Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fripp & Eno 3: The Essential Fripp And Eno

Through a variety of backroom shenanigans that rankle Robert Fripp to this day, the back catalogs of certain artists on the EG label ended up being distributed by Virgin. So while Fripp curated a couple of box sets dedicated to King Crimson, and Brian Eno oversaw two box sets of his own, an interesting little compilation snuck out of interest to followers of both.
The Essential Fripp And Eno is a highly subjective title for an album that consists of (No Pussyfooting) in its entirety, followed by the first two tracks from Evening Star. While we consider the rest of that album to be just as essential as its older brother, the compilers wanted to be sure there was room to include four previously unreleased collaborations by the dynamic duo. Naturally this would be cause for celebration and interest, until the music kicks in.
“Healthy Colours” was recorded around 1979, when both Fripp and Eno were based in New York City and exploring the potential of funk beats and found atmospheres—very much like the experiments that would appear on My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. The same basic track, just over five and half minutes, appears four times, each with different embellishments, helpfully subtitled with respective Roman numerals. “Healthy Colours I” is the most straightforward, with a watery bass groove and just the slightest Fripp strumming. “Healthy Colours II” brings in grating samples from a 911 call, “III” adds highly abrasive guitar, and “IV” layers soundbites from talk radio. It doesn’t encourage repeated listening, but seeing as it takes up only a third of the total playing time, the rest of the set doesn’t suffer too much. Newcomers would be better off springing for those first two albums on their own.

Robert Fripp/Brian Eno The Essential Fripp And Eno (1994)—3

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