratings | 7 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

- God Save the Queen :
1. Red Two Scorer (6:54)
2. God Save The Queen (9:50)
3. 1983 (13:20)
- Under Heavy Manners :
4. Under Heavy Manners (5:14)
5. The Zero Of The Signifed (12:38)

Total Time: 47:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Fripp / guitars, Fx (Discotronics), producer

- David Byrne (Absalm el Habib) / vocals (4)
- Busta Jones / bass (4,5)
- Paul Duskin / drums (4,5)

Releases information

Recorded live in concert during 1979

Artwork: Chris Stein

LP EG ‎- EGLP 105 (1980, UK)

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ROBERT FRIPP God Save The Queen / Under Heavy Manners ratings distribution

(68 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

ROBERT FRIPP God Save The Queen / Under Heavy Manners reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by laplace
2 stars An album featuring one of Mr. Fripp's more notable soundscapes, marred by his singular vision of "Discotronics."

The first two glistening fields of sound pass pleasantly enough, but "1983" is the relevant and most enduring track on "God Save the Queen" and past this point you'll experience a drop in quality like no other - side B is basically occupied by two bouncing riff experiments, unfurnished by anything more than a rudimentary rhythm section and chattered over by David Byrne at perhaps his most irritating. A bit of a pothole on the road to 1981, it seems.

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars As the 80s approached Robert Fripp found himself purposefully trying to distance himself from the grandiose music he had created in the early to mid-70s. Big progressive rock productions were passe and Fripp was trying to attach himself to the more cutting edge art-rock and new wave bands that were emerging in the late 70s. Minimalism was also a big influence during this period. Composers like Steve Reich and Phillip Glass were enjoying almost rock star status and pop artists such as Devo and Talking Heads were enjoying huge popularity with their minimalist influenced rock.

There was a lot of "buzz" surrounding this release even before it came out. In interviews Fripp hinted at a new lean and intelligent approach to rock that would take him into the brave new world of the 80s. When I first heard this record in 1980 I thought Robert had succeeded in combining Gamelan influenced minimalism with new wave rock and had created a blueprint for many bands to follow. Unfortunately, listening to this record again many years later I find it has not aged well. This record is a good example of the trap you set for yourself when you follow the newest trends too closely, your work ends up being too easily identified with the time period in which it came out.

Side one consists of three ambient instrumentals that feature Fripp's tape looped guitar recording technique known as Frippertronics. The first track, Red Two Scorer is nice enough, but things start to get boring soon after that. Without Eno around to help with production and "treatments", Fripp's guitar sounds stale after a while.

Side two consists of two rock songs that introduce Fripp's new 80s style. The basic idea behind these two songs is not bad, a simple rock beat overlaid with interlocking complicated guitar parts, but there are drawbacks to these songs that undermine the whole project. The first problem is the plodding rhythm section. Surely Fripp could have gotten better musicians, but I guess he thought these guys made him sound more "punk".

Another big problem is that there is no attention to sound texture or production. Music that is repetitive like this really needs some depth and color or it becomes boring quickly. In the hands of a team like Eno and Manzenera this same material would have been a lot more interesting. Finally, the bad icing on the bad cake is the voice of David Byrne on the song Under Heavy Manners. When this record was released Byrne was considered very nouveau hip and it certainly made Robert's record seem more relevant to have him on board. Unfortunately this would be another case of 'trying too hard to be hip' having a bad effect in the long run. They might as well have had Pee Wee Herman do the vocals because nothing says 80s like David Byrne, at the peak of his career, getting away with being totally full of himself and blabbering some pretentious fake madness with that "voice" of his. It has been a long time since anyone has encouraged him to be that self-indulgent.

Fripp tried too hard to be contemporary on this one, and ironically enough that is what makes it sound anachronistic today. It also doesn't help that the production is so flat and unimaginative, this album's blend of ambient and minimalistic styles could have really blossomed under the guidance of a skilled producer

Review by admireArt
5 stars Underrated falls short. A masterpiece from A to Z. The year 1980, the mass arising of drum-box generated music was just to start. Of course most prog pioneers were well established by the time, but this was the future, and ike it or not, all the "Prog-Giants" surrendered to these new boxes and "new" tech/gadgets.

I can mention 1000s of horrible attempts by the Prog top-guns in these matters. These "giants" never knew exactly what to do with these synthetic boxes and the music sounds they generated, and sadly a lot of them still are there trying to figure it out, but their past works are my personal soundtrack, so I won't attack!

Anyway, to me Mr Fripp's "God Save the Queen / Under Heavy Manners" is his real first real solo effort, music wise, talking. Rather than his official first album "Exposure" which sounded more like his way of "exiling" himself away from the "Court of the Crimson King" musical idiom and crowds, like a " I do what I like and feel, and I don't care if you like it or not!" statement. But at the end of that same record we are given a clue to what was really cooking in Mr Fripp's upcoming musical language, the self named * "Frippertronics".

*(Frippertronics:Technically speaking the use of loops of pre-recorded and live recorded electric guitars, sometimes creating a droning experience, by repetition of single structured melodic lines) .

UNDER HEAVY MANNERS / GOD SAVE THE QUEEN! Track 1: A bridge between the first project (Exposure) and this one (including the Talking Heads' master "Head" screaming-singing like to whatever word that ends with -ism.

Track 2: Fast trance-dance pioneer, ( if not the first ), that dissolves slowly into the world of Frippertronics.

Track 3 to 6: Frippertronics presented into single compositions, as in his recent live street and public places presentations and performances. The mood each composition sets varies in proportion of balance, intensity or subtleness, all according to multiple, canon-like, melodic lines, constructed from scratch and multiplied by their own repetitions. This is the "King" himself, back in form, to explore this future and he delivered this gem. Imagine the electrifying droning of different guitar signals, sounding as only this genius could sound.

Somehow I've found out that die-hard "Crimsons" are the main detractors of this work. Just let yourself go, the music will do the rest.

*****5 PA stars without blinking.

P.D. : The original vinyl starts with "Under Heavy Manners" ends with "1983", so the next second record "Let the Power Fall" would start of properly with "1984" its first song.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Inspired by Brian Eno during his work with him, Robert Fripp created a similar method of tape looping sound except he did it with guitar instead of electronics. He threaded reel to reel tape from the feeding real through the player of one unit through the player of a 2nd unit so that the tape would be taken up on the receiving reel on the 2nd unit. He would create a sound that he would layer more sounds over and do this continually so that he would become sort of like a one man band, or at least sound like he was creating more sound than what a single person would normally be able to create at one time. Thus Frippertronics was born. There were several versions of this Frippertronics method and two of them are featured on this double E.P. which was released as 1 LP.

"God Save the Queen" is the first part of this album and consists of 3 tracks. Each one is a study in minimalism, a layering of guitars improvised through the 2 reel to reel units. They are mostly sparse performances with a separate melody sometimes appearing among the guitar layers. This is Pure Frippertonics with nothing but Fripp's guitar and no other processed sound except for the tape units. The music is something like the ebb and flow of the waves and very relaxing. It is hard to understand on the first few listens, but really grows on you after a while. This style of guitar work would be used in a lot of recordings as part of the band, usually produced musically by Fripp as a guest performer and it always gave the music a much fuller sound with the payoff of fewer musicians.

The other half of the recording gives you 2 tracks that illustrates better how Frippertronics sounds with other instruments added in. This is the "Under Heavy Manners" part of the album. This style is what Fripp called Discotronics, the same recording process, but this time with an established rhythm (drums and whatnot) and bass with a few other surprises added in. This definitely gives a full sound to a smaller band. On the title track of this portion of the album, David Byrne sings what sounds like improvised words and melody and this sounds very much like the era it came from. The 2nd track on is over 12 minutes and further explores the full band sound this time without vocals. What's nice about this track is after about the half-way point, the other instruments end while the soundscape created by Fripp's guitar work is left to finish out the track, back to the bare bones of the first part of the album.

Overall, this is not an album for the masses, but it is proof of Fripp's genius and shows his inventiveness in attempting to move the guitar sound into the 80's. The interesting thing here is that bands are still using his techniques and styles today, however, with more updated equipment which produces more interesting sounds. But the technique is still there, the idea is still utilized and with this album, which, even though it isn't exactly a masterpiece, should be something that gets a lot more credit as far as the progression of modern music. No it's not for everyone, but any student of music should be exposed to it and credit is due to Fripp for his experimentation and innovation which has created a lot of the sound that we hear today in music, whether it's pop music or the most innovative progressive music. Not everyone will enjoy both halves of this album, but it still needs to be appreciated. 4 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars 2012-04-10 Robert Fripp - God Save The Queen / Under Heavy Manners Copy reviewed LP. In Fripp's Drive To 1981 this 1980 album may represent the real building block upon which Disciplined, later to rename themselves King Crimson would be built upon. Fripp had developed his system of Frippe ... (read more)

Report this review (#720462) | Posted by uduwudu | Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Now, how's this for a lark: Bobby "Chuckles" Fripp decided to give you, the consumer, a whole lotta bang for your buck. Rather than selling two EPs, he lowered costs and presented "God Save The Queen" and "Under Heavy Manners" on a single album. Brilliant economy, but what about the music? On one ... (read more)

Report this review (#287811) | Posted by WalterDigsTunes | Monday, June 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I bought a copy of this album shortly after its release and for the first time in my young life as a record buyer I returned it straight after listening to the record shop to exchange it for another title. I was sixteen, into all things King Crimson (70s), Gabriel, Genesis, Yes etc. and just d ... (read more)

Report this review (#27113) | Posted by | Monday, September 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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