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Robert Fripp - Exposure CD (album) cover


Robert Fripp


Eclectic Prog

3.67 | 219 ratings

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5 stars Robret Fripp goes punk.

So here is Bob Fripp's debut solo album, recorded in collaboration with many widely known progressive rock musicians such as Peter Hammill, Tony Levin, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel & Phil Collins and called by some critics the 'Sgt Pepper of art punk'. Indeed, it sounds very strange for ears of those who remember good old Fripp's work as a guiarist of King Crimson, the living gods of art music. But the time is changing and the music cannot stand still in 1974, so Fripp recorded a much more modern-sounding album full of raw punk energy, mystic Frippertronics and weird avant-garde production.

'Exposure' is the third (and the best) part of so-called MOR Trilogy (the first two parts are Daryl Hall's 'Sacred Songs' and Peter Gabriels' second album): all those albums were recorded with Robert Fripp's presence, and so both Hall and Gabriel appeared on 'Exposure'.

The cover art depicts a photo shot at the auditions for never filmed Amos Poe's remake of Jean-Luc Godard's classic movie 'Alphaville'. Robert Fripp was going to play secret agent Lemmy Caution and Debbie Harry of art punk/new wave band Blondie was intended to play Natacha von Braun. I can't say if it was a good idea to give Debby a role performed in original by Anna Karina, but Robert Fripp shurely would be a superior Lemmy!

'Exposure' have three different editions: the first one was released in 1979. In 1983 it was remixed, some songs were replaced with a different takes and released in 1985. In 2006 the album was remixed again, and it caused appearance of the third edition.

The album starts with "Preface". This track contins Brian Eno's speech which is interrupted with strange samples of choir and phone ring.

"You Burn Me Up I'm A Cigarette" is the first real song here. Singed by Daryl Hall, it is a kind of fastened rock'n'roll punk with piano played by Hall. Not a bad beginning.

"Breathless" starts with Frippertronics and then rolls into guitar solo which is actually a remake of King Crimson's "Red". Not a bad thing if you love instrumental heavy metal, not very original though.

"Disengage" starts again with Frippertronics accompanied with some conversation's samples, and then falls onto very heavy punk territory. Peter Hammill's voice (as always) is very rough, screaming and shrieking. Being one of the loudest tracks here, it ends with ear-piercingly loud guitars. On third edition (renamed to "Disengage II") Hammill's voice was replaced with Daryl Hall's. Hall is trying to be rough here, but he still sounds much more softer.

"North Star" provides us some surprising slowness and calmness. A ballad full of quiet Daryl Hall's singing, Eno's synths and, of course, Frippertronics.

"Chicago" opens with a heavy bluesy beat and pianos. Peter Hammill's voice is a bit less unleashed here than on "Disengage". On second edition the second half of this song was performed by Terre Roche, who is trying to sing as raw as Peter. On third edition all vocals here are performed by Daryl Hall, which are making this song ways more softer than before.

"NY3" starts like a snippet of what King Crimson would become later in 80's and even in 90's. Then heaqvy guitars are braking through, and we hear loud family argument. A very paranoid track here originated musically from "NYCNY" song from Daryl Hall's album "Sacred Songs". Argument was also replaced with Hall's singing in third edition (renamed to "New York, New York, New York").

The first side ends with "Mary", a beautiful sad ballad with mellow vocals performed by Terre Roche of all-female folk band The Roches (Fripp later produced two Roches' albums, other guys from King Crimson were also there!). Not the thing you would normaly expect from heavy-and-mechanical Robert Fripp, but one of the most memorable here. On second edition lead vocals were replaced wtih Daryl Hall's singing, which actually makes the record much weaker.

"Exposure" starts with Frippertronics, we hear the sample of someone's saying "It's impossible to achieve the aim without suffering", and then we hear Terre Roche's roughly screamings of just one word, 'exposure', throughout the wholesong. This track is originated from Peter Gabriel's second album, and Gabriel's version was, ehm, much more softer. Roche's vocals were replaced with Daryl Hall on the seond edition.

"Hååden Two" is a strange guitar solo with samples played over it. At the end we can hear chat that was was cutted out from subsequent remixed editions.

"Urban Landscape", originated from Daryl Hall's "Sacred Songs", is just a two and half minutes long instrumental with ambient Frippertronics.

"I May Not Have Enough Of Me But I've Had Enough Of You" is where we return to the where we've started. It's a fast punk song with vocals by Peter Hammill and Terry Roche. It shares the same music as "NY3", originated from "NYCNY" from Hall's "Sacred Songs".

"First Inaugural Address To The I.A.C.E. Sherborne House" is just a four seconds long noise oddity.

"Water Music I" is a beautiful Frippertronics-filled ambient instrumental, which segues into 'Here Comes the Flood", a piano ballad sung by Peter Gabriel. Slow, sad, dark and apocalyptical, this is the highlight here. Peter's voice is as beautiful as ever. This song was originally released on Gabriel's debut solo album, but this is a major rework that lacks anthemic sound of original and replaces it with a very sad and intimate sound.

After "Here Comes the Flood" we hear "Water Music II", the second part of this ambient instrumental, as good as the first.

And then the album ends with spoken track "Postscript", in which Brian Eno tell us that "so the whole story was completely untrue, a big hoax".

So in general, the album is fantastic, especially the original version (second and third editions seem to me much weaker). It might not be the essential work every progressive rock fan ought to listen to, but it's definitely a fine record. Robert Fripp is as witty as always, so if you love King Crimson, you'll definitely like this album.


ole-the-first | 5/5 |


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