Friday 13 January 2006



An anniversary day?

On the Guestbook…

AOL woes
:: Posted by Fabio_Ribeiro on January 12, 2006…

Reading the latest developments of AOL’s evil mailbox of doom, my question is: why use AOL when there are better options, such as Gmail? Of course, switching e-mail addresses is usually bothersome, but still... wrestling with the computer every day can’t be much fun.

Actually, Greg Meredith set me up with G-mail when it was first launched. As my quantum-computing advisor Greg is well-placed to make recommendations re: technical developments. I don’t use it because I prefer to save my e-correspondence off-line. Earlier versions of AOL have collapsed and taken my mail with it. Now, I file everything offline and to an external hard drive which, if useful, I can carry between computers.

09.19 i-Tunes have locked. Now the i-pod has locked. This is a first. Not even force quit does the job. Re-boot it is.

10.30 Alex and I have recorded Tone Probe IV – the Hot Tickle of the morning, for upload and free download, probably now on Monday.

10.42 Confirmed Soundscapes touring in February and early March…

21 Carrboro, NC Arts Center
22 Charlotte, NC Neighborhood Theatre
23 Greenville, SC Handle Bar
24 Athens, GA Melting Pot Lounge
25 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse

27 Chattanooga, TN Rhythm and Brews
28 Asheville, NC Orange Peel
01 Nashville, TN Belcourt Theatre

03 Memphis, TN Hi Tone Café
04 St. Louis, MO Blueberry Hill

12.53 Stuff and book-keeping meeting.

15.46 Hot Tickle of the day – putting up the Tone Probes. Essentially, a Tone Probe is taken from a sound check. So, this is thinking out loud, testing the equipment and new programmes and programme mods; and various playing and musical ideas. These are not well-considered formal musical statements. Of the TPs I-III, we could make different edits, even “better” edits, but that is not a main aim. These are quick snapshots of our working process here at DGM, and a pointed stick: a way of us getting our chops together. The challenge is how to record, very quickly edit and upload for download, operate the backend of the website to make current music available almost immediately, all within the four walls of DGM HQ. This is training for all of us, and especially Alex “Stormy” Mundy (a nickname which will be difficult to shake) whose skill-set is expanding rapidly.

If you love music, become a plumber. This headline from the recent Daily Telegraph piece, has some resonance in the office and was discussed over office pasta lunch. Alex loves music, is a drummer with blues and jazz bands, sometimes also sings and plays guitar; his digital editing and technical engineering skills are developing rapidly; Alex is also a qualified plumber.

The Tone Probes are, from one point of view, primary exercises to get Alex and DGML into new-music action. Our intention was to give them all away free, but there are technical restrictions on doing this. So we’re swapping the free hot tickles around, and providing the opportunity for innocent visitors to learn how to download for a dollar. Yes! Venality triumphs, as it always has, here in the home of the HRVL.

Stormy Munday…

Alex is breaking down the Solar Voyager for transportation to the church tomorrow morning.

17.16 Sleeve notes for the re-release of Exposure have just gone to Hugh for his consideration…

It was a time; it was a place. The time followed the ending of one period and the beginning of another: surfing the wave of the unwritten possible. The place was New York City, centred on Hell’s Kitchen. The ending was of the first stage of life as a professional musician (1967-74). This began as part of Giles, Giles & Fripp, mostly accounted a failure; and ended as part of King Crimson, mostly accounted a success.

In 1977 I had no intention of returning to the music industry, having experienced at close hand the stupidity, vanity, jealousy and greed that accompany success and its attendant income flow; amongst artists, management, record companies and even innocent members of the audience. Longer, wider, deeper experience suggests that I underestimated the dishonesty of artist management, record company cynicism and deceit, the capacity for self-deception among artists, and the sheer dopiness of those who nominally support the work of their favoured artists. This is not the bad news.

Within the sacred circle where music, musician and audience meet, there are remarkable possibilities which, were we to fully experience the degree and extent that we miss the mark, might leave us weeping and knowing bereavement. If this were not itself sufficient tragedy, the meeting of music, musician and audience in our contemporary culture is mediated by commerce. This is the bad news.

Dear Reader, your tears may be already flowing; otherwise, this is a good time to begin. And if your tears are flowing, then perhaps we now add a loud wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Any reasonable person might be forgiven, easily, simply and readily, for believing this to be an exaggeration; a comment from one scarred by close grappling with the actuality of professional life, a pitiful character returning from one grinding tour too many. Although I am pitiful, and have returned from several grinding tours too many, regrettably I understate the case.

When the Muse descends, we know directly (one aspect of) the Creative impulse and its inexpressible benevolence. This is the life-giving force that maintains all audients and performers who continue, despite all evidence to the contrary, to return to the place where Music opens itself to us. When we find how many participants in our musical enterprise, even good people with the best of intentions, act to close the door on the Benevolence that seeks to walk in and embrace us, in that moment we know pain, grief, loss. When good people further declare their consumer rights in the event, then we know despair.

Dear Reader, please forgive this frank presentation of my feelings: for an Englishman (but my Mother was Welsh) this is close to going naked in the world.

Despite all, the potential remains. Whenever a musician picks up their instrument, finds a pair of open ears and the Muse is in attendance, life begins again. In this moment, Time has no dominion and the music industry sits outside (albeit most likely with the ticket receipts). This is the good news.

 So, what happened in 1977 that returned me to the life of working player? At the beginning of July, David  Bowie and Brian Eno telephoned me from Berlin and asked if I could play some hairy rock guitar on a record David was making with Brian. From this, everything changed: a beginning again, again.

Exposure was an autobiography of sorts, a statement of interests and concerns. My life changed direction in July 1974 following a terrifying vision of the future. Now, three decades later, I find that I underestimated the extent of radical change that is presently underway. In 1974 my response was terror. In 2006, I trust the unfolding process.

May we know, and trust, the inexpressible Benevolence of the Creative Impulse.

Robert Fripp
January 13th. 2006
DGM HQ, Broad Chalke, England.

18.53 Meeting with David and book-keeper Nicky to future-view our common undertakings and arisings, including developments within DGML that are not far away. These include: using MPEG4 as our chosen format for viddying; the immediacy of recording music in the morning and uploading in the afternoon; developing a new category to accompany Hot Tickles – Savage Blasts. Hot Tickles are actually free samples drawn from the downloadable catalogue, encouragers to squeeze the hard-earned pay from the weak grasp of innocent audients. Savage Blasts are daily eruptions of delight, perhaps Tone Probes, specifically recorded to be made rapidly available, for a short time, and for free.

The practical difficulty is, our days aren’t quite like that. The Vicar has been threatening to produce a series of daily mellotron Blasts for a long time, so this might be encouragement for him.

The meeting didn’t even get to Fripp Speaks, or Ask Robert. I like the idea of Ask Robert very much: you may ask any question that you like, but you have to say how much the answer is worth to you. Quite a lot is not an acceptable answer. $4,823 million is. If all of life might be that straightforward.

And a further topic discussed, at our second book-keeping meeting of the day: reducing debt.

19.09 David and Nicky have left. I am commanding myself to sit on the floor, quietly – now!

22.06 An evening of stuff is continuing. Practising - please soon!

22.51 But not yet. The Vicar has returned. Perhaps a Savage Blast on mellotron?

23.10 Strange and novel combinations of mellotron rhythm sections are emerging from Soundworld I.

23.15 The floor is looking most appealing.