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Re: Soundscapes/Frippertronics debate (warning! longish post!)

"Chris Muir" <cbm@well.com> put forth:

> At 6:47 PM -0500 11/17/01, Peter Badore wrote:
> >And to Chris Muir:  I'm fully aware of the works of Riley, Reich, and
> >Oliveiros.  However, no one has brought out this technique to the public
> >large better than Fripp & Eno, for obvious reasons.
> Yes, but that doesn't mean that they get any special claim on the
> technique. Let's say that Brittany Spears decides to get interested
> in looping. She is orders of magnitude more popular, and therefore
> would bring this technique to the public better than anyone to date.
> Does that give her the right to name the technique after herself
> (e.g. SpearsScapes, BritanyLoops) and not credit those that came
> before her?

If Ms. Spears, or for that matter, Mariah Carey or Janet Jackson (or even
Michael!) wanted to get into looping work, or just wanted to use it in her
music, I'd be one of the first to jump up and volunteer.  I see an awful 
of really boring uses of looping in today's music, and consider it a 
to meld ambient-looping with pop.  IMNSHO, it legitimizes pop artistically.
In the meantime I'm not averse to any of the above calling me up for 
work.  Okay, actually ANYONE.

> >Just as Jimi Hendrix
> >innovated electric guitar techniques even though he didn't invent the
> >instrument or D.W. Griffith innovated storytelling in the movies without
> >inventing cameras or film (though his praising of the KKK leaves a lot 
> >doubt), F&E took this invention and turned it into their own separate
> >entities.
> Yes, but none of the examples that you listed had the hubris, the
> arrogance, the gall (mitigated or not) to name a technique after
> themselves and obscure the real origins.

I have to soft-pedal this and defend Mr. Fripp for a moment (so I'm not
impartial!  Sheesh!).  I don't think RF called it "Frippertronics" out of a
sense of arrogance or gall, if I might be so assumptive.  Think of this:
"Frippery" is defined thusly by a number of dictionaries:

frip·per·y n. pl. frip·per·ies : 1. Pretentious, showy finery.  2.
Pretentious elegance; ostentation.  3. Something trivial or nonessential.

(Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)


frippery \Frip"per*y\, a. Trifling; contemptible.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


So think of this - RF's name wasn't a stage name, and he had to grow up 
the above meanings.  His famous contempt for the ongoing business of music
production is a given.  He's British, and possesses a sense of humour 
certainly dry and in some cases inaccessible at best.  On this basis I find
it highly suitable to name the process "Frippertronics" in opposition to 
kind of enforced labelling one encounters in the established music biz, if
not as a closed-circle joke on all the reviewers and A&R execs, while in
fact giving them the label they desire.

> >So I must disagree that RF "didn't innovate" (you'll have to
> >refer to your own letter as I've already quoted the above).
> What I said was:
> >People who think that Fripp innovated much tech here should check
> >out "Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band", from the 1969 release "A
> >Rainbow in Curved Air". All the techniques of "Frippertronics" are
> >there.
> I stand by this. There was no tech innovation here. The dual tape
> machines of "Frippertronics" are the same dual tape machines of
> Riley's "Time Lag Accumulator", in pretty much the same setup.

And at no time have I ever seen RF write that he originated or otherwise
created the process.  It's a moot point to me.

> >He is indeed
> >worthy of the term Frippertronics (and, yes, I'm also aware that the 
> >started as as joke).  I also hope Soundscapes is becoming the new
> >fashionable term as "ambient" has now lost its original meaning when Eno
> >first conceived it.  Yeah, yeah, two different things.

The term "ambient music" will naturally be replaced by something else in 
future.  At times I wonder that the term isn't a poisonous one in the UK,
and wonder that the next term probably will also.  I've been told on 
occasions by musicians here who learned traditionally, and went to college
for it, that the established music community here considers ambient music
"easy", and therefore beneath contempt, since it's assumed that "anyone can
do it."  I violently differ with this snotty attitude, as one can expect,
but what can ya do with people who have had it pounded into them what 
be done"?

The above is not by any means a castigation of traditional music education
and pursuit.  I have been to quite a number of orchestral shows and love 
kinds of music; and I have a great deal of respect for anyone who goes 
it in any way.  Similarly I am fairly sure that a lot of the folks who dump
on Other Music Than Their Favorites have a big respect problem of their 
and thus I do not seek to educate nor denigrate their learned craft.  Your
own mileage may vary.  Loud report.  Light and walk away.

Stephen Goodman
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