Quartet and Quintet


About half of the references to The Bridge Between refer to it as a work of the "Robert Fripp String Quartet" which, considering it is made up of five guitarists, makes it an improbably, but certainly Frippertronic title. However, the "album" cover correctly lists it as "Robert Fripp String Quntet."

And indeed, the album is played by a group of stringed-instrument players That the stringed instruments are guitars adds a certain interest to the work. Additionally, that these guitars sometimes end up sounding very much like a traditional string quintet, becomes even more intriguing.

I have liked nearly every musical mask Mr. Fripp has decided to wear--and heaven knows they are many--Fripp and Eno, King Crimson (multiple groups under a single name with a single continuing member), the String Quintet, Fripp and Summers, The League of Crafty Guitarists, Robert Fripp and David Sylvian--and session musician and producer on countless albums. In a sense Fripp (and Rick Wakeman) is the Dostoevsky of the musical world--not necessarily in terms of quality--though I do tend to like almost everything--but in terms of sheer temporal lobe epilepsy productivity. It's phenomenal. (As I said, Rick Wakeman is also way up there--I'm astounded by the number of albums he has with a group, solo, or contributing.) Truly tireless workers in the field.

At any rate, this was only to alert those who are even less alert that I have been over the past XX years that there is much good from the days of really fine music to be discovered. Before the tide of grunge swept in and removed the electroeuroboys from the stage there was Fripp. And after grunge had washed away, leaving in its wakes a certain grittiness and definitely a fabric that could use some bluing, there is Fripp, still moving along, still playing, still producing music, ambient and otherwise--grating, experimental, soft, delicate. All the textures of the musical world wrapped up in one continuously moving producer of gorgeous sound.

The String Quintet album is definitely worth more than one listen. Go and sample at Amazon, I suggest tracks 9 and 10. Passacaglia, track 9, manages to sound considerably like a harpsichord and 10, Threnody for Souls in Torment has me once again thinking about the religious theme that underlay much of what Mr. Fripp produces.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 4, 2007 8:16 AM.

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