Discipline #100 (as text)

13 July 1993

From: wcsanil at ccs dot carleton dot ca (Anil Prasad)
Subject: Levin
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 4:09:26 EDT
Does anyone out there have Tony Levin's compuserve account address?

If you do, please drop me a line asap.


______________Anil_Prasad___wcsanil at ccs dot carleton dot ca_______________
   "If I hear that bossa nova bongo version of 'Layla' again, I
          think I'll scream." -- Pete Townshend 08/07/93

From: phv at equalizer dot cray dot com (Paolo Valladolid)
Subject: Clones?
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 11:05:45 PDT
> Paolo Valladolid wrote:
> PV> >  the only thing Robert seems
> PV> >  to have not passed on is the sense required to build these looped
> PV> >  pieces. Then again, maybe he just wanted to be the only one doing it
> PV> >  onstage.
> PV> >* Finally, my friend and I also had the distinct impression of a Master/
> PV> >  student relationship. The Crafties were like monks, sitting in rapt
> PV> >  attention before their Master, while Trey stood in the center,
> PV> >  anchoring the stage. [...]
> PV> > The presence of four people who can emulate Fripp's style so
> PV> >convincingly disturbs me somewhat, however. I know he will not live
> PV> >forever, so maybe he is training his successors.

Sorry Malcolm, but I didn't write the above! I had a good look at Trey
Gunn's rig and it is almost identical to Fripp's. He too had an Eventide
Harmonizer (capable of up to 95 seconds of delay, with sampling and the
ability to raise/ lower and speed up/slow down loops). Both he and Robert
were using these devices to produce the Frippertronics. The Harmonizer can
also produce backwards guitar sounds, but I digress...

I did make a comment about how everyone acted like they were military
cadets, what with everyone standing at attention and facing the directions
of the compass, so to speak.

> JR> Mr Fripp is training musicians, not successors.

I also agree with the above statement.

> If you have the opportunity to see this piece being performed then I suggest
> you go along. Everyone that has seen "Angel" (ie those who I have spoken to)
> has been thrilled by the experience.
> David Lovell - dlovell at s1 dot elec dot uq dot oz dot au  |

This reminds me of a videotape George Lewis showed us one time of 100
guitarists seated in a giant circle. Each guitarist would play his notes,
then look to his left, signalling the next guitarist, so there would be a
neat wave-like effect. I wonder if any of the people who were involved in
that project were also involved in "Angel".

Speaking of Belew, has anyone heard the CD of Beatles covers put out on the
NYC label? I understand the list of contributors include Belew and Allan
Holdsworth. It's on sale at Tower and I was wondering if I should blow some
money on it...


Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 13:00:49 -0600
From: dalton at isidis dot colorado dot edu (lizard man)
Subject: Fripp and his Clones
Dave Craig (hi dave!) writes:

>> i agree also with the most distinguished gentlemen the honourable john
>> relph that it is a disservice to trey gunn and the california guitar trio
>> to view them as disciples or clones ...  and to fripp as well i think.

These guys could impersonate Fripp *perfectly*. Maybe clone isn't a very
complimentary word to use, but it's hard to find a better fit.

>> what would he be doing in such a relationship?  pointless.  he strikes me
>> as the kind of man who likes to surround himself by people who challenge
>> him, push him around unusual bends.

i dunno, i like to think of Fripp as someone who likes to be challenged,
too, but then again, if that's the case why doesn't he jam with Bruford
anymore.....? Something about Bill being too creative in playing with the
time, wasn't it?

Just my .02 -- YMMV.

--lizard man

Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1993 15:31:01 -0700
From: Malcolm Humes <malcolm at wrs dot com>
Subject: USA, 73-75, and improvising
ASAEL at vms dot huji dot ac dot il@cs.man.ac.uk writes:
> I hope i'm not grave-digging here, but i want to ask for some opinion from
> those of you who can compare between the Crimson live performence ability
> as manifested on the USA official lp on one hand, and on bootlegs from the
> 73-75 epoch of the band on the other.

From memory, USA has one unique improv on it, Asbury Park. Crimson was
widely reputed to have improvised heavily live, and supposedly their
recorded works never captured the power of the band live. The most recent
boxed cd set goes a long way compared to USA in offering a broader view of
the band live than was previously legitimately available. But it also seems
to show that many of the improvs were actually variations on a theme
instead of total free improvising. From my perspective, having heard a lot
of live tapes it seems to me that the peak of live improvisation for
Crimson with the brief period with Jamie Muir on percussion. By most
accounts Muir was a wildman on stage, and it seems that his free improvs
were a heavy force in directing the band into unknown territory. While most
of the post-Muir shows tend to have some improvisation per show there are
some lousy recordings with Muir that seem to be almost total
improvisation. And many of the themes explored in those improvisations were
later revisited and even refined into material that got released long after
Muir was gone. It's hard to see how a percussionist improvising could set
the other musicians off so far, but it appears that the group was much more
loose and free with Muir than without.  The period with Muir was mostly
pre-73, BTW, but at the root of the 73-75 era band. He toured with them
briefly before (and after?) Lark's Tongue In Aspic was recorded.

Fripp's more recent works and his exploration of discipline and the guitar
craft teachings seem to be almost the antithesis of improvisation, at least
from what I gather.

Perhaps Toby or John or someone else who has taken guitar seminars with
Fripp could comment on the role of improvisation (if there is any) in the
guitar craft teachings?

[[ No, I can't add anything here; sorry! -- Toby ]]

> Recently i got hold of USA, and i think it's great. It's just that i
> haven't got a scale by which to judge it. Anyway, i can't understand why RF
> has taken grounds against it, as far as refusing to re-issue it on CD,
> along with _Earthbound_ (which i'm yet to hear, but regarding the line-up
> seems more reasonable).

I think Fripp's concerns about USA were with regard to performance
quality.  It was right around the time the group decided to fire Davaid
Cross, I think because of concerns about the quality of his
performances. Fripp hired Eddie Jobson to "clean up" or overdub some part
to correct or supplement Cross' playing.

Earthbound was recorded on an early Ampex cassette recorder. Certainly very
lo-fidelity. Plus I think the band was on the verge of collapse at that
time, so it's likely that Fripp wasn't very happy with the performance

Note that Fripp has taken a lot of live recordings and released them, but
only after doings studio edits, overdubs, adding vocals in the studio,
etc.  Even with the recent box sets Fripp has weilded the razors liberally,
probably cutting out the parts he wasn't happy with, and using EQ to
enhance and/or hide stuff whenever possible.

Seems to me that Fripp was never into live recordings - his essay on
bootlegs seems to suggest that Fripp feels a concert is more valuable in
the sharing of the unique moment(s) than any tape could capture, and he's
commented that trying to re-live the concert experience is like trying to
get your virginity back. Until the recent live releases Fripp seemed
reluctant to release live recordings, and my suspicion was that the two
live lps were only released to satisfy record company demands. Fripp's
recent tendancy to live releases appears to have been inspired (provoked?)
by Fripp's awareness of a large number of bootlegs of his work. I look at
the live releases as Fripp's reacting to the bootleggers and to Zappa's
"Beat The Boots" series. Also consider that Fripp has a considerable back
catalog of unreleased recordings and there is a proven (via bootleg sales)
collector's market for them. His cost in releasing old live tapes is
probably considerably less than his cost to compose, record and release new
music, so it gives him a potential of revenue with minimal investment.

  - Malcolm

Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1993 14:43:20 -0700
From: Malcolm Humes <malcolm at wrs dot com>
Subject: more thoughts on Fripp and live recordings
Further thoughts on Fripp and live recordings:

There's an interesting story about Fripp, live recordings, and a razor
blade, revolving around a studio concert he did at Sigma Sound in
Philadelphia, for WMMR FM.

As I recall hearing Fripp discuss it in an interview on WXPN, Philadelphia,
done a few years later during the League of Gentlemen tour:

WMMR was doing a series of concerts done in a local recording studio to a
private audience by invitation only. Tickets were given away on air. Fripp
was booked for a performance during his grass-roots frippertronics tour he
was doing to support his first solo lp, Exposure. I think this was in

I think the station ran promos for the concert playing King Crimson's music
in the background. Also this station or another one mentioned on-air an
announced appearance Fripp was doing at a local record store. Because the
secret store appearance was announced on-air there was an overflow crowd
that couldn't even get into the event. Maybe it's not relevant to the Sigma
Sound concert directly, but to me it suggests that Fripp may have been a
bit unhappy with local radio because of them nearly ruining what was
intended as an intimate in store appearance for a word-of-mouth audience.

Fripp did the studio "concert" for WMMR, but after the event he expressed
concerns: he didn't feel that the performance should be aired just because
the station said they would air the concert. He felt that the event had
been misadvertised by the KC references in the radio blurbs, and he thought
that it was rather odd that a commercial rock station that would never air
Frippertronics from an lp would suddenly want to air a 1 hour show of
nothing but Frippertronics, just becasue it was *ROBERT FRIPP FROM KING
CRIMSON*. Fripp decided he didn't want the performance to be aired, and he
tried to take the master tape of the recording with him. The studio/station
folks objected and claimed they owned the tape and he couldn't take it.

Fripp came up with a quick and simple solution. He took a razor blade and
sliced the tape through the reel, rendering the recording unplayable and
the performance as nothing more than a memory.

The above is my recollection of the interview where I heard Fripp discuss
this. My synopsis of Fripp's concerns may not be extremely accurate, but I
think I got the main details correct here. To further explore Fripp's
feeling about live recordings one can look to his article on bootlegging
(which should be archived in the 2nd or 3rd digest of Discipline) to see
his feelings on live music being an experience of the moment that he seems
to feel is somehow cheapened by reliving it in live recordings:

(from Bootlegging, Royalties and the Moment, by Robert Fripp. Musician, 1979?)

                      ..."Experiencing a piece of music repeatedly in an
active state has its own qualities and merits. On tape, music is music:
good, bad, lively, lethargic, spirited or whatever. In live performance,
the music is still music there is another element: the music mediates a
relationship between the player and the listener. This relationship is
fragile and easily spoilt. To try to pin it down desrupts it, much like
writing down one's thoughts during a meditation significantly disrupts the
very process of meditation. For some players, this presents no
difficulties, as with cameras, but it does for me. After all the years and
miles I've covered with music, I've fully realized the significance of of
the relationship between player and listener; what in music could be more
primary, more valuable? To experience a piece of music once and only once
is to experience that relationship in its most crystalline form. It cannot
be repeated: how many times can one lose one's virginity?"

I think this helps explain why Fripp doesn't like USA and Earthbound and
why he's never released any other live King Crimson until very recently,
and only then in apparent reaction to bootleggers pushing live recordings
of his music. But this doesn't explain to me why Fripp seems so inclined to
edit and overdub the live recordings which he has released. I guess in
doing so he changes the context so he isn't just "reliving" the experience
but instead is experiencing something different or more refined?

  - Malcolm

From: patrick5 at aol dot com
Subject: Tony Levin on "Plus from Us"
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 93 01:14:01 EDT
I got a chance to listen to the CD completely tonight and my favorite piece
off the whole album was the Lone Bear by Tony Levin. I did however find it
be very musical and would love for him to do more writing in the
future. Some of the ryhthyms fels to me like they would be hard to
accomplish perfectly which probably accounts for the slight problems with
timing but it is held together very well.  It does feel like it was
something he was having fun with and didn't really care too much if it was

If anyone gets to talk with Tony Levin, tell him to write more music!


Date: Mon,  5 Jul 93 08:42:31 MET
From: E dot Roos at buro dot kun dot nl
Subject: Sylvian/Fripp US release date
Hi all!

The album by Sylvian and Fripp will be released (in the USA) on August
10. I read this in the new-releases list. You can subscribe to this list,
which is distributed once a week. E-mail address:
new-releases-request at cs dot uwp dot edu


From: naud at ccrs dot emr dot ca (Francois Naud)
Subject: enneagram?
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 93 20:21:36 EDT
Anyone heard about enneagram out there?

Francois Naud
naud at ccrs dot emr dot ca

Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1993 00:47:48 +0800
From: John West <john at ucc dot gu dot uwa dot edu dot au>
Subject: MAILING LIST: David Sylvian
To send mail to the list, the address you want to use is
sylvian at ucc dot gu dot uwa dot edu dot au

If you have any problems or queries, my address is john at ucc dot gu dot uwa dot edu dot au

So start posting

John West

From: naud at ccrs dot emr dot ca (Francois Naud)
Subject: INTERVIEW: David Cross (1974)
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 93 14:21:46 EDT
Circus-Raves September 1974 article by Sheila Spaier 


It was only in 1974 that the general public was made able to accept the
fact that there was a new era of witchcraft and occult dawning on earth.
Yet in the haunts of rock and roll weird practices have been going on for
some time now. Black Sabbath comes to mind most immediately-possessions of
dark visions and spiritual power. The Stooges, too, took on untempered
physical force, while the Stones' Mick Jagger danced with the Devil. Even
Uriah Heep blasted away with some demons and magicians, and the strange
symbolism on LP covers from Led Zep to ELP are becoming as common as stop

Since astrology is a major topic of groupies, and things seem to happen
magically in the world of rock and roll, it's a wonder that so few rock
bands have dealt with the forces of darkness and occult with great

There's one group, though, that consistently, through personnel changes and
moods, has continued to tap the sonic cosmos. "King Crimson was perhaps the
first of the 'up-tight British pop bands'," the Crimson King Robert Fripp
once jested to a Circus Magazine correspondent. But the music King Crimson
produces is one of the most distilled potions of magic-in-sound available
to listeners sitting on the edge of the Occult Era. Their latest LP,
Starless and Bible Black (on Atlantic Records) is a revealing glimpse into
Crimson's alchemical laboratory.

Crimson has always been a band that delved into mystery. From the first LP,
King Crimson, on, they peered into the void beyond what is readily
visible. And Crimson is a band that's at home with coincidence. Lead
guitarist and only original Crimsonite, Robert Fripp, has admitted that he
is no more than "a coincidence in the band's development."

The right signs: After the band's last line-up, including singer Boz, Mel
Collins, Andy McCulloch, Ian MacDonald, dematerialized, the next
incarnation took form rapidly, as if by coincidence. Bassman and vocalist
John Wetton actually forged the link with Crimson when the gas cap of his
car fell off not far from Fripp's Dorset cottage. Realizing he was in the
guitarist's neighbourhood, Wetton dropped by, and soon a pact was drawn
up.  The rest of the group fell into place almost as easily.

With the release of their fist LP under the new line-up, Larks' Tongues In
Aspic, the new group (including David Cross, Bill Bruford and John Wetton)
felt that the coincidence of their forming was powerful and accurate. "The
fist King Crimson was a magic band," announced" Fripp, "but the new King
Crimson is even more magical."

Crimson toured the States three times after the release of Larks' Tongues,
and all of Europe. They polished their finished songs on stage and always
tried out the new unexpected and coincidental. A result of these
experiments and magic experiences, both live and in the studio, was put
together in a LP and released under the name of a long improvizational
track called "Starless and Bible Black."

Incantation: That title, according to Crimson's innovative young violinist,
David Cross, was just the beginning of the magic which "Starless is still
generating. "The title is a phrase from Dylan Thomas, from 'Under
Milkwood'," David explained as he paced lithely around his New York hotel
suite. "But we have two songs called 'Starless and Bible Black.' The one on
the album is a long instrumental which came together very quickly. But the
idea for a song was still very much alive in our lyricist, Richard
Palmer-James's head. So he came up with something quite exciting, which is
a different 'Starless' with lyrics."

"It just happened." David continued, turning off the TV which had been
stationed on an old British movie. "It had to happen, even though you can't
really want it to happen, because you don't want confusion. But it just
forces itself to happen. It's obviously a widespread concept
somehow-'Starless and Bible Black." It sparked a lot in all of us. It's a
key to something wild and exciting. We're glad we used it."

The thought of the title song, with its intricate flowing, almost art
nouveau passages, set his mind to work. He began to describe the album's
evolution with the precision and clarity of a biologist discussing the
growth of an amazing organism.

"Our music evolves slowly. It takes a long time to get it played properly.
The first stage we're aware of, I suppose, is presentation, where an idea
comes out and is heard by the people. Somebody says, 'I have an idea, and
it goes like this.' Robert did that with the piece called 'Fracture". He
said 'I have this idea...' and proceeded to play this incredible,
complicated guitar solo. The rest of us sort of stopped and clapped. 'Oh
very good!" David laughed.

"Eventually it turned into a piece. But it was difficult. When I went on
stage the first time we played 'Fracture' I still had no idea what I was
going to play. I had five alternatives for each section. It took me a month
of playing every night, of walking on stage and not knowing what the hell I
was going to play, and just going from there. Astounding. I think we've
recorded it. And it's gone another step forward since we've brought it on
the road again."

Instant bass riffs: Other numbers grew out of improvisation. "John often
takes his bass lines and start playing something. He finds the stage a very
creative environment-we all do-But when he's out there he actually produces
amazing bass lines," David shook his head.

"We're lucky we've got somebody with an incredible musical memory. That's
Bill. He'll tell John afterward, "Remember at that point where you started
playing that line-ba-babababa-ba?' And he gradually gets out of John what
he did play."

But often, after the original outpourings, a song died a quick death. "We
store it away and forget it then. We get carried away with whatever else is
going on. Later it will come to us again and someone else will have a new
idea about it. Or we'll change the tempo a bit. We've gotten used to the
fact that things can disappear, because they'll always come back in a
different form."

"The Great Deceiver," a hurtling surreal song along the lines of a Crimson
classic like "Twenty-first Century Schizoid Man," was a tune that went
underground and then resurfaced. "Originally it was one of John's bass
riffs," David explained. "Then Robert had a tune of an entirely different
nature. The song was a very slow tempoed, joyful thing to begin with. Then
it gathered a kind of rushing paranoia. It's simply taking two different
ideas and finding that in conjunction, they work an entirely new way."

Band from four corners: "I think that's what our band's about," David
smiled. "Because there's no kind of dictatorial system. So I never present
my idea and know it'll be played totally the way I want it. Everything
continually changes. Bill and I are conscious of this. We talk about it-how
we ended up in the same band from such completely different avenues.  It's
fascinating to discover how differently we listen to music."

There are four very different kinds of people in King Crimson. And they
don't spend that much time talking together about their music. "We don't
talk well as a group," David admitted. "We tend to confuse each other. We
have to do it through music. It's the difference between talking about life
and living it. The outcome is more organic. We never know what is going to
happen when we go on stage. When we do, it'll be time to pack it all up."

Crimson expects the unexpected all the time. "It feels that way when you're
playing," David smiled and ran his hands through his wavy blonde hair. "As
if you're waiting to grab the sound right out of the air. The track called
'Trio' is one of those occasions. It was all improvized. When we played
that, it was completely magical."

That magic moment: "Trio" was recorded at a gig in Amsterdam, the last date
of their European tour, when Crimson had to wait through three front bands
before hitting the stage. When they finally stepped before the spot-lights
it was two AM and they rushed and bolted through their set. "Then suddenly,
it was as if time had stopped," David recalled, his voice lowering
dramatically. "We played with such energy trying to keep awake, that, when
we got to that point, we had no idea what to do next."

"Everything just stood still and we started to play that tune. It was one
of the few moments of complete peace we've ever achieved as a band. I would
wait a year for another moment like that. It was worth it-especially for
the audience-the whole audience was into it. There was an incredible
responsibility to play the right note. It was beautiful because you knew
you were up to it, and everybody else was too. If someone in the audience
had stood up and yelled 'Boogy' it would have blown it. But they didn't you
know." David sat silently while a moment of seriousness ran through the
room. Then he laughed.

King Crimson doesn't feed on the energy of harmonious vibes. There have
been moment of vigorous disagreement. For David his main gripe is with his
mellotron. "I hate mellotrons," the Crimson from Plymouth declared. "It was
innovative for a time, but there was such a rash of bands using mellotrons
ceaselessly. The mellotron is good in its place-but it's an awful
instrument. It's terrible to tune," he complained. "The thing I like doing
best to mellotrons, apart from throwing them in the rivers, is winding them
up and down, having them snarl and make weird noises. I can't really treat
them with any respect. The mellotron on 'Night Watch' is great on the
album, but try to do that on stage. I really have to pretend a lot on that
one-pretend there's a string section somewhere, I feel like I want to sit
on top of a desk and wave my arms like a conductor."

"Night Watch" is a lyrical story-painting. It's about Rembrandt, the famous
Dutch painter's depiction of the bourgeoisie. "Maybe the mellotron's right
for that song," David admitted, "But I wish somebody else was playing it.
You see, Robert has a kind of love-hate relationship with his mellotron,
but mine's not in my bloodstream, I'd willingly part with mine except
there's nothing to replace them with yet. I still say hello to my
mellotron, though," he confessed with a smile. "And kiss it good night when
I go to bed."

"The Mincer" is another song with a disagreement behind it. Paced like a
sinister synthesizer stalking the sound track to a monster movie of the
future, "The Mincer" is a link between side one and two of the LP. "I love
the beginning of it," David offered. "It comes out of 'Trio.' The violin
goes up like this." He raised his arm diagonally. "While the mellotron goes
up like that." His arms arched in a parallel design.

The song's ending is especially unique. It seems to dribble off the vinyl,
as if the music pushed the groove as close to the center label as possible
and then crashed out. "That ending," David remembered fondly. "We had such
arguments about that. Bill didn't like it at all. It really upset him. He
wanted it to stop properly. Or fade out, or anything but that. John wasn't
too keen on it either. But Robert and I really loved it as an ending. It's
actually the tape running out. It's terrific."

The force field in the room increased. David spoke dramatically about the
psychic effects of being on the road. He talked about numerology and the
destiny he had charted for himself via the coincidental number of letters
in his name. He revealed designs created by scratching out entries he had
made in his journal. He talked about the future.

"About the band? We never know until the right time. 'Starless' leapt out
at the last minute. That's what I mean about 'Starless,' it seems to have
given birth to a whole creative force. Just key words. We're all feeling
the effects of it. And it's happening all around us too. Wherever we're
about, there's this new lease of energy. It's very relaxed, not neurotic.
It's a magical focus of creative energy that's going on."


From: wcsanil at ccs dot carleton dot ca (Anil Prasad)
Subject: Bruford/Earthworks Chatter
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 93 4:02:10 EDT
Some noteworthy news (pseudo Crimson related):

- Earthworks is broke and label-less. Stomping Ground is delayed
indefinitely as the group finds someone to release it... I still can't get
over this. Earthworks is on temporary hiatus, but still together. Django
Bates and Iain Ballamy are currently doing solo gigs (and if you *EVER* get
a chance to see Bates' "Human Chain" or Ballamy's "Balloon Man", MAKE SURE
YOU SEE THEM... to use the words of a friend in Montreal, these bands make
Earthworks look like a "bunch of farting grannies".) Earthworks is still
fighting for royalties on the sales of *20,000* CDs that went missing
BEFORE the big JEM/Passport bankruptcy. That's nearly half of worldwide
sales of the disc and about 1/6 of Earthworks total disc sales. Pretty
fucking massive. I'm beginning to *DESPISE* the music business more with
every passing day.

- Django Bates' first solo album comes out this September on
JMT/Polygram. Some good news at least!

- Bruford's next project is an album (and tour?) with ALLAN HOLDSWORTH. The
general consensus is this is more of a career move/ fund raising project
more than anything else. With both musicians practically destitute... well,
you get the point. It is good news though, however, I wish it's impetus
didn't lie in financial necessity.

- Fripp and Bruford don't get along. Did you know that? :-)

______________Anil_Prasad___wcsanil at ccs dot carleton dot ca_______________
   "If I hear that bossa nova bongo version of 'Layla' again, I
          think I'll scream." -- Pete Townshend 08/06/93

From: wcsanil at ccs dot carleton dot ca (Anil Prasad)
Subject: Kinda, sort-of, pseudo, crimson type news
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 93 1:28:01 EDT
This may not be official Crimson news, but here goes...

THE PSYCHODOTS, the remaining 3/4 of The Bears have just released a
new CD called "On The Grid". The deal with Epic records fell through,
so they're still operating on the independent label. It's great fun,
full of the same frolic their first excellent CD had. I highly
recommend it if you like the Bears or the Raisins. I'll post a
review in the near future. BTW, the playing is SUPERB and Adrian gets
a few mentions here and there.

If you want the disc immediately, send a money order or cheque for $15
U.S. to:

Elaine Diehl
Strugglebaby Recording Company
2612 Erie Avenue
Cincinatti, Ohio

If you're outside of the USA, I recommend you add another $3-4 for
shipping. Please tell them I sent you.

______________Anil_Prasad___wcsanil at ccs dot carleton dot ca_______________
   "If I hear that bossa nova bongo version of 'Layla' again, I
          think I'll scream." -- Pete Townshend 08/06/93

Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1993 12:38:33 -0700
From: Malcolm Humes <malcolm at wrs dot com>
Subject: REVIEW: The new Sylvian/Fripp album
The First Day - David Sylvian & Robert Fripp  Virgin  CDVX 2712

Just got a copy today after three days of calling stores to find out if it
was in yet. Got a call from a friend who said it was in stock so we ran
across town - I parked by a fire hydrant with the engine running as Kat ran
in with a $20 bill to grab a copy. She came running back a minute later -
"It's a double cd, $23!" so I forked over some extra cash. She comes back
with something looking frightenly like a big Digipak and I cringe with
anticipation as she rips it open. Ok, it's got a real cd case inside -
maybe one of those double-paks I assume, surprised it would be more than
one disc but hoping for a CD5 of remixes or something to justify the final
cost of $24 US. I would have expected to pay up to $15 US for a single disc
release. What's this? Inside we find a pile of arty postcards, photos of
Fripp, Sylvian and the gang, alone and in group shots. Suitable for mailing
to yor friends, or perhaps indulgently framing? I think I'd better store
these away and hope that this is actually some limited edition special
package that will maybe someday have some absurb resale value. Yeah,
sure... Ok, on closer inspection, there's only one disc, in a regular cd
box, actually a nice one with a clear disc tray so you can see the song
titles and graphix underneath when the disk is out in the player. It
appears to be a UK release, which partly explains the price, though UK
imports are typically cheaper than this.

I presume there will be a domestic US release of this eventually, and
assume that the funky box I got is actually a limited special package. Ok,
it's not that bad, but I do resent paying a lot more for silly art that
might as well be in the cd booklet, and for having to pay more to get it as
an import before the US edition comes out. But the two postcards of Fripp
have rather amusingly painful or perplexing expressions which I find some

It seems likely we'll also soon see a few CD5 singles with bonus tracks
or remixes.

On to the music: There's definitely a string Fripp/Crimson feel behind most
of this, thought the track on now is almost a bit like one of the Eno
tracks with Fripp on Nerve Net with Sylvian singing over it. One track is
all or mostly Frippertronics.

Fripp gets co-composer credit on 6 tracks and total credit on track 7,
Bringing Down the Light, which appears to be instrumental. Words are all by
Sylvian. Various combination of Fripp, Gunn, Sylvian and others share some
credits on the first 6 tracks.

The lineup has some surprising additions to the announced Fripp, Sylvian,
Gunn and Marotta band. David Bottril gets credit for tratments, sampled
percussion and computer programming. Marc Anderson on Percussion, and
Ingrid Chavez on vocals. I'm inclined to assume this could be the same Marc
Anderson on percussion on most of Steve Tibbets works; Anderson was
supposed to have a solo release on ECM or Ryko about a year ago and it
never materialized.  Since this release was recorded in the US it seems
plausible it's the same Marc Anderson.

Is Ingrid the woman who was singing with the League of Crafty Guitarists?

Trey Gunn plays Grand and Tenor Sticks, and does some vocals. I guess this
ups the odds that he could sing a little with the next King Crimson
lineup. Gunn's playing here is surprising to me. I'm impressed that he
seems to have quite a different style here than on his solo tape and in the
recent Quintet concerts. He's much more versatile than I expected.

Davis Sylvian covers vocals, guitar, keyboards and tapes.

Lots of Fripp and Frippertronics, but I wouldn't exactly say it's much like
the 80's King Crimson except at moments. There's lots of nasty chords that
recall memories of Red and Lark's Tongue In Aspic and the basslines seem to
be closer to something like Wetton's steady throb instead of the complex
polyrythms found in the 80's KC sound. This surprises me a bit, as the Trey
Gunn solo tape reminded me much more of 80's KC than this does - this gives
me much of the 72-74 Crimson feel. One of the tracks has somewhat distorted
vocals, reminding me in spirit of 21st Century Schizoid Man. But any
references to the 70's or 80's Crimson are lacking when we get to the
drums. Marotta doesn't sound anything like Bruford.

It seemed to me that the tune I heard Fripp/Sylvian/Gunn do on a Japanese
bootleg had Sylvian really belting out the lyrics more.  He seems to be
closer to his normal style here; a little laid back sounding most of the
time. Having just listened to Roxy Music's first lp before hearing this
leaves me with the obvious comparison between Sylvian and Bryan Ferry's

As far as Sylvian releases go, I like this a lot. It's a bit more abrasive
than the ethereal Sylvian/Fripp and Sylvian/Nelson collaborations on
Sylvian's Gone to Earth lp. It has a more forceful edge to it at times,
though it certainly has its share of droney spacey music on here too.


Sounds a lot like it could be a Gabriel tune from recent years... can't
really think of much else to say.... Lots of Fripp, but seems like the
guitar here is mostly funky jangly stuff, probably Sylvian, with some short
solo runs by Fripp, and maybe a bit more dissonant than you might find on a
Gabriel tune. I like it better than anything on the lastest Gabriel
release.  And it builds up towrds the middle to more of a wall of noise,
then breaks back to more space between the instruments and notes. Fades on
a nice Fripp solo.


Reminds me way too much of another tune by some other artist - to the point
where it bothers me hearing music so similar to a tune I already
know. Can't place it though - the sing I'm thinking of has a vocal line
that goes something like "Maybe I'll see you - same time next year". I'm
thinking maybe it's something from 801 Live or Quiet Sun? Ficticious
Sports?  Towards the end it drifts into some more interesting instrumental
stuff.  After the main vocal segemnt I think it changes direction a bit and
becomes less "clone" sounding to me.

3. FIREPOWER!!!!! 

Kicks in with a sort of syncopated call and response grinding guitar, circa
Lark's Tongue/Red - and a beautiful Fripp solo in the middle.  This is
definitely a standout track. The vocals are somewhat distorted, reminiscent
of 21st Century Schizoid Man. It goes on and on for 10 minutes, with
beatuiful guitars, synth washes, etc, almost sounding like mellotron at
times to me. Sounds like the word Firepower is repeasted letter by letter
in the background at the end, reminiscent of E-X-P-O-S-U-R-E.


wow, just when I thoiught the last track was my favorite this one kicks in
with more incredibly dissonant Fripp, right up there with the heaviest
parts of Exposure, like on Breathless or that one with the "pathetically
dismal chord sequence". The vocals are mixed in well, and Fripp comes in
for more great solos, more grating than the nice smooth solo on the last
track. There's some backwards tape effects near the end, presumably some
satanic backmasking. :^)


Gee, how can each track seem to hit harder and harder? This one starts with
a bang, and more of the heavy dissonant guitars. Can't say I like it quite
as much, something about the vocal delivery and chords in this one don't
click as much with me, but this track is certainly describable as another
of the heavy hitter Crimson-esque tracks. I'm bored 2 minutes into it and
wonder where the next 9 minutes will lead? well, at about 2:40 into it
there's a shift and the repetitiveness of the begining gives way to some
more insteresting instrumental work, perhaps closer to something like
Fracture. A dense mix of background effects including some tapes of a
middle eastern singer, it turns a bit more ambient and ethereal.  Some more
sparse vocals drift in about 5:30... Sounds like it's finally starting to
end around 9:30, but still has at least two more minutes of drifting off
into Frippertronics and synth washes. This 11:50 track covers a lot of


This one starts off ito a dance-beat percussion thing and gets a bit
funky.  Reminds me a bit of some of the work on Nerve Net - Fripp cuts in
with a heavily distorted scratchy quitar here and there, very
sparse. Mostly short bursty chords with a few runs of notes here
andthere. Almost no vocals. Gee, this track is 17 minutes long. In the
groove, the drum beat is relentless, lots of extra percussion. After about
4 minutes some drifting synths fall in. Then a few lyrics come in. Sounds
like Sylvian's doubled the vocal tracks, or maybe this is where Trey comes
in on vocals, backing or doubling Sylvian. An odd mix here - part of the
elements here could be sort of standard mediocre funk, or perhaps a Gabriel
backing track, which is something I got from the first two tracks also. Ok,
I can see soem remix singles comingout of this track, especially since the
full length version will never get airplay on commerical stations without
being edited for brevity.


8 mins plus of gentle frippertronics, with some synth too, I think...

Overall impression - this is one of the best releases I've heard with
Fripp in a long time - Fripp is much more present and involved in the
composition than he was on Eno's Nerve Net, and the dissonance here
fills my lust for more material along the lines of 72-74 Crimson, and
Exposure. Surprisingly I don't hear the references to the 80's Crimson
that I expected from it, which I had expected given the presence of
3 members of the next years King Crimson lineup. But since Gunn and Marotta
will be new members I can see why this doesn't sound like the "new" KC
with Fripp being the only common link. Much hunch is that Fripp may have
had freer reins here in composing the material than he will in the
new King Crimson, assuming that group takes a democratic compositional
approach relying heavily on Belew's lyrics. My top picks are tracks 3 and 4,
with parts of 5 and 2 coming in close. At least so far, after about 2
complete listens and a bit of skipping around in shuffle play.

  - Malcolm

From: Mark Butler (mhb at uk dot ac dot bham dot cs)
Subject: INTERVIEW: Trey Gunn talks to Mark Butler
Thanks to Mark Butler for the following interview with Trey Gunn.

"The Robert Fripp String Quintet" - Sunday 20th June

(Excerpt from Nottingham Guitar Festival Brochure)

"Robert Fripp, ex-King Crimson, inventor of Frippertronics and founder of
Guitar Craft, is universally recognised as a major force in the guitar
world today. Renowned for his innovative playing he is in great demand;
this year alone sees him working with the likes of Brian Eno, The Grid and
The Orb as well as his recent collaborations with David Sylvian. The Robert
Fripp String Quintet is his latest project and features Robert Fripp on
electric guitar, Trey Gunn on Chapman Stick and the Californian Guitar
Trio, Bert Lams, Paul Richards, Hideyo Moriya, playing amplified Ovations.
All these players have a background in Guitar Craft and have all been
members of The League of Crafty Guitarists.

Trey Gunn is from Texas, and recently he has been touring and recording
with David Sylvian and Robert Fripp. Trey has a background as a bass player
and a guitarist before taking up the Stick. The California Guitar Trio
began work after the last tour of The League of Crafty Guitarists. Now
based in LA, the trio travel extensively with their own work, as well as
assisting with the Guitar Craft programme around the world. Their first CD
has recently been released. The Robert Fripp String Quintet began life with
several dates in the USA last year and went on to play Japan where they did
a live concert on TV. They are scheduled to release their debut CD in
September. The music itself reflects the bands' diverse influence with
everything from the rockier sounds of Frippertronics through to the
intricate ensemble playing and hypnotic rhythms of The League of Crafty
Guitarists. It will delight all die hard Fripp fans as well as those coming
to his special brand of music for the first time."

The concert was amazing. Frippertronics (and Guitar Craft) on record is
sometimes described as haunting. To hear Robert, Trey, Bert, Richard and
Hideyo perform live was incredible. I'm stuck for words to describe it - I
found the concert an intense and moving experience. I just hope Toby Howard
(who edits Discipline) who was also there can supply some details of the
concert. Trey was playing a 12 string oak Grand Stick. His playing was
phenomenally clean and controlled, and he manages to get a deep, church
organ like tone from the bass register on his Stick. One piece in the
concert (The Chromatic Fantasy) was solo Stick, he played some very fast
lines using two hands on the melody register of the touchboard. He was also
using an E-bow on some of the Frippertronics pieces.

I was lucky enough to attend the Guitar workshop Robert Fripp organised on
Saturday the 19th of June and explained the Stick list to Trey Gunn. He was
very interested so he kindly consented to do an interview before the sound
check for the concert on the Sunday. This interview is exclusive to the
Stick List and Discipline.

M: So how long have you been involved in music?

T: In music? 26 years.

M: And what other instruments apart from the Stick do you play?

T: Play now - nothing. I started on piano when I was about seven, then I
played violin a little bit when I was about eleven or twelve, then I
switched to acoustic guitar, then to electric bass which I kept up for
maybe eight or ten years, and in the interim also went back to the guitar,
accoustic guitar, and then kind of switched from bass to electric guitar
for about five or six years before picking up the Stick.

M: Out of all those instruments, probably the piano, in terms of it two
handed technique is closest to the stick (Trey starts to interrupt) ...

T: In a way.

M: Do you feel you gained from starting on piano, or do you feel you've
gained more from starting on the guitar?

T: I don't know. The way I see it is I spent about fifteen years getting
ready to play the Stick.

M: If you were advising a Stick player to get a more conventional
background on another instrument what would you advise?

T: The Stick. I think time is too short, that if that's the instrument you
want to play that's the instrument you should play. At the time I first
became interested in the instrument I wasn't able to give it the time and
the dedication that it needed. I even actually drove from Oregon down to
Emmett's house to buy one, and realised when he couldn't sell me one that
it just wasn't the right time. Then several years later I was going to buy
one again and I realised it wasn't the right time. When it finally was the
right time, I put the guitar in the case, put the bass in the case. This is
the instrument I play, if you want me to play this is my instrument.

M: So how long have you been playing Stick now?

T: Five and a half years.

M: And what particularly brought you to the Stick? What inspired you to
take it up?

T: I suppose the real answer to that question is music brought me there. It
wasn't my intention directly. Looking back, I suppose my life was preparing
me to pick up the instrument but at the time I didn't know that, until I
actually got it in my hands, everything I'd been trying to do for the last
eight years on the guitar was for the stick. I didn't realise that there
was obviously something larger going on.

M: In the band tonight, how do you see your role? How does it differ from
that of a bass guitarist?

T: Well, I suppose the main answer to that question is often I'm not
playing the bass at all. Maybe on a fifth of the tunes there's actually a
bass part played by me, or picked up by someone else, or there isn't a bass
part. On several tunes I play only the melody side even with an octave up
so I'm the solo instrument. On one piece in particular I'm the only
instrument and I'm playing the top side. I'm using the top side a lot,
which seems to be becoming my speciality.

    Funnily enough though, people having been saying the bass sounds more
like a bass guitar than a Stick. I'm not sure whether I like that or
not, the way they're perceiving it. My interest was in getting a really
good bass sound out of it, as I rarely hear the Stick with a good full bass
sound which can compete with the bass guitar. My aim with the instrument is
to bring the sound of it up to the professional level, so that it plays in
tune and it sounds good enough so if Adrian Belew's not playing the guitar
part I can play it on Stick and it's going to sound just as good. If Tony's
in the group it's going to be the Stick or Tony playing bass, so I aim to
have a good sound and I haven't really found that before in Stick music.
Stick solo on its own, you don't have the association with any sound, and
you just accept it for what it is but when you put it in to a rock context,
the bass should sound really full and kick you in the stomach. On the
latest record that I've done with David Sylvian and Robert Fripp to my ears
it's one of the best bass sounds I've ever heard.

M: Coming back to the fact you and Tony are playing in King Crimson, are
you going to play Stick at the same time?

T: I've only played with Tony for about two hours, and that was with
Robert, Jerry Marotta, Tony and I, and Adrian wasn't there. It was just a
jam, we weren't working on materials specifically. I'm sure we're going to
do some double Stick stuff, and with bass because he really enjoys playing
the bass. I think the Stick for him was an alternate instrument, for me
it's my main instrument. For him it's bass, then stick and keyboards
probably. I'm looking to a lead role and texture role and also what I think
will be a baritone role, and I haven't the faintest idea what that's going
to be yet.

M: What advice would you offer a Stick player who like yourself has decided
to take the stick as his sole instrument?

T: Depends on what they want to do. Maybe a more specific question than

M: Particularly because so few people play the Stick, and there is no
formal method or standard repetoire, or teaching, or even role in the band
for the Stick player. What avenues do you think people are missing? When
you see other Stick players play, how could they improve?

T: Okay, there's a couple of questions. I'll answer the last one first, but
don't let me lose the first one. The first thing I noticed about Stick
players, myself included, is the posture they play with totally disrupts
any chance of music happening. They always bend their head way, way forward
and are crouched entirely closed on the instrument. It's almost unanimous.
Jim Lampi is probably the only person I've seen who doesn't do this. I
don't really know what I look like - I try to stand with my chest open and
my face forward. I think it really suffers. The posture you adopt while
playing and the way that you breathe is transmitted through the music to
the audience and that pretty much says it clearly, they're going to breathe
the way you breathe. Whether you know how you're breathing or not, if your
breathing's constricted they pick it up without looking at you. It's in the
sound - it's true.  So I think just physically, there's a lot to be
discovered that nobody knows yet and that's actually how to the play the
instrument. When I first picked it up, the first thing that struck me aside
from the two handedness of it, that splits your body in half, is that you
should learn to play this instrument without looking at the fretboard.
What a great opportunity if somebody picked it up and said "I don't have
any gigs for two years, I'm going to learn to play this instrument without
looking at the fretboard."

M: But, because of the way Emmett teaches the Stick graphically in Free
Hands, looking at the fretboard is probably the first intuitive way that
most players learn to play.

T: Yeah, I don't really know his approach. The book didn't have any
particular use for me and I never took a lesson with Emmett. I've spoken to
him on the phone, but I've never studied with Emmett. To make that leap in
to not looking is a pretty big one because you have to put your fingers
right in the right spot and you want to get on with it and play so that's
probably why nobody has done it yet. I don't do it, but I'm working towards
that now. Your hands are smarter than you think. And what was the first
part of the question? What would I suggest? I would suggest the same
things I'm continually trying to suggest to myself, when I have the time I
will do it. I only have pockets of time to practice. The instrument is so
primitive right now, as far as not so much the construction although the
construction will undoubtly improve over the years but just the
relationship of the players to the instrument is at a primitive,
neanderthal stage. In a hundred years, more players will come to the
instrument and there will be an appropriate body of technique. Right now
players need to do what is considered by some people the really boring work
but actually it's not, it's essential work of looking at how the hands play
the instrument and dissecting all the combinations of the fingers on the
instrument to get a really good pure tone which stays in tune. As far as
music goes, I think people should learn to play Bach and whatever people
can find what he's written which works on the instrument, so far everything
I've tried acts as if it was written for the Stick.

M: The trouble I've had with approaching Bach, is I'm using a fifths and
fourth tuning, so if there's a unison line the hands are moving in opposite
directions.  Your using a varition on the Crafty tuning ...

T: Yeah, it's a mirror tuning

M: So it's in fifths on the melody side, except for a minor third between
strings two and three and a whole tone between stings one and two?

T: Yeah, let me just back up on your question, there's another question in
there. The tuning that Emmett set the instrument up on doesn't work for me
and my feeling is it's only half way there. Putting fifths on the bass, you
have a totally new instrument, so I don't know what inspired him to do that
but it was obviously a leap of genius. Keeping the fourths on the top side,
it doesn't work for me. As I understand it, althought I've never used that
tuning, there's a logic in terms of geometry between the sides but in my
opinion the sides need to be tuned in a mirror fashion because the body is
a mirror. I can't really describe it apart from it splits you down the
middle in a really satisfying way. It seperates you internally and you
don't have to use your brain. I haven't used the other tuning so I'm not
sure, but you probably have to use the intellect a bit more. And for what
you're saying, it just feels right to me to play those unison lines or to
play in thirds or it just makes sense inner to outer, outer to inner.

M: But one of the problems of playing in the fifths tuning is you have to
make a change in position just to play a scale on the bass and there are
different approaches, such as Bob Culbertson with his thumb technique to
overcome this. I just wonder whether fifths on the melody might constrict
melody ideas because of the bigger stretch. How big are your hands?

T: No bigger than yours! Any change is going to appear to be a restriction
but it also brings a whole new world. You can't play blues licks anymore,
which is exactly what I wanted to eliminate from my repertoire. But if you
want to do something, you can do it. On the Grand Stick, the range is so
wide, so instead of your position being a minor third position it's just a
fourth across.  You have to use all your fingers, and as my understanding
is, a lot of people don't do that. The bass side, it's tough though! (Trey

M: So you don't use your thumbs ...

T: No, I don't use my thumbs. I keep my hands on the back of the neck at
all times. I think the main problem is inherent on the instrument, not the
fingering, is you can't play a note on the string below the one you're
currently on without letting go of the top one whereas pianists can play
legato between two adjacent notes. You can trick your way around it,
particularly on the Grand Stick because there's so much overlap between the
sides, but it's inherent to the instrument, and the bass is like that.
It's true not all Bach pieces will work. The Bach pieces we're doing
tonight, with the exception of the Chromatic Fantasy which I play on the
top side of the instrument, I playing just a bass part with both hands,
which reminds me of the other thing I was going to mention about what Stick
players should do is that they should play with other musicians. I don't
see it as a solo instrument, although you can do that, I have done that and
I will do it again, I think essentially Stick players have the possibility
of becoming as detatched as keyboard players as far as being in time with
other musicians and sounding good with other musicians. I don't know that
many Stick players, I'm not really an authority on Stick players...

M: Most of the Stick players I know either play bass and play stick a
little bit with a band or play stick solo, so I think it's very good to
have somebody in your position who a commitment to the Stick, but is
playing with a band, and in particular that's why I looking forward to
seeing you play tonight...

T: Well, I've been playing five years so my technique really isn't that
great but it's pretty good and what I've found is some things which I can do
with my left hand alone always sound better if I use two hands on them. The
feel is one of the most important things. If you don't get it right,
somebody else has got the gig! Somebody else will get to play it!



Toyah Willcox - Ophelia's Shadow

Sunday All Other The World - Kneeling At The Shrine

Trey also played on Brian Eno's new album, Nerve Net, but the tracks he
played on didn't make it on to the record but a video has been made to
accompany one of the tracks so it should be coming out at a later date.

(Cassette only) Soundtrack for Raw Power (Wind Surfing film)

David Sylvian/Robert Fripp - The First Day "It's got stick all over it, and
maybe even Stick players wouldn't know it..., a lot with the melody side, a
lot with the Whammy Pedal. That's really great, especially for an octave
up. It sounds better than an Eventide harmoniser at $3000. There's a lot of
that on the record, and a lot of backwards stick playing, and I co-wrote
all tunes" - Trey.


Many thanks to Trey for letting me interview him. It's the first time I've
done an interview and I wasn't brillant at it - note how many questions I
started with "but" - I think probably even hinting disagreement is a big
mistake to make in an interview - which I must admit I was wincing about as
I transcribed the tape. I thanked him profusely, so hopefully it will be
okay. Maybe some other people on the list will get something from this, and
maybe even try interviewing somebody else ...

Mark Butler mhb at uk dot ac dot bham dot cs 

PS I think I need to buy a dictionary .....  

Mike Stok