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Fripp - "Sully his hands in commerce"
It's true - Americans really have no concept of irony do they?
From: Mark Landman <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Fripp, making friends in the audience again????
Date: 13 December 1997 19:12
>I saw Fripp last night in Philly ... he never broke a sweat, presented
>himself as some judgemental overlord, and completed the evening by having
>mutual masturbatory session with some members of the audience over the
>idiosyncracies of "Crim" factoids. His playing was mediocre and it was
>more commercial than most anything I've heard in the genre ... commercial
>in that he was selling TC Electronic, Eventide, and Roland products
>a constant manipulation of them. He announced at the beginning that he
>didn't see the music as "precious" and that people should feel free to do
>what they want ... mill around and talk. It was probably the most
>event I can recall being. His use of loops and high-end gear is notable,
>however there is nothing more flat than an artist who demands an audience
>find something to appreciate in the repeated use of the same motifs,
>and movement over a protracted period of time and then tell you he is not
>It was all art as commerce without substance. To end the evening, he let
>everyone know that, "though he would not sully his hands in commerce", he
>did have Fedx'd in a large supply of CDs that he was selling ... but that
>his assistant would be doing that.
#1 A sense of humor is helpful in determining what appropriate and
unappropriate. I suspect the "Ésully his hands in commerce" comment is
simply that keen British sense of humor some Americans completely miss.
#2 Looking at several complaints in recent posts (early starting times,
extreme repetition combined with extensive signal processing, encouragement
for the audience to treat the experience as something different that a
"sit-down" concert) paint the picture of someone who is trying to find
better ways of allowing this music to happen.
Perhaps the typical concert setting, behaviors and time constraints don't
lend themselves to allowing "good loopage" to occur. I know Mr. Fripp
endeavours to present this material in all day installations at churches,
subways, etc. I remember as far back as his appearence at Mabuhay Gardens
(with the old Revox set-up), his comments to the effect that we'd have been
better off bringing pillows and relaxing on the floor to experience
Frippertronics. The emergence of "chill rooms" years later seems to me to
confirmed some small prescience on Mr. Fripps partÉ
The fact is this is someone who is deeply concerned with trying to balance
the sometimes unbalanceble extremes of art and commerce. Fripp seems to
truly care about making real music happen, instead of presenting a
pre-packaged format of material to promote record sales.
Even if his opinions make us uncomfortable, or are downright unfathomable
at times, we should be glad to someone who stills cares so deeply about
what he is doing after suffering in the music industry for so many yearsÉ