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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Robert Fripp: Let The Power Fall


1) 1984; 2) 1985; 3) 1986; 4) 1987; 5) 1988; 6) 1989.

General verdict: Unfortunately, most Frippertronics sounds like... Frippertronics.

Writing a separate review for this album after already having commented on «Frippertronics» in general in my review of God Save The Queen is downright impossible. The base verdict is simple: if you really, really, really loved the texture of ʽ1983ʼ from that album, then here are ʽ1984ʼ, ʽ1985ʼ, and so on, to prolong and increase your ecstasy. If you thought that ʽ1983ʼ simply makes for superb quality musical wallpaper, then this is acceptable, too. But if you thought that ʽ1983ʼ was an interesting sonic curio and nothing more...

The only informative thing I can come up with is that ʽ1984ʼ is sonically and emotionally dif­ferent from the rest: its Frippertronic skeleton is more aggressive, with Robert using more distor­tion, playing less minimalistic phrases, and sometimes going into full-scale high-pitched guitar hysterics, reminiscent of the ʽLarks' Tongues In Aspicʼ style. However, telling the difference between the other five tracks is way beyond my limited musicological judgement: other than the compositions being played in different keys, they all produce the same effect — miniaturizing the listener and putting him inside a large, busy, but benevolent supercomputer, where the listener can spend hours wandering in between all the circuit boards and wondering about their weird ways of communicating with each other.

Curiously, Let The Power Fall, unlike the two albums that preceded it, got an official CD release as early as 1989 — perhaps Robert was more inclined to pass it for «serious» music, while at the same time regarding his bit of fun with The League Of Gentlemen as, well, a bit of fun. I will not take the bait and call this a bullshit move: dismissing Frippertronics as bullshit may very easily and logically lead one to dismissing Fripp, and King Crimson in general, as bullshit, and we are not here to do that. Still, having diligently sat through the entire 50 minutes of this LP, I must admit that barenaked Frippertronics, without at least a Brian Eno in the house to offer some counterpoints, reeks too much of raw building material. But it does have a pedagogical benefit: the more you listen to these naked waves of looped sounds, the more you actually get to appre­ciate the dissonant, quasi-cacophonous improvisations of King Crimson as a band — they just sound so much more complete, wholesome, and meaningful!

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