Monday, May 19, 2008

Robert Fripp: Let the Power Fall & Air Structures

Out-of-print 1981 solo album by avant guitar virtuoso Robert Fripp, introduced to me by Maya M.

For the sake of my own and the reader's sanity, those seeking biographical information on this visionary and multifaceted artist are advised to visit a site called "Elephant Talk". Suffice to say that Fripp, who lives among us even now, is well-known for what is called "Frippertronics", the use of a very particular set-up of tape loops and other such equipment in order to transform the solo performance of an electric guitar into an expansive field of soothing ambient vibrations.

This album has garish 80s cover art. This album is also really good, and is definitely up there with top five chill hard records ever. It is also highly effective for promoting serenity of mind in the workplace or any long period of time spent staring at a small electronic screen.

In other words, it serves as a great sonic remedy to Blaise Pascal's aphorism that "all men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone."

I also had to reflect on what the title meant, and I decided that it maybe refers to the act of musical improvisation. First of all, successful improv means not using power, if by power you mean controlling things and knowing all the time what's going to happen. So the power has to fall or otherwise be deposed. Now the problem with this is, how to depose power without power returning via the deposition. You may think you get out of it, but the getting out of it turns out to be just a really great way to stay in it. Because power isn't just happy being power, it wants to take control of not-power also.

So you want power to fall, but you can't just push it over, you have to find a way to let it fall. But the beauty of this fall, its aesthetic component, isn't when power is lying all gross and smashed on the ground like a dead bird, but, as in Fripp's case, in the gloriously long decline itself, maybe so long that it never ends, which is what this album sounds like, like power falling forever, across infinity.

Let the Power Fall:

And additionally, for those already versed, this unofficial 1975 Live Paris bootleg with Brian Eno is made available. A two-disc set, the tracks, which run the gamut of Fripp's officially released studio output together with Eno, are listed only as S 1-4.

Air Structures:


Anonymous said...

I have been trying to figure out what unmarked Fripp album I was given 20 years ago.....let the power fall, Thank You!

Max said...

Air Structures link says "This is a private file."
Any chance you could re-post? Please?!