Andy Summers and Robert Fripp. It is the pair's first of two album collaborations (Bewitched would follow in 1984), and it consists of 13 instrumental tracks. According to Summers, the album was "a synthesis of two guys who grew up playing guitar, heard the Beatles, listened to jazz, have been influenced by Oriental music and Steve Reich, but still happen to be playing in a rock context. Every track started the same way, just two guitars. On some of them I played a little bass or put on a bit of percussion or string synthesizer. There are no drums but you don't miss them. Some of it is very accessible and some is very avant-garde". The title track was released as a single with Hardy Country on the flip side.
Many a guitar fan would have predicted that a summit between legendary guitarists Andy Summers (the Police) and Robert Fripp (King Crimson) would result in a guitar solofest. But the music on their first collaboration together, I Advance Masked, stresses guitar textures and moods over indulgent soloing. Although the recording sessions weren't entirely enjoyable for Summers
(who was experiencing marital problems at the time), some very
beautiful music can be found on the resulting album. The music for the
track "Girl on a Swing" does an excellent job of conveying the song's
title in one's mind, and the duo's guitars weave wonderful polyrhythmic
guitar lines throughout "China -- Yellow Leader." "The Truth of Skies"
is an atmospheric piece, created by a wash of keyboard sounds and guitar
dissonance, while "New Marimba" would have sounded right at home on an
early-'80s King Crimson album. I Advance Masked
has a dreamlike quality to it, and is definitely not typical rock
music. It's highly recommended to fans of these two great and original
The Police guitarist, one of the great six-string stylists in rock, met
up with another in his first extra-Police outing, this 1982 A&M
album. The King Crimson legend and Andy effortlessly shift from
challenging polyrhythms to shimmering tapestries as they perform Girl on
a Swing; Painting and Dance; The Truth of Skies , and more!
Often overlooked, and most likely underrated, I Advance Masked is a true
synergy of guitar duets. Far superior to its follow-up Bewitched,
which was a bit overproduced and relied more on guitar synths--not that
that's a bad thing, but in this context, the approach used on I Advance
Masked was more effective. This recording shows Summers and Fripp truly
inspired, brimming with ideas, and remarkably synchronized mentally as
well as musically. My preferred track from this set is "Hardy Country,"
which I never tire of hearing.
I have had three experiences in my life where I felt that I had
"discovered" music. The first was hearing J. S. Bach as a small child.
The second was Steve Reich's "6 Marimbas" and "18 Musicians". The
third was Andy Summers/Robert Fripp's "I Advance Masked". Yep, it's
that good. The two aspects most noticeable in this guitar tour de force
are 1)the synergistic contrapuntal dynamic that is the true
conversation between these highly philosophical musicians, and 2)
Fripp's unmatched capacity for playing "any note, as long as it is the
right one". His leads on "In the Cloud Forest" and "Girl On a Swing"
are nothing short of brilliant. Summers' splashes of color go a long
way here, as they always do. Not only should any fan of Fripp own this
album, but also any guitar lover who wishes to expand his horizons a
bit. This is an album that, rather than typify the current paradigm,
defines the next.
As you'd expect from the guitarists from King Crimson and The Police, "I
Advance Masked" sounds like a collison of instrumentals that both bands
recorded (particularly the 80's version of King Crimson with Adrian
Belew, Tony Levin and Bill Brufford aiding and abetting Fripp). Released
in 1982, there are elements of Fripp and Summer's approach with their
popular bands sprinkled throughout the music.
structured style of playing that Summers used in The Police provides a
perfect backdrop for Fripp's rapid fire deliver. The result is an album
heavy on atmospheric guitar textures. There's plenty of melodic material
as well such as the beautiful and evocative "Girl on a Swing" and
"Lakeland". The slightly off center, askew funhouse melodies take this
far out of Windham Hill territory.
Fans who enjoyed some of
Summer's instrumental pieces (and b-sides for singles)that he recorded
with The Police as well as on his own solo albums and Fripp's textured
playing on tracks such as "Matte Kundasi", "The Sheltering Sky" from
King Crimson's "Discipline" will enjoy this album. Keep in mind that
there are no vocals and the principle instruments are guitars (although
Summers and Fripp also play bass, various sythesizers and various
percussion instruments to fill out the sound on the album)and you'll
enjoy this unusual album. The duo would collaborated on a follow up
album "Bewitched" which is equally as fascinating and melodic although I
personally think that album sounds a bit more like Summers and less
like Fripp in terms of the compositions.
1. I Advance Masked (5:12)
2. Under Bridges of Silence (1:42)
3. China - Yellow Leader (7:09)
4. In The Cloud Forest (2:30)
5. New Marimba (3:38)
6. Girl On A Swing (2:04)
7. Hardy Country (3:02)
8. The Truth of Skies (2:06)
9. Painting and Dance (3:25)
10. Still Point (3:07)
11. Lakeland / Aquarelle (1:43)
12. Seven On Seven (1:37)
13. Stultified (1:28)
Total Time 38:46
Robert Fripp – electric guitars, Moog and Roland synthesizers, Roland Guitar Synthesizer, Fender bass, percussion
Andy Summers – electric guitars, Moog and Roland synthesizers, Piano, Roland Guitar Synthesizer, Fender bass, percussion