Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Wednesday 17 December 2003

DGM HQ The sun is



The sun is shining, the sky is blue. Frost gives an attractive architectural edge to surfaces around HQ.

Eyes Wide Open is now on release in the UK and several press cuttings have arrived with reviews. Mostly these are favourable, although good to remember also that this is England. Here, a balanced view is taken to mean that any positive eventuality or arising is necessarily to be evenly matched by a corresponding negative. In other words, abandon hope: all is doom. This is one form of English impartiality. A second, and more commonplace, form of English impartiality is to present the negative without any corresponding positive.

The Independent On Sunday's Laurie Staff comments progressive rock in the best and truest sense.

A syndicated reviewer (whose name does not accompany his review) to a batch of provincial titles such as The Stansted Weekly Inquisitor and The Herts & Essex Interrogator, refers to Crimson's free-form electro prog noodlings around their disappointing last studio album and suggests that the Shepherd's Bush performance is virtually interchangeable with Tokyo's. How do I do know that this reviewer has spent not very much time on his task, that the subject is outside his sphere of interest, and that he is a man? I might also add that he is English, but sharper readers will probably have come to the same conclusion.

A recent online poster to Krimson News & Daily Commentator has been discussing & differentiating prog & progressive --

lotus spray
Joined: 20 Mar 2003
Posts: 196
Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2003 2:06 pm Post subject:

It seems to me that there are two working definitions of "progressive rock".

First, a genre wherein musicians of the second rank distill the parts they liked of a once vibrant musical scene and repeat them over and over ad infinitum ad nauseum. This genre is called PROG and of course is of no interest whatsoever.

Secondly, and much more importantly, progressive rock in the sense of "rock that is progressive". While it certainly has influences, it does not copy them, it digests them; it runs roughshod over stylistic boundaries and refuses to settle into genre. A rare life-form.

Sadly, examples of the first are frequently confused with the second. Interestingly, examples of the second are never confused with the first.

Perhaps it is a testament to the persistence of memory that, at least in England, there is no distance between the two. Resonances continue to resonate --

Meanwhile, Grantco had this helpful offering --

Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Wisconsin
Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 11:37

Fripp hasn't really had to struggle FOR his success. His struggle has been more about how does one DEAL with success. As much as he seems to believe he has the answers for how others around him behave, his own life probably gives him little appreciation of how mundane sad and boring many people's lives actually are.

Well, that's all right then. But it would be a little too unsporting, even un-English, to oblige someone who walks onto the scaffold, places their head on the chopping block, holds out an axe and politely asks please chop off my head! Instead, two sample possible replies --

First Possible Reply:

Yep. It's all been a breeze. People love me. They can't hold onto their money, nor their praise, whenever I am within close range. Or even further than that.

Second Possible Reply:

Any intentional act is always against gravity;
any involutionary action is always against the current.

16.06 SoundWorld Two.

David has been continuing to playfully play, and then Tone Probe continued with Frame By Frame: Second Edition. We are loading-in Lizard. The words may or may not be singeable, and this quite apart from their purely poetic merits, but I'd love to hear Celine Dion giving them a shot.

Despite Grantco's Magic Wand, mundane stuff continues to demand our attention. And despite Grantco's Magic Wand, mundane stuff is getting our attention.

16.32 Now, back to FxF2. Application, rather than Grantco's Magic Wand, is holding stuff at bay as we heroically adopt the pretence that the life of the professional musician involves music. Assume the virtue --

Islands is now loading in.

Yow! The guitar solo to The Sailor's Tale. An informed primitivism at work here.

16.57 Ladies Of The Road. Raunchy, witty words are falling off the tongue of The Bozzell.

The Happy Gigster's Guide To Online Diarising includes the three prime directives for the witless, dribbling diarist who has nothing to say, and even less energy and enthusiasm to say it --

1. Discuss the weather.

2. Comment on the dopey views of an online poster. This is both easier
(there are more dopey posts available than reasoned, informed & considered commentaries) and more difficult (to be gentle, kind & fair while pointing out the witless absurdity & cluelessness of the posting).
3. Quote an e-mail from a personal correspondent. If the diarist goes this route, then let's hope they have friends with interesting lives.

If the diarist lives in a Basement Studio, doesn't read the online views of others, and has no friends, The HGGTOD has other recommendations --

4. Post your schedule for the day.
5. Find another way to expose yourself to public ridicule.

Meanwhile --

Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 11:27:35 +0300
From: "Turusinov, Andrei S." < >
Subject: Fripp & Hendrix - 2nd
Pardon my stubbornness, but I still have a problem with that Hendrix handshake, simply because it is so easy to check Jimi's activities on the 14th of May, 1969, here ,19690514,1.html:
"May 14, 1969 Record Plant, New York City, New York [Studio Recordings]. TAPE LOG: Freedom // Jam 292 // Untitled Jam // Horn & Piano Jam - Backed by
Mitch Mitchell, bassist Billy Cox, and organist Sharon Layne, Jimi recorded "Jam 292", which was later posthumously issued as part of Jimi Hendrix :Blues. Later that evening, the group was joined by an unnamed trumpet player who contributed to series of untitled instrumental jams before the session concluded."

Could it be a different Hendrix? A double? Someone who looked like him?

I am unable to comment on this. Hendrix was dressed in white, his right arm in a sling, and shone. So, no idea I'm afraid.

Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 11:36:34 +1100
From: "Eric Best" < >
Subject: Photography & recording in performance
Hi everyone, I know this topic has been done to death, but I hope this message might contribute a fresh perspective.

Up until recently I had thought that this was purely a personal issue:
Robert Fripp does not like people taking certain liberties at his performances (flashes would certainly be distracting) and good manners dictates that his wishes are respected.

RF: Good manners & public behaviour go together like poker and braised tulips.

However, a few months ago I read a fascinating book which has persuaded me that our favourite guitarist's sensitivity on this issue arises from a deep intuition about the nature of Being.

RF: That's me - your favourite guitarist - the one with deep intuition about the nature of Being.

The book is 'Creating Consciousness: a study of consciousness, creativity, evolution and violence', by Albert Low. Albert Low is the spiritual director of a Zen community in Montreal and has authored several books, all of which appear to go beyond the usual "introduction to buddhism" genre and show an original mind at work.

In this book Low argues that there is a fundamental ambiguity, or wound at the heart of things, which expresses itself in such ambiguities as 'being / knowing' 'subject / object' self-as-centre / self-as-perifery'. This ambiguity acts a cosmic irritant that causes the cosmos to be creative in order to heal the wound and restore, however provisionally, Oneness (like a grain of sand in an oyster causes it to create a pearl). Creativity is an expression of the spirit of yearning of the cosmos to recollect its Oneness. Music, according to Low, is a very clear instance of this process. This is why music can so fundamentally move us and is so commonly associated with personal and collective engagements with sacredness.

So, when Robert Fripp, or any sincere muscian, is engaged in music creation, they are engaged in some form of healing process of exploring, exposing, playing with, accepting or reconciling the wound of this Oneness that is twoness. When, in the midst of this, someone is nonconsensually recording or photographing they are comitting violence against the spirit of the creative act. They are, in fact, saying "There is no oneness here (or anywhere), there is just twoness: my will against everyone else's wills". They are giving the yearning for oneness a kick in the guts.

Anyway, if any of this is of interest to you, you might wish to consider having a read of Albert Low's book.

The "seriousness" of this posting's tone demonstrates why ET & Krimson News are not good forums to discuss matters of value & subtlety.

Essentially, the above is a very good prĂˆcis of views with which I resonate. But I can't possibly express views like this to readers of either forum: the question would inevitably come up: how does Fripp have "deep intuitions"? This is a version of I don't have this experience so neither can he. Or, put another way, who does he think he is?

En passant, one of my correspondents is working on co-editing a publication with Albert Low.

Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 08:17:21 -0000
From: "michael BURGESS" < >
Subject: who cares?
Who cares who is in Crimson now? I will never get to see them live again, myself obviously being a disgruntled European. Don't forget Mr Fripp, that we fans invest time, money and dedication in following music combo's like yours, and many of us without any expectations other than listening to your music. I'm not interested in autographs or feeling that you owe it to me to converse with me. Well I think your future plans will come to fruition re Crimson. Cut off a proportion of your audience, and you will become smaller more mobile, but intelligent? Mmmmmm

It is highly unlikely that anyone, fan or otherwise, has invested more time, money & dedication in/to King Crimson than I have. If this were all there is, it would be sufficient to give me the priority when making personal choices in respect of Crimson's future. But that's not all there is. Loyal Crimson audients share the burden with the band, and suffer accordingly.

Clearly, the size of audiences is not a prime determinant & major factor in Crimson planning.

Nor is it an act of intelligence for a working player to undermine their personal health, traveling long distances to inappropriate venues, to play in front of audiences many of whom act as if musical performance were a sporting event, suffer intrusion & bad manners on a daily basis, for a fraction of what they would earn elsewhere as a soloist.

If personal happiness and well-being were my prime concern, then Crimson would have ceased to exist on more occasions, for longer periods, than evidenced by the historic record.

For many years I felt that rock performance was a powerful vehicle for Grace to enter our sorry world, and that this vehicle was the best available to me if I wishes to participate in this action (however we might understand that). This is no longer my position.

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 21:05:04 -0000
From: "jim mcmanus" < >
Subject: Fripp Touring in Europe
Now that Mr Fripp has decided that Europe now follows the UK in not being worthy of the King Crimson live experience, Will he now instruct all record retailers in Europe to return all cds, dvds to DGM as obviously we are not worthy of such items.

Well Mr Fripp thanks for all the years of pleasure since I was 14, I am now 42, I will remember with pleasure seeing Frippertronics at the first Womad festival, and also the original League of Gentlemen above the Playhouse in Edinburgh, Alas all things come to an end and this is it.

I hope you find the perfect environment you are looking for playing music, but it wont include me as I am European, Oh well.

Happy to be Happy with what I wont have to be Happy with.

So who loses the most? Audiences have many superb players vying for their attention & hard-earned pay; public performance has always been the main focus of my musical life.

Nor am I looking for a perfect performance environment, merely one where an audience is prepared to put photography & recording to one side and (hopefully) to engage with goodwill. Long experience suggests this is unlikely almost everywhere, but more unlikely in Europe than the US, and more unlikely in the US than Japan.

We are not worthy has no place in this. The question for me is: am I prepared to have my life as a working player constantly & reliably undermined? If my interest were purely professional, the answer would be if you give me enough money. If my interest is primarily musical, the answer can only be no.

18.05 David is on his way home.

23.30 Turning in.