Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fripp and Eno's "Beyond Even (1992-2006)"

Originally posted on February 20, 2008

Guitarist Robert Fripp has established himself as one of the foremost contemporary progressive guitarists and musical thinkers from the time of his founding of King Crimson, through his League of Crafty Guitarists and today. Similarly, Brian Eno from his beginnings with Roxy Music, his remarkable solo albums, then onto his pioneering work in ambient music, has been one of the most provocative and innovative musicians alive. Fripp and Eno collaborated on two legendary albums in the ‘70s: No Pussyfooting and Evening Star. These works extended both of their musical vocabularies in long minimalist tape delay pieces with expressive guitar solos.

DGM Records has released an anthology of mostly unreleased later collaborations called Beyond Even (1992-2006) and it is great music. The limited first edition programs the material on two separate disks. The first separating each cut, the second moulding them together into one long piece. Eventually only disk two will be available. Personally I like both versions, but it is the music as a whole that matters. And that music is firmly ambient, with long labyrinths of drone sounds, spacey drum beats, psychedelic guitar loops, envelopes of event universes, and general atmospheric futurity. Don’t expect a lot of guitar soloing. This is a mind meld between the two creators and it is egoless in its own way. What Fripp solos there are, however, are excellent, especially his electric wailing overtop a metallic beat reverberance and spooky synth chords on “Cross Crises in Lust Storm.” It all makes me want to hear more. I hope they plan to go back into the studio soon, if they have not already. Great sounds from two great masters of the art!

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