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Robert Fripp - Robert Fripp & Andy Summers: I Advance Masked CD (album) cover

ROBERT FRIPP & ANDY SUMMERS: I ADVANCE MASKED

Robert Fripp

 

Eclectic Prog

3.60 | 86 ratings

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TCat
5 stars Robert Fripp and Andy Summers, both amazing guitarists who are better known for their soundscapes they create with guitar and their innovative use of the instrument more than they are at performing the conventional guitar solo that you can hear almost anywhere in rock music, get together to mesh their styles in this amazing collection of mostly miniature soundscapes. This is a great showcase of their amazing talents and guitar playing styles, but don't expect to hear any axe grinding solos here, most of the time the geniuses are playing together and mixing their styles together to create some amazing sounds.

Fripp, who is of course known as the frontman fo King Crimson is famous for his rapid-fire arpeggios and his sustained Frippertronics sound which is layer upon layer of looped guitar sounds that start to sound more like a synthesizer than a guitar at times, and this was created to help bands that don't have a usual keyboard player to create a more varied sound. Andy Summers is of course the lead guitarist for The Police who also has a knack to create sounds with his guitar that were previously only known to come from a synthesized format. Listening to The Police, especially "Ghost in the Machine" you can hear this sound a lot. When you listened to the 3 players in The Police, you often wonder how 3 people can make the sounds they do and who is playing keys....well a lot of that sound was from Summers on his guitar. These two innovative guitarists come together in this first collaboration from them and the effect and the sound is out of this world. I mean, really listen to this and realize, except with a few exceptions, these sounds are all coaxed from their guitars.

There are 2 longer tracks here which are the title track and China - Yellow Leader. "I Advance Masked" (track 1) is exactly what real fans would expect out of these two guitarists. The two styles are very evident here with the obvious arpeggio playing by Fripp and the sustained notes from Summers over a driving beat. It sounds exactly like Fripp guesting on a Police album (without vocals that is) or the other way around. Great way to start the album. Track #3 is the other long track at over 7 minutes and is actually 2 distinct songs melded together with a similar oriental inspired sound.

The other tracks here are soundscape miniatures that range from slow and pensive and somewhat ambient (though to say this album is ambient is incorrect) like "Girl on a Swing" to abrasive and dissonant like "Stultified". There are tracks where the styles are obvious and you can tell who is playing what part and others where the styles are meshed so well, that you can't tell who created what sound. Every song, even the short ones, are distinct and there is really quite a variety of sound here if you really sit back and pay attention.

This album is overall quite beautiful at times and inspirational yet innovative at others. Some people may have a hard time digesting the music here, even though it is quite a bit more accessible than most of the Frippertronic albums. These songs are much more melodic and utilize the playing styles of both guitarists quite well. Never do you hear anything that sounds like one person trying to outdo the other. These tracks were created thoughtfully with both guitarists complimenting the other. That's what makes this album so unique above other solo or collaborative instrumental albums that highlight rock guitarists. This album is nothing but a masterpiece of prog rock and of guitar rock and should be considered that. The music heard here has continued to inspire guitarists for years and still does to this day. A real student or fan of prog rock should be familiar with this music and understand how it has influenced other bands. To understand prog rock that is created today, it is always good to go back to the roots and this is where you should go to study post 80's style prog rock. This album is essential. 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |

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