Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Sunday 07 February 1999

Joe the Prolific moves the

09.59 Joe the Prolific moves the day forward, Volume Two of Castells is my choice of reading, the sun shines, a cafetiere of coffee is waiting. Three partidges have appeared on the grass outside the window. Toyah is on live tv at this moment (being videoed). A mass of various emerging currents scud about my cerebellum.

12.56 We have received a good, and generous, letter from a gentleman who runs a company "dedicated to making transformation through learning fun and meaningful". He has the "ambition ... to create transformational music". Both of these objectives have my support. Our correspondent continues: "My main area of need is to understand more about production. I have gone so far on my own, but that isn't the point, is it? To really transform the world about us we need to work together, and I need your help, expertise and friendship".

Part of my response: "You are clearly established in your own field, but not the musical world. DGM is only able to help musicians who are already professionally recognised. Our `help & expertise' is already strectched far thinner than is healthy".

There are several arising issues in this. A key issue continues to arise in our voluminous enquiries from aspirant artists: we cannot do the artist's work.

1. We are not an advisory service on how to become established in the music industry, nor how to develop a career in the music industry;
2. We cannot instruct in production & studio techniques;
3. We cannot substitute for years of musical study, application & practice, refined in the laboratory of public performance.

If a genuine aspirant wishes "to understand more about production", isn't it more reasonable for them to seek instruction / direction from a training facility which is an equivalent to the company which our correspondent runs? Once competence is acquired in the medium, and not before, the Muse may speak through the musician; or the musician may speak on behalf of the their Muse. (The exception to this is in play - spontaneous "fun" without any intention to "create" anything. But in the topic under consideration we are addressing "intentional play": the "intentional play" of trained & competent executants intending to generate specific repercussions).

A record company releases records on behalf of its artists and itself, and sometimes its listening community. Our direct "help & expertise" is currently over-extended towards our artists. Our indirect "help & expertise" is available to those with open eyes and alert ears. One of the first rules of creative application is this: be in the medium. "Transformative music" is not our correspondent's medium, but his aspiration. I'm not sure I could or would claim "transformative music" as my medium, but I have a practical interest in the power of music to radically transform our world. This happens primarily through radically transforming its players and audience: through refining our perceptions, expectations and acuities. The action doesn't work like taking an aspirin, smoking dope, or having a lobotomy: our active participation is necessary.

DGM isn't the place to address our correspondent's concerns, but Guitar Craft might be.