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

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Box of Crayons - Colorblind Chameleon – This one took me several listens before I could even begin to pin it down enough to write a review. Covering a wide spectrum of art rock, Box of Crayons are certainly interesting. Their starting point...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues