Robert Fripp’s web presence, Discipline Global Mobile, has announced that an oft-bootlegged Fripp/Brian Eno show recorded in Paris in 1975 has been mixed and mastered to the best possible quality, and pre-orders are now being taken by Amazon, Inner Knot (US), and Burning Shed (UK/Europe).
Hearing the tapes in fully restored audio quality, it’s easy to understand why it attracts such reverence now and perhaps, why the shows attracted such hostility then. No Roxy Music hits, No King Crimson riffs, just a duo sitting in near darkness with a reel to reel tape recorder, improvising over the pre-recorded loops with a filmed background projection. Replace the reel to reel machine with a couple of laptops/iPads/sequencers and the core of much current live performance from electronica to hip-hop was there some thirty years in advance. At the time, audiences responded to such a glimpse of the future with booing, walkouts and general confusion.
Thanks to the discovery and restoration of the original backing tapes, it was possible - with much painstaking restoration work by Alex Mundy at DGM - to isolate, de-noise and match the live elements from the performance tapes to the studio loops to produce the final recording.
An article by Frippertonics archivist Allan Okada (OK, you know, “Dangerous Minds Contributor” is a damn cool title, I won’t lie, but “Frippertronics Archivist” sounds like a mighty sweet gig, too…) describes the concert itself thusly:
Fripp just recently disbanded King Crimson at a point which many would describe as their artistic pinnacle. Eno also recently parted ways with Roxy Music at a similar juncture and then aborted his first and only extensive solo tour after only a handful of shows, due to a collapsed lung. Fripp & Eno live in concert? What would they do? All the shows in Spain and France were, not surprisingly, accompanied with unrealistic fan expectations, hoping for a presentation of ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ combined with ‘Baby’s on Fire’ perhaps? What this audience got was something entirely different. The programme was largely improvised and totally instrumental. Adding to the event’s unorthodoxy was the absence of all conventional stage lighting. The sole illumination was provided by Malcolm LeGrice’s colour saturated and looped short film ‘Berlin Horse’ projected behind the two shadowy figures on stage, visually mimicking the music. The result was an unprecedented live performance format, years ahead of its time. It was also mind-boggling to most of the unsuspecting 1975 audience, yielding wildly different reactions. Reportedly about half the shows on this tour were also plagued with some sort of major technical hazard, stemming from the venue, the PA or the duo’s stage equipment. In Saint-Étienne, the audience went as far as booing the duo off the stage! Fortunately for us here, this Paris Olympia performance was technically flawless and from a musical standpoint, incredibly inspired.
You can judge the show’s level of inspiration yourself—as mentioned above, bootlegs have been around forever, and they are of course on YouTube. See what you think.
The trance continues after the jump.