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Travis & Fripp: Thread

That ampersand has been a busy little letter form in Mr. Fripp's career, here linking up with flautist and sax man Theo Travis for some cross wind / string dialogs. Fripp is here principally in his soundscapes mode: a zinc of Eventides pitching and looping soft attacks into shimmering tone clusters that do an often mesmerizing job of blending immaculately with the harmonic make-up of the flute and soprano sax. Travis can't help but remind anyone with limited flute awareness of the Paul Horn Inside recordings, yet again occasionally burbling as if in some Caravan session from 1970 or at better moments striking near the constrained beauty of Jan Gabarek's incredibly expressive improvs over the Medieval plainchant and polyphony sung by The Hilliard Ensemble on Officium and Mnemosyne performances which one might guess Fripp's Churchscapes, as a small mobile unit, aspire to.

Like the titles "as snow falls"; "the silence beneath" the music is mostly sentimental, blurry with smooth radius edges and some diatonic tonal shading that Eventides are so good at and are so damn hard to play with. Both musicians do an excellent job of complementing the other in range and timbre. There are moments of graceful and illusive suspension, hinting at the stillness of drone without ever being still long enough to become one. There's no overstatement, no flurries or drama: the virtuosic impulse is completely intent on understatement and dialog. In its way, the music seems emotionally neutral, perhaps overwhelmed by the aforementioned sentimental quality so typical of the opener, "land beyond the forest". Emphatically, this neutral quality is an asset, allowing the listener glimpses and access to intimations and gestures in favor of being drowned by or hammered into some particular mental state. We hear no plectrum guitar work from Fripp until the very last piece, "pastorale", which lives up to its name and feels much more deliberate in voice and structure, a slow and shifting construct that puts the interplay between the two artists into a more accessible soundstage a lovely close to a collection of pieces that will sit nicely and patiently among the constituent parts of the already luminous and voluminous soundscapes and churchscapes, emitting its own specific aura of purposeful calm.


Track Listing
01) land beyond the forest
02) the apparent chaos of blue
03) as snow falls
04) before then
05) one whirl
06) the silence beneath
07) curious liquids
08) then unspoken
09) pastorale

Added: July 15th 2008
Reviewer: Kerry Leimer
Score:
Related Link: Robert Fripp My Space Page
Hits: 3341
Language: english

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