Saturday, April 29, 2017

Robert Fripp - 1979 [2006] "Exposure"

Exposure is the debut solo album by guitarist and composer Robert Fripp. Unique among Fripp solo projects for its focus on the pop song format, it grew out of his recent collaborations with David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, and Daryl Hall, and the latter two singers appear on the album. Released in 1979, it peaked at No. 79 on the Billboard Album Chart. Lyrics were mostly provided by Joanna Walton, a poet and girlfriend of Fripp's.

After terminating the first run of King Crimson in 1974, studying at the International Academy for Continuous Education through 1975-1976 and assisting Peter Gabriel in both studio and stage capacities, Fripp decamped in 1977 to the Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood of New York City. New York was then a centre of punk rock and what would come to be known as new wave, and Fripp dived into the scene, playing and recording with Blondie and the Roche sisters, absorbing the sounds of the active downtown music scene. He envisioned a new approach, and incorporated elements of these NYC experiences into his current palette, including "Frippertronics", the technique he had developed with Brian Eno.
Originally, Fripp envisioned Exposure as the third part of a simultaneous trilogy also comprising Daryl Hall's Sacred Songs and Peter Gabriel's second album aka Scratch, both of which Fripp contributed to and produced. Fripp's aim with the trilogy "was to investigate the 'pop song' as a means of expression. I think it's an incredibly good way of putting forward ideas. I think it's a supreme discipline to know that you have three to four minutes to get together all your lost emotions and find words of one syllable or less to put forward all your ideas. It's a discipline of form that I don't think is cheap or shoddy". The album was to be originally titled The Last Great New York Heartthrob and feature a track list configuration different from that of the final release. Hall's management and label resisted the project, fearing the music would damage Hall's commercial appeal, insisting as well that Exposure be equally credited to Hall, initially Fripp's main vocalist. Fripp instead used only two Hall vocals on his album, substituting Peter Hammill and Terre Roche in various places.
The trilogy did not work out quite as intended, although all three albums eventually appeared in the marketplace. The song "Urban Landscape" appears on the Hall album as well, in addition to "NYCNY" (which is "I May Not Have Had Enough of Me but I've Had Enough of You" with different lyrics written by Hall). The Gabriel record also features a version of "Exposure". "Here Comes the Flood" had previously appeared with a prog-rock arrangement on Gabriel's first album, but Gabriel disliked the production, and created a far simpler rendition of the song for Exposure. As dedication, Fripp stated in the liner notes that Exposure "is indebted to all those who took part in the hazardous series of events culminating in this record, and several who do not appear but who helped determine the final shape: Tim Cappella, Alirio Lima, Ian McDonald and John Wetton".
The version of the album that was released, after the changes and compromises that had to be made, was reconceptualized as part of a new trilogy, "The Drive to 1981", marking the beginning of three-year campaigns by Fripp as a professional musician, which would include an album of Frippertronics and one of "Discotronics", to be released between September 1979 and September 1980. Both album concepts were released together as God Save the Queen/Under Heavy Manners, with each concept getting its own followup-The League of Gentlemen for Discotronics and Let the Power Fall for Frippertronics, making for a five-step trilogy. The end of The Drive to 1981 marked the beginning of "the incline to 1984", Fripp's tenure with a reformed King Crimson, originally intended as Discipline.
The album was remixed in 1983, and this second "definitive edition" was released in 1985 featuring some alternate takes. In 2006, a 24-bit two-disc remaster appeared on Fripp's Discipline Global Mobile label. One disc contained the original 1979 album, and the second disc contained a third version of Exposure with bonus tracks. The "definitive edition" version of "Chicago" is not included on the 2006 version, however the bonus track of the song on disc two is mostly identical to the definitive edition version with minor variants.

Conceived as the third part of an MOR trilogy that included Peter Gabriel's second album and Daryl Hall's Sacred Songs, Exposure is concerned with a marketplace that Fripp saw as hostile to experimentation and hungry for product. Strangely, then, Exposure is one of his most varied and successful rock albums, offering a broad selection of styles. "Water Music I and II" is pure Frippertronics; "Disengage" and "I May Not Have Had Enough of Me But I've Had Enough of You" are angular, jagged rock like he would make with the reformed King Crimson; "North Star" is a soulful ballad led by Daryl Hall on vocals, and a less bombastic version of "Here Comes the Flood" with Peter Gabriel singing makes a melancholic ending. Peter Hammill, Terre Roche, and Narada Michael Walden also add vocals to a pleasant experiment in pop, Fripp style.

When King Crimson co-founder/guitarist Robert Fripp disbanded the group in 1974, it seemed as though he'd grown tired of being its de facto leader. But he remained active, performing with artists as diverse as Brian Eno, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates and Blondie. While listeners who'd lost touch with him after King Crimson were undoubtedly shocked, those who continued following him were not at all surprised when his first solo album, Exposure, was released in 1979.
Although contractual issues demanded that Fripp excise three of singer Daryl Hall's five vocal tracks from the original vinyl release, he was able to include them on a remixed 1985 CD version. This new double-disc 24-bit remastered edition finally puts both versions in one package, along with five alternate takes.
Fripp was one of only a handful of artists to emerge unscathed from the progressive/art rock arena, along with Gabriel and Van der Graaf Generator singer Peter Hammill. With the New Wave movement in full force, Fripp's musical background seemed too studied to fit in with the raw and unschooled approach of a New York scene centered around the infamous CBGB's club. But with Exposure he managed to combine complex ideas with an aggressive punk sensibility.
Exposure is prescient in many ways. The powerful, metrically challenged instrumental "Breathless"—featuring bassist Tony Levin, who would go on to become a member of future Crimson incarnations—provides a clear link between Crimson's Red (Island, 1974) and THRAK (Virgin, 1995). Segueing into the equally complex "Disengage, with Hammill's melodramatic, anguished vocals on the original and alternate takes, the real surprise is on the restored 1985 version, where Daryl Hall sings with unexpected abandon, as he does again on "NY3. The spoken letters of the hypnotically grooving title track predate the same conceit used on "Firepower, from Fripp's collaboration with David Sylvian on The First Day (Virgin, 1993).
"North Star gently sets the precedence for "Matte Kudasai from Crimson's Discipline (EG, 1981) and THRAK's "Walking on Air, while the ballsy blues-based "Chicago, sung by Hammill, Hall and, on the alternate take, Terre Roche, show that the Frippertronics tape looping technique need not be reserved solely for ethereal purposes. Still, on "Water Music I and "Water Music II —bookending Peter Gabriel's solo version of "Here Comes the Flood, which is prescient in its own way by referencing global warming ten years before the term was even coined—Fripp's gentle looping acts as the perfect intro and coda.
"You Burn Me Up I'm a Cigarette is an unexpected piece of pure punk. After the opening "Preface, where Hall's voice is layered in a Ligeti-like interlude, it surely must have shocked Crimson fans to their very foundation. But that's the beauty of Exposure and the main reason why it remains a classic nearly thirty years later. Those who have followed Fripp's career know there's very little off his radar, and Exposure fired a powerful volley into the world showing there was more to Fripp than anyone could possibly have imagined.

Track listing:

Disc 1
1.     "Preface"     Fripp     1:16
2.     "You Burn Me Up I'm a Cigarette"     Hall, Fripp     2:24
3.     "Breathless"     Fripp     4:43
4.     "Disengage II"     Hall, Walton, Fripp     2:44
5.     "North Star"     Hall, Walton, Fripp     3:12
6.     "Chicago"     Hall, Walton, Fripp     2:18
7.     "New York, New York, New York"     Hall, Walton, Fripp     2:18
8.     "Mary"     Hall, Walton, Fripp     2:09
9.     "Exposure"     Gabriel, Fripp     4:26
10.     "Hååden Two"     Fripp     1:57
11.     "Urban Landscape"     Fripp     2:35
12.     "I May Not Have Had Enough of Me but I've Had Enough of You"     Walton, Fripp     3:38
13.     "First Inaugural Address to the I.A.C.E. Sherborne House"     Bennett     0:07
14.     "Water Music I"     Fripp, Bennett     1:19
15.     "Here Comes the Flood"     Gabriel     3:54
16.     "Water Music II"     Fripp     3:55
17.     "Postscript"     Fripp     0:40

Disc 2
1. Preface
2. You Burn Me Up I'm A Cigarette
3. Breathless
4. Disengage II
5. North Star
6. Chicago
7. New York, New York
8. Mary
9. Exposure
10. Haaden Two
11. Urban Landscape
12. I May Not Have Had Enough Of You
13. Frist Inagural Address To The I.A.C.E. Sherborne House
14. Water Music I
15. Here Comes The Flood
16. Water Music II
17. Postscript
18. Bonus Track: Exposure
19. Bonus Track: Mary
20. Bonus Track: Disengage
21. Bonus Track: Chicago
22. Bonus Track: NY3

Personnel:

    Robert Fripp – guitars, Frippertronics, voice
    Daryl Hall – vocals on "Preface", "You Burn Me Up", "North Star", "Disengage II", "Chicago" disc two, "New York" disc two, "Exposure" bonus track, "Mary" bonus track; piano on "You Burn Me Up" and "Chicago"
    Terre Roche – vocals on "Mary", "Exposure", "I've Had Enough of You", "Chicago" bonus track
    Peter Hammill – vocals on "Disengage", "Chicago", "I've Had Enough of You", "Disengage" bonus track, "Chicago" bonus track
    Peter Gabriel – vocals and piano on "Here Comes the Flood"; voice on "Preface"
    Brian Eno – synthesizer on "North Star", "Here Comes the Flood" voice on "Preface", "Postscript"
    Barry Andrews – organ on "Disengage", "NY3", "I've Had Enough of You"
    Sid McGinnis – rhythm guitar on "Exposure"; pedal steel guitar on "North Star"
    Tony Levin – bass
    Jerry Marotta – drums on "You Burn Me Up", "Chicago", "Exposure", "Hååden Two"
    Narada Michael Walden – drums on "Breathless", "NY3", "I've Had Enough of You"
    Phil Collins – drums on "Disengage", "North Star"

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  3. Thanks, Fripp material always a great listen.

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  4. Thank you. Any more early Fripp like "God Save The king" or "League Of Gentleman" would also be very much appreciated.

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  6. great post - thanks!!

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