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Fripp & Eno - The Equatorial Stars (cd)
Few contemporary albums can claim as much lasting influence as No Pussyfooting by Fripp & Eno. When initially recorded in late 1973, Eno had recently left Roxy Music, while Fripp was in the midst of one of the defining periods with the then current King Crimson lineup.
Electronic music was barely understood, rarely heard - the very thought of it ever becoming a popular or mainstream form must have seemed the wildest of pipedreams. Yet thanks to the popularity of both individuals & an inexpensive launch price to attract the curious, the album quietly built an avid following. Its reputation enhanced by word of mouth, it went on to have an effect that seeped slowly into every corner & facet of mainstream popular music over the next 30 years.
It's safe to say that for the vast majority of buyers at the time this was their first exposure to that area of music. It's equally safe to say it wasn't their last. The equipment used was, by modern standards, primitive. The ideas expressed were, by any standards, enormous. Many went on to have careers based on the possibilities suggested by the album. Fripp & Eno - to their eternal credit - were too busy working as musicians to ever 'milk it' in that sense. One further full album, Evening Star, was issued in 1975. There were occasional collaborations. But no further recordings under the Fripp & Eno banner until the emergence of The Equatorial Stars in late 2004 as a limited edition release initially available only via the artist's websites. From March the album will be made available as a full commercial release.
32 years later things are very different. Electronic music has become not just popular but omnipresent. The equipment necessary to produce electronic music is cheap & accessible, the avenues for releasing such music wildly expanded. Not that greater availability is necessarily an indicator of an equal amount of quality, but the music is there in everything from soundtracks to ringtones. Paradoxically, this makes the need for electronic music of substance perhaps even greater than at the time of No Pussyfooting.
The Equatorial Stars consists of a series of seven soundscapes. As with previous recordings made individually & in collaboration by Fripp & Eno, it is the evident care taken in the construction & presentation of the sound world that makes the totality of the work so convincing. The textures & atmospheres forming the heart of each track manage to subtly change & alter, while leaving ample space for Robert's guitar solos & sounds to emerge from the centre. Put simply, the album allows Fripp & Eno the opportunity to redefine an area of music they helped to launch into the mainstream in the first instance. One other key difference between the release of The Equatorial Stars & No Pussyfooting? This time there's an audience ready & waiting.
1 MEISSA 8:08
2 LYRA 7:45
3 TARAZED 5:03
4 LUPUS 5:09
5 ANKAA 7:01
6 ALTAIR 5:11
7 TEREBELLUM 9:40
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