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Robert Fripp & Brian Eno - Beyond Even (1992-2006)

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Artist: Robert Fripp & Brian Eno

Album: Beyond Even (1992-2006)

Label: DGM

Review date: Nov. 23, 2007

Robert Fripp and Brian Eno convened their first meetings in the 1970s and have managed to create music together throughout the decades since. Beyon Even gathers sketches and experiments from the last 15 years or so and combines them into a surprisingly coherent listening experience.

Long-time followers of Fripp and Eno will notice artifacts typical of each artist’s work from the represented eras: the looped space- jazz dub of Eno’s Nerve Net and The Drop; the fuzzed-out ostinatos of solo guitar Frippertronics; bass and drum with swirling improv redolent of Fripp’s various King Crimson spin-off ProjeKcts. Eno works his usual magic with effects and textures: filters, delays, metallically resonant and constantly morphing synth tones.

Since, however, the sort of treatments that Eno once pioneered have become an expected and even everyday part of pop and rock production now, it might well be the form and architecture of these pieces that remains more radical to current perceptions. Eno is an avowed dabbler in the art of making perfume, and floating, drifting constructions like “Dirt Loop” and “Voices” are unique in the way they seem to occupy an ambiguity between physicality and memory similar to that of scent.

Fripp’s contributions are no less crucial, of course. In addition to the wide-interval, distorted-tone rhapsodies and fearsome shreds that are his trademark, he also offers some gentle ruminations. The crystalline and spacious arpeggios of “Timean Sparkles” are utterly poetic in their mysterious and pure expression.

The pieces, disparate in mood and texture as they might be, are sequenced artfully. (The limited edition version of the release includes a second disc featuring the 13 tracks segued seamlessly, and this might well be the best way to experience these works.) In its variously tinted and constant flow of juxtapositions, the overall effect of Beyond Even is satisfyingly similar to that of Eno’s classic Music For Films releases.

By Kevin Macneil Brown

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