Monday, April 23, 2007

could be wrong. could be right.

Discussion about Robert Fripp prompted by the above.

First email: I agree. Fripp is less interesting and, I think, less innovative than he thinks and I, for one, used to think. Give me Fred Frith any day. Fripp is so repetitive, and relies upon, what amount to and what sound like, atonal scalic exercises, played 16 notes to the bar. He too often lacks soul, in my view; variety - light and shade - also is commonly lacking. The Belew solo on the Elephant Talk film is both lots more interesting and more human. Belew, I think, is more reactive, more context-reactive; Fripp, I think, pre-decided his contribution; and thus his contribution is weirdly separate and transferable. The contrast works in KC; adding to their interest-value, I think. But, taken in isolation, Fripp's output is just less interesting, I find. He's a posh twat, too.
Second email: Generally, cf. other KC response. To add, though: the Fripp quote ("purely through hard work one can become an artist") is limited, I think. He has a point, yes; but I think he views this as a kind of clever nutshellish/essentialist categorical imperative; whereas I would say it is only effective as part of the picture. He's a bit too GCSE maths; whereas one needs the weirdness and fuzziness of all that spooky quantum stuff as well. That is to say, perspiration is great and has been underrated perhaps, but one needs more than labour to affect art. I think Fripp's determination has a restorative function and shows he has an axe to grind, in that sense: ie. he wants to centralise the idea of practice as a fund of creativity. I'm with him, here. But he gets too totalising; too headline-ish; too polemical. The truth is almost always more even than that, but perhaps doesn't sound as good. In my old age, however, I think measured accuracy is sexier and more interesting than immature and overly-reductive bad poetry.


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