After completing the first round of concerts with a revived King Crimson starting in May 1981, Robert Fripp headed over to the U.S.A., where he began a week-long residency at Washington Square United Methodist Church on 135 W. Fourth St. in New York. Built in 1860, the church had historically been home to many congregations, but in more recent years had become the venue for groups such as the Black Panthers, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and numerous arts organizations.
This particular series of Frippertronics concerts was held in support of a Soho-based theatre group and Fripp uses his technique of slowly building the music, step by step, from the ground up. It’s an approach which demonstrates how the addition or subtraction of a single note can change the entire mood of a piece as one moves in the space of a few bars from an atmosphere of pensive anticipation to one of yearning hope.
For high resolution audio collectors, the CD + audio only DVD set which has been mixed and produced by David Singleton from audio restored by Alex R. Mundy, includes the material in 48kHz / 24-bit hi-res stereo and DTS-HD 4.1 (quad) surround sound. The Washington Square Church performances represent some of the finest recorded examples of the Frippertronics series. Unlike other such recordings where the loops are on tape in the DGM archive, but the solos require painstaking matching of existing audience recordings and bootlegs to those loops to complete the picture, the solos for these shows were actually recorded but not labelled as to which solos matched which loops. The matched pairs only became possible when DGM audio engineer Alex R. Mundy realized that the loops had been picked up, at microscopic audio levels, by the guitar pick-ups playing the solos, allowing for identification. David Singleton was then able to mix and produce the resulting audio.
Note that more complete versions appear on the super deluxe Exposures boxed set, wherein Fripp appears to explore every sonic avenue available to him as a guitar player. Listeners will hear mesmerizing loops overlaid with beautiful solos, fast-running Frame by Frame-style lines against a looped background, powerful Scary Monsters-type guitar noises and much more.
Best for collectors not ready to dip into the massive Exposure box, yet still seeking a deep dive into Frippertronics, this is really the Frippertronics album that should have come out in 1982. Still 40 years later it is as powerful and meditative as it was performed back then.
Released April 29, 2022.
CD + DVD with 48kHz / 24-bit 4.1 quad and 2.0 stereo mixes. Also available on Vinyl.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.