Live In Paris 28.05.1975
The Fripp & Eno duo only released a small handful of studio albums – two in the early/mid 1970s and then several years later they reconnected, but it’s those two studio albums from the seventies that dazzled, and that formed the setlist when the duo performed a small handful of live performances.
Here, reissued, is the live document from a Paris show in 1975. The album opens with a pre-recorded piece (Water on Water) which ushers in the musicians – the energy is palpable as the crowd’s anticipation builds, finally Robert Fripp and Brian Eno arrive on stage and Fripp sets to his guitar as Eno operates the tape machines.
Fripp’s beautiful (and sometimes ugly) layers and textures of guitar are the star here – though it’s the way they’re combined with the floating, seesawing tape loops (Wind on Water) that make the performance.
Because both Eno and Fripp were nothing if not prolific you can hear pieces of soon-to-be King Crimson motifs and bits from Eno’s first ambient forays interpolated into these performances, it is not simply a straight repeat of the tracks from the albums.
Evening Star stands majestic – that scribbled noise (beautifully controlled, always within the lines) of guitar against the soothing backdrop of undulating melody-as-rhythm and softly cascading rhythm-as-melody, it rolls into An Iron Frappe and Softy Gun Poison where the guitar cuts abstract shapes from the distortion pedal and effects.
A third disc features the tape loops as ambient drone pieces – and is fascinating to hear now, further proof – along with the contents featuring the prepared and improvised guitar treatments – that this duo’s impact on dance music and ambient music, on the place (and placement/placing) of guitar outside of prog and/or cock-rock was enormous, profound. And all stemming from just two studio albums.
The bits caught here – cleaned up, preserved, presented now to all – are stunning, like stumbling over the all-at-once-so-new ground of a just found, thought-lost land.