"Captain Eno" & "Boppin' Bobby"
Brian Eno & Robert Fripp's sound experiments in 1973 are still earth-shattering.
I love to take an early evening walk (and jog when the spirit moves me) and the music that accompanies me greatly influences not only my gait, but how I view things around me. I chose Robert Fripp and Brian Eno's 1973 sessions for the BBC which is a live version of the album No Pussyfooting. I downloaded the music from DGM.
Last evening, I learned two things. First, a great deal of people were concerned with yardwork (something I avoid) and more specifically, the gathering of their leaves. This seasonal act of futility was being practiced on just about every block I walked down. People were armed with all sorts of powerful looking leaf blowers and they looked about as happy as I was when I used to do it. The contrast between what I was hearing and what I was seeing was at times so extreme that I found myself quite amused, but that's another story for another blog.
The second thing I learned is that, despite Fripp and Eno being an extremely strange and contradictory choice for exercise music, their work is as powerful to me today as when I first heard it nearly 40 years ago. The basic premise of these sessions were simple: both Fripp and Eno would create loops, on guitar and synthesizer respectively, and then Fripp would solo, providing a "melody" or a lyrical narrative amidst the dense electronic textures.
The Heavenly Music Corporation began in the usual Frippertronic fashion of layered tones of electric guitar outlining what seems to be an ordinary minor mode, but then the mood (and modes) begins to darken and the atmosphere is foreboding. The live version is much shorter and not nearly as psychotic a listening experience as the album version.
Swastika Girls is a perfect vehicle for everything that I love about Fripp's electric guitar solos: long, sustained serpentine lines which seem to musically contradict themselves or at least fall well outside of the realm of expectation and the feeling that the man seems to be pouring out his very soul. As a friend of mine might say, "He's wailing on that guitar." Indeed he is.
This is not, gentle readers, for those whose musical tastes are conservative.
And maybe not for those who believe that gathering leaves in a pile assures that they will remain so.