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Robert Fripp - Glass and Breath CD (album) cover


Robert Fripp


Eclectic Prog

2.05 | 3 ratings

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2 stars Recorded in 2007 and still available as a free download from the DGM website, this enigmatic experiment by the once and future Crimson King borrows a card from the oblique strategies of his colleague Brian Eno, and not for the first time (it was Eno who patented the Frippertronic tape-delay technique). The music here is a far cry from the more symphonic approach of other Fripp soundscape installations, presenting instead an hour of purely intuitive minimalism, played on guitar but hard to distinguish from the automated ambient doodles generated by Eno with synthesizers.

The long piece was built around a series of treated bell-like chimes, the same handful of tones alternating with quiet, occasional electronic filigrees over the lightest sheen of irradiating guitar sustain. The total was then arbitrarily separated into three almost equally timed, twenty-minute segments, each one exactly like the others, and every minute of performance identical to the next.

Active listening can make it almost insanely irritating: a Dorset water torture of repetitive bleeps and squiggles. But like the best ambient albums (by Eno and others) it wasn't meant to be processed in the forebrain. This is music intended for near-subliminal assimilation into the natural background of noise around us, blending into the environment instead of isolated from it.

I've just now reduced the volume to almost zero while writing this, and the effect is obvious: the music plays better when you barely notice it. Consider it the aural equivalent of light mist on a window pane, evaporating before it reaches the sill.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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