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Giles Giles & Fripp - The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp CD (album) cover


Giles Giles & Fripp



3.10 | 103 ratings

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3 stars At some point tracking down this album is going to prove practically irresistible to every King Crimson fan. A psych-era album featuring three future King Crimson members including the meister himself, Mr Fripp, has to be of interest, surely. And it is. The bulk of the album has very little to do with progressive rock, and you probably have to be a fan of "silly" psych albums like The Small Faces' Ogden's Nut Gone Flake and Pink Floyd's Piper At The Gates Of Dawn to appreciate this album on its own terms, but even allowing for that, there are two impressive tracks which while not exactly pointing the way forward, show that even at this early stage, Fripp and co could make beautiful music.

One main element that defines the album is the quirky narrative that links the songs. The first half of the album focuses on Rodney Toady a fat, ugly misfit, while the latter part deals with Just George, another dysfunctional character. However, understanding the narrative passages is scarcely key to enjoying the album, and in truth they are quite annoying.

As for the songs themselves, they are generally a tamer (but not necessarily poor) version of the sort of stuff that early Floyd was doing. North Meadow and Newly-Weds is pastoral psych with the former song containing some nice fluid jazz guitar lines from Fripp. One In A Million is very English music hall psych ... the sort of track done not just by Floyd, but by the Beatles and The Kinks as well. After a while the novelty wears off as the songs get weaker ... Digging My Lawn, Little Children (the female vocals are particularly twee), etc are pretty weak efforts ... but then there is a big twist towards the end ... because after picking up a little thanks to the absurd, subtly biting Elephant Song ... the album is saved by its two closing tracks, Suite No 1 and Erudite Eyes.

Suite No 1 is a delicate classical instrumental, with an opening that rides on some great high speed playing by Fripp and the accompanying pianist. It then segues into a melancholy segment (with quite possibly the first strains of mellotron making an appearance), before some more classical (this time tinged with flamenco/jazz) comes in. In some ways this is one of Fripp's most impressive guitar performances ever ... which is really saying something!

Erudite Eyes on the other hand is a wild folk/jazz exploration, with an intriguing melody giving way to some stunning psychedelic double-tracked guitar lead work, as the dust settles, both Fripp and Peter Giles on bass begin some really exciting atmospheric improvisations, which gives the piece a really daring quality.

The bulk of this album isn't remotely original, and as such can be put aside quite easily, but I'm sure that Suite No 1 and Erudite Eyes are essential songs for the committed KC fan to hear ... not because the roots of the great band can be heard here, but because we get to hear some quality progressive music that sounds very different from the varied stuff that King Crimson put out. The CD release has some bonus tracks that include an early and quite pleasing version of the Pete Sinfield composition Under The Sky, which simply adds to the curiousity value. ... 57% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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