Creem NOVEMBER 1978 - by Jim Farber


When Robert Fripp finally retired King Crimson to the home for ageing mellotrons back in late 1974, he let out a string of Jeane Dixon-style predictions that promised nothing but eye-gouging, entrail-splattering destruction for those foolish mortals left on earth who did not heed the word. Fripp saw the only path to survival in entering the world of what he termed, "small intelligent mobile units", such as his avant-minimalist arrangement with Brian Eno, making for two of the most ethereal works yet trickled onto vinyl, No Pussyfooting and Evening Star.

Four years later, the earth is still here (still stuck in what Robert terms, "Its destructive dinosaur mentality") and so is "intelligently mobile" Fripp. Still, he's less apocalyptic than before, having just produced his first holy trilogy - the new Peter Gabriel album, his debut solo album plus (shock of shocks!!) a collaboration LP with the blond lanky half of Hall & Oates (Mr. Daryl to the cognescenti).

Today, the noveau conceptualist Fripp has a lot of nasty words for the Yes-Genesis technoschmaltz genre he helped create.

"The English art-rock progressive bands should have yawned to a close at least by 1974, but their carcasses continue to twitch," Fripp said in his New York apartment. "I'm almost embarrassed by my background." The Islands period, around 1971, was the worst. "I went into catatonia for three weeks on tour with that incarnation of the band [which included Bad Company bassist Boz]. It was one of the most horrible periods of my life... [with King Crimson] it was a vampiric relation between performer and audience. It seems to me both audience and performer have an equal responsibility in a show. It's nopt really a question of sucking each other off."

To present a more perfect type of live show, Fripp did a gig at a small "intelligently mobile" club in New York City last winter, using Frippertronics (sort of electronic musical equivalents of a Jackson Pollock splash-on painting) plus Eno's Oblique Strategies, read off by several other performers in order to scramble linear logic and find the golden cosmik mean or some such. Thankfully, Fripp's latest projects aren't quite as highfalutin'. The solo disc, titledThe Last Of The Great New York Heart-Throbs, sounds a lot like Crimson in their Red period and Robert should have no problem getting a contract behind it for American distribution (hopefully by the fall). "The album to a degree works on the notion of hazard," Fripp said mysteriously. "It's hazardous events where chance rules, yet there's significance [or meaningful risk] involved."

EARTH TO ROBERT FRIPP: WE DO NOT READ YOU...... No matter, the music speaks for itself. Those classic Fripp mother-raping guitar lines are back, and even with wimp Daryl Hall doing the vocal squawking it all comes off terrifically strong. Another vocal is provided by Peter Gabriel, doing Here Comes The Flood, also done on Peter's first album. Here, as on Peter's new album, thanks to Fripp, we can hear Gabriel's voice clearly for the first time. "Peter has a number of preconceptions about his voice; for instance, he doesn't like it. He'll do anything he can to cover it up."

Fripp also wanted to work with Deborah Harry on his solo album, for a version of Donna Summer's I Feel Love, but Chrysalis said no way, not wanting to spread Blondie's talents too thin.

"It's the old pop mentality, the old circa 1956 intelligence level," Fripp sneered. Robert also is getting some heat from Daryl Hall's record company about releasing their collaboration album, modestly titled Sacred Songs. "It's been a struggle," Fripp affirmed slowly. "I'm still struggling. Life is very terrifying." Swear to God, for a moment there the ground seemed to tremble.