After rejecting calls to reform King Crimson with John Wetton and Bill Bruford (resulting in them going off to form UK), Fripp’s return to the stage, or more accurately just behind it, was with Peter Gabriel’s band in 1977. Whereas this might have been the precursor to some return to large-scale playing in his own right, Fripp confounded expectations by turning up to record stores, offices, clubs and other small-scale venues with his guitar, amp and a couple of Revox reel to reel recorders.
Frippertronics made their live debut in February 1978 at The Kitchen, New York. For the next year and a half, Fripp became the embodiment of the small, mobile intelligent unit he’d been banging on about in the press.
Frippertronics enabled both artist and audience a greater degree of intimacy than would have ever been possible in conventional rock music. Here up close, each piece is constructed and layered with Fripp adding touches and engaging with the music as it slowly unfurls across the tape.
By the time Fripp appeared in Chicago’s Sound Warehouse in 1979, he’d been on the road solidly for much of this and the previous month. Consequently, there’s a “lived in” quality to the music, and as a result it’s some of Fripp’s most intensely personal music of the period.
During the course of this pitch-corrected and cleaned-up audience recording, we hear bleeping and droning; rhapsodic flourishes; echoes of No Pussyfooting and Evening Star; the theme from Starless and a cavalcade of notes leaping from those fingers. Most of all we hear an artist creating opportunities, exploring the medium and emerging with some truly sublime moments, none more so to these ears, than Improv II And Solo. Stunning.
* source recording is incomplete
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Audio Source: Audience Bootleg
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