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Fripp & Eno - Evening Star CD (album) cover


Fripp & Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.80 | 96 ratings

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4 stars Fripp and Eno's second collaborative effort marked a considerable advance on their debut. On vinyl, tracks 1 - 4 took up side 1 while the lengthy An Index Of Metals filled side 2, and the contrast between the two halves of the album was striking.

Side 1 saw the duo exploring the more melodic possibilities of the guitar/tape loops/synth set up. Wind on Water, taken from a widely bootlegged French concert (Air Sculptures: the sound quality is appalling, don't bother) opens the proceedings with Fripp unleashing barrages of high speed clusters of notes over a backdrop of what would later be known as Frippertronics. For a piece created largely by tape delay systems it's a joyous, life affirming noise, which segues neatly into the gorgeous title track. Over a bed of tape loops (a couple of guitar arpeggios and a simple 6 note figure played on 12th fret harmonics) Fripp unleashes a slow paced, heartfelt solo of rare beauty and precision. Eno punctuates the music with the odd discreet synth embellishment, and at one point a few notes on piano are added to the mix. It seems that on this piece they took Miles Davis' advice and didn't play all the notes, just the beautiful ones. Side one closes with a couple of shorter pieces - Evensong is a Satie- esque piece composed of interlocking tape loops, while Wind on Wind is an extract from Eno's pioneering ambient piece Discreet Music. The mellow woodwind sound he coaxes from his synth brings the proceedings to an appropriately low key close.

The second half of the album picks up where the steely, dark ambience of No Pussyfooting left off and takes it to an altogether deeper level of intensity. Fripp's guitar noise is looped on itself to the Nth degree, creating a near impenetrable wall of sound. For much of the time it seems as though nothing is happening, although the odd fragment of something analagous to a tune can be heard from time to time. Where side 1 is full of space and light, An Index Of Metals exists in a disturbing minmal space where the odd flicker of light illuminates a distorted shape in the distance. Highly uneasy listening, but it rewards attention - there's a lot happening below the surface.

Although Fripp and Eno's paths would cross again, notably on Bowie's Heroes album, it would be almost 30 years before a third album would emerge, by which time technology had moved on an almost unimaginable distance. The fact that this album was made with a guitar, a monophonic synth and a couple of Revox reel-to-reel tape machines is remarkable. What is truly amazing is that so much could be achieved with such meagre resources.

Syzygy | 4/5 |


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