Saturday, January 7, 2017

Robert Fripp & Brian Eno - 1975 [1989] "Evening Star"

Evening Star is an ambient album by British musicians Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. It was recorded from 1974 to 1975 and released in December 1975.

This album's recording and the preceding seven show European tour by the duo marked Fripp's first output after disbanding King Crimson and his last before temporarily retiring from music (at the time thought to be permanently) to study at the International Academy for Continuous Education in Sherborne House. Wiki.

Robert Fripp's second team up with Brian Eno was a less harsh, more varied affair, closer to Eno's then-developing idea of ambient music than what had come before in (No Pussyfooting). The method used, once again, was the endless decaying tape loop system of Frippertronics but refined with pieces such as "Wind on Water" fading up into an already complex bed of layered synths and treated guitar over which Fripp plays long, languid solos. "Evening Star" is meditative and calm with gentle scales rocking to and fro while Fripp solos on top. "Wind on Wind" is Eno solo, an excerpt from the soon to be released Discreet Music album. The nearly 30-minute ending piece, "An Index of Metals," keeps Evening Star from being a purely background listen as the loops this time contain a series of guitar distortions layered to the nth degree, Frippertronics as pure dissonance. As a culmination of Fripp and Eno's experiments, Evening Star shows how far they could go.  All Music.

his is a very difficult cd to find at present, and i was fortunate enough to get it for a reasonable price. I started looking for it after i found out that the beautiful song i'd been listening to on a friend's unlabeled mixed cd was the title track to Evening Star. The opening track (Wind on Water) is a very strangely crafted piece of music. It almost never establishes a "tonic" or resolving note, yet the whole thing sounds like home. The guitar work in it hardly sounds like a guitar, and is mixed very well with the synth in the back. the piece sounds like you're watching something naturally epic happening, like cells going through mitosis.

The title track, which is still my favorite, is probably the most visionary and picture-painting track on the cd. i don't like the word soundscape because it's so cliche and abused. robert fripp really shines on this piece, and makes his guitar expressive of things that most guitar players find great difficulty in bringing to life. the beautiful thing about this song, and really the whole album, is how *subtle* it all is. it never hits you in the face like a rock song, no matter how loud you turn it up. the whole thing plays through like a soundtrack to something wonderful happening under a microscope, or through a telescope. either way, it's very cosmic.

the only thing i'd criticize is the last track, "An Index of Metals." if you're familiar with King Crimson (Fripp's band), you'll know what i mean by this. like a handful of Crimson pieces, it takes a while to get started, with what seems like several minutes of near-silence at the beginning, and then pretty much sits back and enjoys a half hour of disturbing noise and dark ambience. it's a contrast, as the rest of the album is very light and relaxing. It's reminiscent of Crimson's "The Mincer," or "Starless and Bible Black" on the Starless and Bible Black album, so if you can dig it, then it's pretty intense.

Overall, i'd highly recommend the album, and hopefully they'll re-release it soon so everyone can listen to it without paying 40 dollars for the cd. If you're looking for truely "ambient" music (meaning not pumped up dance beats with spacey music in the back, but really atmospheric stuff), then you'll probably be more than satisfied with it. on the other hand, it might not be fully appreciated by someone who expects something much more defined and typical of a newer generation, like house music or techno-ambient stuff like Orbital. By Alex H. Miller

I've always been an agnostic when it comes to remastered versions of classic albums. However, this brilliant album was remastered by Robert Fripp himself, along with Simon Heyworth. As a result, the integrity of the music is maintained while the quality of the recording stands head and shoulders above the remastering attempts of others.

"Wind on Water," which originally sounded more or less like solid chords, is revealed as an intricate network of looped sounds. "Evensong" likewise is exposed as having much greater depth than I ever suspected. As for "Evening Star," a piece of music so beautiful it seems as though it simply dropped out of heaven, it's even richer.

However, it is "An Index of Metals" that stands as a testament to the skill of Fripp and Heyworth. I've listened to this piece hundreds of times, and it never sounded like this. The depth, the clarity, and the dynamics that are present in this remastering are unparalleled in any remastered CD I've ever heard. By The Glass Guitar.

As the name implies, Fripp & Eno is a musical pairing of two highly prolific and influential musicians. Brian Eno has worked with and influenced countless musicians with his innovative production work and solo albums that pushed the boundaries of ambient/experimental music. On the other hand, Robert Fripp is best known as the guitarist of the legendary progressive rock band King Crimson. Together they released two ambient albums in the 1970s, entitled ‘(No Pussyfooting)’ and ‘Evening Star’.

‘Evening Star’ is the album that opened my eyes to the potential beauty and purpose of ambient. The album is filled with bubbling electronics and beautifully sparse guitar melodies that intertwine with one another to make some of the most gorgeous, but subtle music I’ve ever heard. The title track, which is my personal favorite, begins with a guitar loop panned to one side with accompanying electronic keys panned to the other. As the the piece progresses, soaring waves of sound are added into the mix, resulting in an almost overwhelming sense of exquisiteness. The last half of the album is dedicated to a 28 minute sound experiment entitled “An Index Of Metals”. Layers upon layers of guitar and effects are piled upon one another, as the droning sounds slowly enter different stages of distortion. Despite its length, this track is an ultimately rewarding experience and laid the groundwork for many artists in the field of sound experimentation.

‘Evening Star’ should be one of the stepping stones for anyone who is interested in ambient music. The arrangements on the first half of the album are accessible enough for anyone with a love of music to enjoy. The carefully placed layers of sound reveal new details with every listen, which always makes for a rewarding experience. Check out this album for its innovation and pairing of two musical geniuses at the height of their game. by Kyle

Track listing

All tracks written by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp, except "Wind on Wind" by Eno.

1.  "Wind on Water" – 5:30
2.  "Evening Star" – 7:48
3.  "Evensong" – 2:53
4.  "Wind on Wind" – 2:56
5.  "An Index of Metals" – 28:36

Personnel:

Robert Fripp – guitar
Brian Eno – tape loops, synthesizer, piano

 

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