Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 

Robert Fripp

Exposure

Review by Steve Alspach

Robert Fripp's first solo album (not counting the side projects with Brian Eno) was considered "A Day in the Life" for the 1970s. Fripp proves himself to be the "21st Century Schizoid Man" because this album runs the gamut from harsh metal to more ambient dreamscapes. He brings in some interesting vocalists as Terre Roche, Daryl Hall, Peter Hammill, and Peter Gabriel (okay, Gabriel was an obvious choice.)

Track by Track Review
Prelude
This is a short piece. "I'd like to play some of my new things which I think could be commercial." You then hear some random chords on a voice mellotron, followed by a phone ringing. The phone picks up and it's... 
You Burn Me Up I'm a Cigarette
Fripp and Daryl Hall sound like Jerry Lee Lewis backed up by the Ramones. This is a full-throttle blues workout.
Breathless
This would have fit quite well on King Crimson's Red album. Narada Michael Walden's drumming helps propel this metal stomper. Fripp plays in a 7/4 figure through the main riffs, but the middle section is quite complicated, taking on that Philip Glass-like complexity that would be explored in King Crimson's "Discipline" album.
Disengage
Here we get more of the heavy metal stuff. If Fripp wanted anguish in his vocals, he couldn't have picked a better candidate than Peter Hammill. Hammill is at his most Richard III with his anguished vocals. This one may set some sort of record for the fastest fadeout of a song.
North Star
It appears that "Matte Kudasai," from the aforementioned Discipline album, came out of "North Star." After the franticism of the previous three songs, this is a welcome relief. Daryl Hall's vocals seem to be very informal and considerably improvised.
Chicago
Peter Hammill returns, sounding anywhere from a Sam Spade-like character to his more accustomed strained tenor.
NY3
The intro shows Fripp's considerable flat-picking skills. "NY3" pre-dates Byrne-Eno's "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" by using "found" vocals - in this case, an argument in the apartment next door to where Fripp was living. The intensity of the music matches the intensity of the fight, and at 2.16, "NY3" packs a punch that will make the listener shudder when it's over.
Mary
Almost a folk song, this track pairs Terre Roche with Fripp's restrained chordal work (think "Book of Saturday") along with some Frippertronic effects.
Exposure
The version on Peter Gabriel's "nail scratch" album had Peter Gabriel repeating "Exposure" in a low monotone over a swampy groove. This version couldn't be more different. Though the arrangement is pretty much the same, Terre Roche blows out her vocal cords on this screamfest. Sound bites from W.G Bennett, a disciple of Gurdjieff and influence on Fripp, are peppered throughout.
Haagen Two
This has a thumping, downward spiral of a riff, interspersed with little sound bits, random vocals, and laughing.
Urban Landscape
This is a piece of Frippertronics, guitar lines building on each other to construct a drawn-out chord pattern. The tones build a tense, dissonant chord.
I May Not Have Had Enough of Me But I've Had Enough Of You
Hammill and Roche spar on vocals and sound like R.D. Laing writing a script for "The Bickersons" on this powerhouse.
First Inaugural Address to the IACE Sherborne House
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Fripp gotta take a tape of a forty-minute speech by W.G. Bennett and condense it to three seconds. The result sounds like a badly scratched record.
Water Music I
More layered Frippertronics, but unlike "Urban Landscape," this is much more languid. Bennett makes another appearance, predicting another "ice age" that would produce flooding in much of the world. "This could happen in forty years, or quicker."
Here Comes the Flood
Peter Gabriel sings and plays piano on his own composition, and Fripp lies in the background. This tune made its debut on Gabriel's first album, but this version, with the sparse arrangement, adds by subtraction. 
Water Music II
Ambient minimalism at its, well, most ambient and minimal. Fripp's guitar loops make for a very slow, dreamy piece.
Postscript
"So the whole story is complete untrue. A big hoax. Heh heh heh." The last half of the quote is repeated a few times, the phone hangs up, and we hear footsteps leaving.
Click on the icon to check out items at the MSJ Robert Fripp store.
Napster, LLC
Download 25 FREE songs at eMusic.com!
 
Return to the
Robert Fripp Artist Page
Return to the
Genesis Artist Page
Artists Directory
AllAboardToys.com - Shop - Play - Learn - Connect
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2014 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com