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Robert Fripp - Exposure CD (album) cover


Robert Fripp


Eclectic Prog

3.67 | 218 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What can be said about the genious of Robert Fripp? I guess the only word that comes to mind is eclectic, and this album really goes to show that the man could adapt to any style that was needed at the time. After he ended King Crimson in 1974, Fripp became what he liked to call a "mobile intelligence unit". He was a guest on various albums, most notably Peter Gabriel's first three studio efforts. This album would also prove to be one of the greatest joint collaborations between Fripp and his many colleagues, most notably that of Peter Gabriel, Peter Hammill, and Brian Eno, who provide pieces to the album (although Hammill and Eno only helped collaborate on a couple really). Musically, this album has everything from ambient instrumentals to rollicking blues rock, and hints of Fripp's past with King Crimson and his future with King Crimson (and solo as well) can also be heard on this album as well.

The album opens with a rocking number with some fine vocals from Daryl Hall (of Hall and Oates fame) in You Burn Me Up I'm a Cigarette (after a brief vocal introduction titled Preface). It has a nice upbeat swing to it and it really a fun piece overall. Breathless traces Fripp into his King Crimson past with heavy riffing in the vein of Red (actually essentially the same chords). It's also one of my favorite pieces on the album. Superb instrumental piece. Disengage is the first track to feature Peter Hammill on vocals. For some reason, though, his vocals just don't appeal to me that much on this album (they're too rough, and though I like the rough edges in his voice they just don't seem to work here). The jarring dissonant riffs, though, are quite nice and are reminicent of the riffing in Red. In songs like North Star, you can hear the future sound that King Crimson would attain (as it has a Matte Kudasai vibe) with Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford in the fold. Chicago, NY3, and Mary are three throwaway numbers, that despite having excellent musicianship don't really grab me that much or astound me in any real way. They act more as filler pieces than anything else in my mind (despite being pretty good in the end). Exposure is the first Peter Gabriel song on the album (the second would be Here Comes the Flood). Now, musically this song has the same groove and steady beat that was on the second Peter Gabriel album, but the vocals here are nothing short of annoying (just a female vocalist wailing exposure over and over again).

Haaden Two and Urban Landscape both are avant-garde instrumental compositions, with the first being a bit rougher on the edges and riffing and the second having a lighter, more ambient feel (reminicent actually of his collaborations with Brian Eno that yielded No Pussyfooting and Evening Star). I May Not Have Had Enough of Me But I've Had Enough of You and the much maligned First Inaugural Address to the I.A.C.E. Sherborne House (mainly because it is essentially a useless track running at 4 seconds) follow those two pieces. I May Not... features Peter Hammill once again on vocals, and the jarring and disorienting riffs once again compliment the mood and atmosphere of the piece well. Both incarnations of Water Music (which sandwich Here Comes the Flood) also show shades of what Fripp would come to do with his solo career and are actually interesting soundscapes. This is in regards to both of them. Here Comes the Flood is the second Peter Gabriel song of the album and also one of the absolute best as well. This version being solely a piano/vocal display (from Gabriel himself) with some backing ambient guitar. I actually love this version a lot more than the original version and it seems Gabriel did as well (as he would play the piano only version in his live shows). Postscript ends the album much like Preface began it, with mixed dialogue and sound effects.

In the end, Robert Fripp's first true solo album would prove to be a labor of many different (and I mean many different) styles and influences. It's also a nice gem of an album in that the guest musicians are just incredible (I mean, essentially all of them are progressive rock all-stars). If you want an album that has a run of the mill of every style Robert Fripp has essentially lent himself to, then this is the album to do so. There are also some pretty incredible collaboration pieces as well (mainly the version of Here Comes the Flood, though). Comes with a high recommendation, although it is no masterpiece (mainly because of the vocals on Exposure and the three tracks I singled out). 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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