Friday, December 31, 2010

At the Kitchen in New York City...

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 ..."


by Eric Tamm


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