Exposé Online banner

Robert Fripp String Quintet — The Bridge Between
(DGM DR 9303 2, 1993, CD)

by George Allen, Published 1994-08-01

The Bridge Between Cover art

Robert Fripp's latest release, The Bridge Between, is credited to 'The Robert Fripp String Quartet,' comprised of Fripp, Trey Gunn on Stick, and The California Guitar Trio. The album is a sophisticated entertainment, consisting of live performances with some unspecified overdubs ("to give a thicker texture than was possible live" says the co-producer David Singleton in the liner notes). This is also a fun album that covers a lot of musical territory. Part of the fun for me was trying to figure out who does what in the music, that is, what instrument is making what sound. The pieces are highly arranged, this is no loose blowing session. The arrangements are generally interesting; in the speedier numbers the CGT usually act as a rhythm section by the use of short cyclic riffs using pitch intervals typical of Red-era King Crimson. Gunn supplies keyboard/synth/Mellotron-like washes of tone color, and Fripp solos above all this. The result, on songs like the opener "Kan-Non Power" is an energetic cousin to classic aggressive late Crimson. Very nice. The connection to Red-era KC is made explicit in the piece "Blue" (get it?), with Fripp reprising his justly-lauded "Starless" guitar solo in a duo with Gunn's synth washes (what the song credits call a "soundscape"). Sometimes, as in "Blockhead," by Paul Richards of the CGT, Gunn's Stick plays a bass part as well as supplying harmonic material. The album has a varied pacing. Gunn supplies a solo performance of Bach's "Chromatic Fantasy" and the CGT supply a version of Bach's "Contrapuntus" and a Bach "Passacaglia". The CGT's Bach performances, to my ears, sound almost exactly like a harpsichord performance, with their plucked taut steel guitar strings imitating a harpsichord's plucked strings. These pieces serve to add variety and break up what could be an unmitigated Fripp-fest. The composing credits on the album are pretty much an even split between Fripp, Gunn, members of the CGT, and Bach. The big statement of the album seems to be the final number, "Threnody for Souls in Torment," written by Fripp and Gunn. This almost-thirteen-minutes-long album-closer features tons of atmosphere at a slow tempo. One could call it "Ambient Music for Souls in Torment." While a credible effort and interesting enough on its own terms, I enjoy the shorter, more animated pieces preceding it. To summarize, this album is essential for Fripp fans, and is much more accessible and unified than Fripp's last few efforts. It contains a lot of material which will appeal to listeners who may have enjoyed Red-era KC but have not been so thrilled by his Frippertronics / League of Gentlemen / Crafty Guitarists work.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 4, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Fripp, Bert Lams, Trey Gunn, California Guitar Trio

Latest news

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Motis - L'homme-loup & Live Crescendo – Motis is a talented French group who create what might be called medieval progressive rock. They are deeply influenced by the literature and myths of the Knights of the Round Table, the Song of...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues