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Pleasures In Pieces

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Pleasures In Pieces

Postby Mark on Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:51 pm

Anyone familiar with a double album of live Frippertronics titled Pleasures In Pieces? I've come across a used vinyl copy of it, though I've never heard of it before, nor have I been able to find it in the ET discographies.
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Postby ChewChewGumChew on Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:51 pm

It's a bootleg of a Frippertronics performance. I have a cassette copied from that album and it's pretty good, if you like Frippertronics. I don't remember the exact year or venue (78/79?), but I bet there's a few others here that will easily provide that info. :)
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Postby nisimoto on Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:33 pm

Ask Dr. MiKcrobe.
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Postby scorched earth on Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:08 am

From the book on Fripp hosted at Progressive Ears (I think I prefer the '79 Frippertronics, hopefully DGM Live will be offering some one day):

On Sunday, February 5, 1978, Fripp made his first official solo appearance in over three years, at the Kitchen in Soho: this was also the first time he used the name "Frippertronics" for his tape-delay system. The concert came about almost by accident: originally Fripp and Joanna Walton had intended to give an intimate performance for invited friends in Walton's apartment; evidently they feared it might get too noisy, and moved the event to the Kitchen.

The concert was written up in the Village Voice by John Piccarella, who describes the atmosphere of anticipation, long lines of people waiting to get in wrapped around the block in the cold. Fripp, perhaps wishing to defuse some of his own anxiety as well as to brace the audience for some very un-King-Crimsonish music, began by comparing his new music to intimate "salon" music; he reportedly "reserved the right to be boring and unintelligent."

The sound, if not the ineffable presence and ambiance, of this event has been preserved on a two-LP bootleg, Pleasures in Pieces. This curious artifact contains five Frippertronics pieces, starkly titled "The First," "The Second," "The Third," "The Fourth," and "The Fifth," as well as a text-music piece by Walton, Fripp, and others, which functioned as an interlude between two Frippertronic sets. Piccarella described Walton's piece as follows: "A taped series of quotations from linguistic philosophers was rendered both sensible and ridiculous by a series of silent physical performances. 'Oblique Strategies,' the set of directional cards written by Eno and Peter Schmidt, were circulated among several performers whose movements were, presumably, improvised according to the cards presented. One woman wrote on a large screen what appeared to be transcriptions, literal or otherwise, of the words on the cards ..."

The Frippertronics improvisations from this concert are among the very finest I have heard, quite outstripping similar efforts on Let the Power Fall and other records. Particularly noteworthy are the almost constant changes of texture, from drone-based to melodic/motivic to harmonic, so that the overall mass of sound, though formed out of almost endless repetition of fragments, tends to develop significantly from one minute to the next. Fripp's potential for seemingly unending flights of melodic imagination is nowhere more evident. From a musician's point of view, I find Fripp's control of mode and key in these pieces masterful. "The First," for instance, begins with staccato points outlining the F-major triad; a short melodic riff C-Db-Eb introduces a menace of F-minor modality; before long, the note Gb darkly plays against the prevailing F tonic; A and Ab make explicit the tension between major and minor; eventually, after many ambiguities and modal excursions, the music slides effortlessly into Bb major, and later into Gb major.

Reading through certain pieces in Bach's late monument to strict polyphony, The Art of the Fugue, at the keyboard, I have a vision that the Baroque master was in effect thinking in several keys at once, that the nominal tonic of D minor is expanded to embrace a whole system or complex of closely-related keys - A minor, F major, E minor, G, C, and so on - which magically cohere to form one unified super-key or super-mode through which Bach leads his lines with effortless grace. Something similar happens in Frippertronics from time to time, Frippertronics, like fugue, being an art-form of (technological) imitative polyphony. In less technical language (though what is music theory if not a language of the spirit?), Piccarella summed up Fripp's Kitchen soloing as "dazzling, wandering up and down scales like John Coltrane, bending and screaming atonalities like Schoenberg gone punk. He warps notes into imaginary territory the way television spills electrons into an image."
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Postby MiKcrobe on Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:09 pm

Here's a little more information about it (apparently there were two performances that day, and no one has ever determined whether Pleasures in Pieces is from the first or second performance): ... dHouse.htm
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Postby gboland on Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:52 pm

I have a copy of Pleasure in Pieces (In a queue to be put onto CD, as my turntable is knackered), which I have on good authority is the first show, I also have a tape which is supposed to be the 2nd show (I'll have to to put that show on to CD as well, keep my mate busy), I can't be certain that my information is correct though. I'm listening to the tape of the second show now, the quality is very good. Once I get PIP onto CD I'll compare the two and see what I come up with. I've also got copies from The Kitchen, June 24th, 27th & 30th 1979.
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