Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Breakfasting Trough, Hotel It Is Posh, Vienna.


Rising 08.00 and down to the posh-trough for morning reflecting, with Messiaen, Dvorak and Prokofieff; and up-date on nattery-news from the FT and NY Times.

One of the astonishments that fall to the First Guitarist, amongst all the extensive commentary (informed, under-informed and clueless/absent-of-insight postings), is the paucity of witterancies regarding play-on Soundscapes. For the past perhaps ten play-on adventures, Soundscapes have shot off in another direction. It is perhaps redundant to mention that this direction is surprising to the Soundscaper. After all, if the direction was not another it would not be surprising. Where the commentary on these? From a respected correspondent present at the two Barcelona shows…

Thirty minutes before the performance began:
Young Man: "is this a broken record? 
Young Man's Friend: “no, they do this to blow up our minds later.

The music which The Seven-Headed Beast of Crim plays is new, whenever that initially sprung into life and auditory range. The walk-in Soundscapes are constructed anew every performance, specifically designed for the specific space and its acoustics, in quadrophonic. To miss the Sonic Installations (if only temporary constructions) is to miss an important part of the show IMO. One of the primary functions of these is to provide a liminal zone, between our prosaic day-to-day world of stuff and fluster and The World Made Available In Performance. How about Mel’s flute and T Lev’s upright contributions to the Soundscapes when KC comes onstage? A further stage of liminality.

Wishing, Hoping and Trusting that the ‘Scapes resonate, where/with whom they need to, I persist.

Moving right along I…

One of the tragedies of life on the road, for this working player, is to frequently enter performance auditoria where the acoustics for this band are appalling; and most likely, any other suchlike-band. I have asked our FOH mixers to draw up a list of venues to which KC will never return. In one territory on this KC EuroTour 2016, I considered the venue so carelessly chosen by the promoter that we have changed promoters. There are many considerations to be taken into account when choosing venues – including availability, size and performance convention – but to walk onstage to a dispiriting space is, dispiriting. Trusting that the event reaches further than the sound-of-the-event, we persist. For the future, we have plans to carry drapes to enhance the listening / playing experience; and drop promoters who appear not to share our quality-concerns.

Moving right along II…

A Few Notes On Fracture.

First note: Fracture is impossible to play.

Cf. Anthony Garone…


Alberto Mesirca…
has recorded an excellent version of the Moto Perpetuo; noting that Alberto, as a player of the classical instrument, does not use a pick; and is not bound by strict time.

Second note: semiquavers at 136 bpm (brought up to 138 bpm in the most recent performance) comes to c. nine notes a second for c. three minutes and seventeen seconds.

Third note: recently, from a respected correspondent in Holland…

I recall very well that, at the time, you took Fracture on the road as a pointed stick to keep you on edge during touring and I was happy to see it live at the Concertgebouw. But for you to revisit it some 43 years later and in NST is / was a shock to me.

As I told you, my life was changed during the Nov. 23rd November 1973 concert at the A’dam Concertgebouw and the key moment for me was the sound of your unamplified guitar beginning the fast section of Fracture. You could hear a pin drop. Until this day, whenever I am at Concertgebouw (and my work brings me there a lot!) and sit in the empty hall while the orchestra soundchecks on that same stage, I connect with that moment. It happened in this room, I think, and can almost hear you.

(NB the Fracture released on Starless And Bible Black was taken from the live recording of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw performance).

My reply (26nov2016)…

it took a year to bring my practising up to speed, as it were;
and four months directly and specifically on Fracture.
my Wife had quite enough after a few weeks, so i had to lock the door to the Cellar;
where i practice.

for the first Euro-leg, between 6.5 - 8 on a scale of 10.

in between, we had The SOCG in argentina, with final Intro Course.
my primary responsibility in GC is not towards my playing.
so upon my return, the athlete was not in race-ready condition.
my intention was to play Fracture when i was back in top condition;
but as i became aware that it was on strong demand in italy;
i did the best i could although not quite ready.
nevertheless, it seemed well received.

to keep Fracture-fit takes 80% of my time and attention.
which is too much.
and it's almost improper that a man of 70 should be doing the high-wire every night;
when there's a younger generation who might take it on!

Moving right along III…

From a respected correspondent…

This band knocks everything out of the ballpark and I am feeling the same excitement as during the 1970’s (when I was innocent) but a few octaves higher.

Cf. David Singleton's Diary 28nov2016…

Harold Wilhelm's Great Disappointment
I was in Stuttgart, and Harold and I heard different concerts. Mel Collins was never "ridiculous", the rearrangements are astonishing, and amongst the new compositions (dismissed as "pffff!) Radical Action is an absolute Crimson classic. So why such a different experience. I discussed this very thing with Robert Fripp over breakfast in Monaco (hence his video on the homepage). There was a double point of seeing. Those who come to the concert wanting one that sounds just like the old ones will be disappointed. This is a new band, and the material is new (whenever it was written). If you view this band through a prism of the past, you will inevitably be unsatisfied. My own point of seeing that morning was that the reverse is also true. I had been following the current band, watching "Easy Money" every night, and found myself (because of this website) needing to embed a 1974 video of Easy Money. And what did I discover? It was almost unwatchable. In the same way, that viewing this band through a prism of the past will only cause "the great disappointment" - once you have embraced this band, you cannot easily go back. 

We lose our innocence once. If that were an end to it, then fast-forward to a wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Outer Darkness. Fortunately, should we wish to embrace what is available and possible within the moment (alternatively expressed, a Real World of authenticity-available), we might practice the assumption of innocence within a context of experience. This takes perhaps thirty-five/forty years of on-going endeavour. It also takes no time at all.







Audience I…











Onstage 20.15. Offstage c. 23.16 with twenty-minute Intermission.