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Robert Fripp - Robert Fripp & Theo Travis: Follow CD (album) cover

ROBERT FRIPP & THEO TRAVIS: FOLLOW

Robert Fripp

 

Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 32 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
5 stars What a beautiful combination. Fripp's soundscapes and Frippertronics paired with Theo Travis' own Ambitronics. These instrumental experiments are pensive and lovely, very accessible mostly minimal pieces with a lot of atmosphere. The music is completely improvised, but it all has direction and the tracks are titled appropriately to fit the ambience of the music.

The recording was specifically created for the best playback on surround sound systems, and, of course, Steven Wilson was brought in to produce the album. However, the sound is also excellent and crystal clear on regular stereo systems as well. The CD comes as 2 discs, the first with the regular recording and the 2nd with the surround sound recording which also contains 3 bonus tracks.

The music is very peaceful and meticulously played. It is also quite accessible in that there is not very much dissonance involved, but there is a lot of beauty involved and could be one of Fripp's loveliest collaborations. Except for a few places, for the most part there is no harshness as was evident on Fripp and Eno's collaborations. This particular music however was composed to be able to be performed in churches.

The first 3 tracks were thoughtfully named in that their titles fit their moods and feelings. "Soaring and Gliding" does just as it says, it gives you the feeling of free floating among the clouds. "Dark Clouds" is definitely a darker feeling which evokes the feeling of approaching and threatening clouds giving the feeling of an oncoming storm. However when the storm does reach the listener in "When the Rains Fall", the sustained notes in the background give the base of a staccato and arppegiated flute and reed sound which represents the rain falling softly. Simply beautiful.

Next is a short track which is a solo by Travis called "Hear Our Voices" which is a perfect example of how "Ambitronics" works. This track flows into the next track "1979" which is named after the year that Fripp's part was recorded. Travis adds his input over the top of the original track for an interesting sound which reminds me almost of a Native American sound.

"Open Land" has another nice ambient sound with more variation and the mood tends to drift towards a spacey feeling which is even more prevalent in the next track aptly named "Return to Saturn." From here the next track "Rotary Symmetrical" follows in what seems to be a natural way, but suddenly there is a harshness in Fripp's sound that seems to frighten up a flock of brass and wood that starts to flutter everywhere. The sound starts to approach a clinical sound somewhat more reminiscent of the earlier Frippertronic sound but with the added beauty of Travis' wind instruments. This departure into harshness prepares the listener for the final track "So There" which is a surprisingly more rock oriented sound, but not anything conventional. The last track tends to remind you that even though most of this album tends towards the classical composition, the music is really rooted in progressive rock and though the change is not abrupt which would have made the track feel like it was tacked on, the previous track makes this track feel like it is all part of the entire work.

This is an amazing sound. Even though Travis and Fripp have had previous releases, none of them have felt as cohesive and complimentary as this one does. It feels like these two geniuses have been developing their music to the point that they were finally ready for one another. Never has experimentation felt so natural and beautiful as it does here. If there are any recent Fripp albums that could be considered essential, it is this one. It feels like the culmination of the work of these two musicians has come about on this album, that the music from both artists have been waiting around for this moment to be heard in this way. I didn't expect this album to be as good as it is and maybe that sways my rating a little, but I must say that this entire album is extravagant and beautiful. Fripp fans must get this as it is essential in a cumulative sense and because it simply is a masterpiece of improvisation and experimentation.

TCat | 5/5 |

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