Robert Fripp’s soundscapes have always sounded as though they’d be remarkable in an orchestral setting and so with this album, originally released in 2012, it has proved to be. Yet that transition hasn’t been easy or obvious. Dating back to the summer of 2000 when Bert Lams’ (of the California Guitar Trio) handed over his painstaking transcriptions to Keeling, the Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam performed these pieces in 2003. However, a further eight years passed before these pieces were deemed to be ready to see the light of day.

Just as Keeling himself used the original ‘scapes as a starting point for further melodic and harmonic exploration, long-term Fripp associate and producer David Singleton, has taken the Metropole recording to generate multiple layers and extra patina in much the same way as the guitarist might have manipulated his digital sources during a concert.

The results of this intriguing collaboration are immense and powerful. While Keeling’s sensitive orchestrations emphasise the contemplative reverie of Pie Jesu and the elegiac Midnight Blue, it’s the middle of the album where he vividly and persuasively articulates the more challenging elements contained within the soundscapes equation.

Here the pensive atmospheres of Black Light, Miserere Mei and Requiescat, enigmatically swirl and coalesce into what is in effect a 34 minute suite of impassioned ferocity. Their shimmering tonality encompasses luminous passages of yearning melody, turbulent percussive rumblings, glowering, sepulchral brass undertows and achingly beautiful strings.

Perhaps the most impressive passages come from the startling choral sequences, which in part take their text from the Anglican burial service, and provide some truly arresting and awe-inspiring moments found on the album.

Occasionally evoking the works of Pärt, Górecki, Tavener and others belonging to the ‘holy minimalist’ school of composition, although Fripp is not physically present on this recording, The Wine of Silence nevertheless burns brightly with his intense musicality.

AUDIO SOURCE: Master CD

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TRACK
TIME
01
Pie Jesu
08:41
02
Midnight Blue
07:17
03
Black Light
04:29
04
Miserere Mei
14:00
05
Requiescat
16:21
06
Pie Jesu
09:43
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