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June 14, 1979 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-06-14

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday,. June 14, 1979-Page 7
Second Chance rips out

By KEITH TOSOLT
Robert Fripp plays conceptual art
rock, a haunting and mesmerizing im-
provisational music based on a
framework he-call "Frippertronics."
Just as composers of the early 20th cen-
tury invented compositional devices
like Serialism asa method of disrupting
traditional tonality, Fripp has for-
mulated a system of composing and
listening designed to move music into
the eighties.
Fripp's musical career has always
shone with eclecticism. As the leader of
King Crimson he established the stan-
dards of the art rock movement with his
unrestrained, yet highly technical
guitar work and melodic complex
AETS
arrangements. He moved into elec-
tronic space music during his
collaboration with Brian Eno, who had
started working with the concept of
synthesizer tape loops. As a solo artist,
Fripp has been heard on guitar behind
Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Blondie.
His current mode of composition
utilizes the technology of tape loops. A
tape loop operates like this: a signal is
recorded through one tape machine and
then fed into another and re-recorded.
This composite signal can then be
repeated until the tape ends or is
altered with new harmonic input. A
time lapse occurs as the initial signal is
carried to the second recorder. This
delay creates an echo effect, giving the
tape loop system its magic and the
capability to create an infinite number
of harmonic textures and patterns.
Before he began his improvisations
on Tuesday night, Fripp explained the
objectives of a "Frippertronics" con-
cert. He referred to his concept of a
"demystifying experience," a reor-
dering of preconceived notions about
the rock star and the rock concert, of
sound and perception. To make his
ideas accessible, Fripp has given free
demonstrations of his conceptual music.
for audiences of a dozen people in
European music stores and for up to
three hundred guest at larger venues
like the Second Chance.
Live "Frippertronics" is developed
in two stages: an initial improvisation
and an overdubbed secondary im-
provisation. Fripp sets down a variety
of echoes in rhythm and then plays the
tape back, adding more guitar lines and
effects over, under and in between the
original sounds. Another aspect of this
concept is the rearrangement of the
conventional acoustics of recorded
sound, that is, attempting to achieve a
stereo perspective that is not split
radically between left and right chan-
nels but diffused into one blended aural
You Wouldn't Believe
The Crowds We Get!
BILLIARDS
at the UNION
Open 11:30 A.M.

texture. PA speakers were placed in the
balcony to help create this type of
stereo balance. Frippertronic sound
seems to work well; the guitar tones
were round and rich (though this was a
result of the tape loop as well as the
speaker set up), and the echoes rever-
berated in a perfect cosmic mix.
With hair closely sculptured to his
head, Fripp sat on a stool with two reel-
to-reel tape machines directly to his
right. His stage presence has not
changed at all from the days of King
Crimson - he still sits unobtrusively on
a stool while the technical expertise and
artistry of his guitar playing comman-
ds the attention of the thought process
and the psyche. The first improvisation
was shaped in gradually shifted patter:
ns, quite reminiscent of the soft music
on the Fripp/Eno collaboration
Evening Star. Fripp hit a lot of har-
monic overtones - sending these high
frequency sounds through the tape loop
and allowing them to repeat for short
periods - then varied the tonal field.
The overdub segment was structured
on climax and dynamics; filled with
fiery Mahavishnu-like lines and notes
slipped in for feedback and distortion
(just like the manic leads on Eno's
"Baby's on Fire").
Fripps tape music is very
remarkable, both peaceful and
arresting in turn. He has already
recorded an album of "Frippertronics"
due to be released in September. His
debut solo album Exposure contains
some examples of these tape loop com-
positions in "Urban Landscapes" and
"Water Music I and II." The remainder
of the album is quite diverse: two King
Crimson-style instrumentals, a
predominance of vocal songs mostly
done maniacally (Daryl Hall sings the
punkish "You Burn Me Up I'm a
Cigarette" with an intense voice never
heard in his recordings with Hall and
Oates) and some bits of avant-garde
esoterica intermingled throughout.
Eno, Gabriel, Phil' Collins and Terre
Roche (of The Roches, a folk trio
produced by Fripp) assist on this solo
production.
7oP 5SDER
Women
Long Wear, Great Comfort!
Mast's
619 E. LIBERTY
217 S. MAIN ST.

Like all spontaneous artistry, Frip-
pertronics is built on an inherent risk
and challenge in free improvisation.
But when a musician is unconfined by
conventional style, as Fripp is, a
mistake could turn out to have a
profound effect on the form of the com-
position. Fripp didn't make any
mistakes Tuesday night, none that I
noticed anyway, being too engrossed in
the technique of tape looped guitar and
watching Fripp work it.

Robert Fripp is the genius, the
master, the aesthetic and the spirit of
art rock. His multi-level concept of
"Frippertronics", the tape loop, and his
album Exposure show that he has
remained a leader of the rock and roll
avant-garde, helping to introduce the
conceptions of Art in Rock and Rock as
Art in the early seventies. And Robert
Fripp's experimental music promises
to bring time, space and sound into the
next decade.

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