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Monday, March 05, 2012

The Wine Of Silence Fripp / Keeling / Singleton

Fripp / Keeling / Singleton
The Wine Of Silence

It’s been a long time coming has this one. Fripp’s soundscapes have always suggested they’d be remarkable in an orchestral setting and so it’s proved to be. Yet the transition hasn’t been easy or obvious, and anyone expecting this to be a straight-forward guitar-as-orchestra playback is in for a surprise.

Dating back to the summer of 2000 when Bert Lams’ (of the California Guitar Trio) handed over his painstaking transcriptions to Keeling, the Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam performed these pieces in 2003. However, a further eight years have passed before these pieces have been deemed ready to see the light of day. 

Just as Keeling himself used the original ‘scapes as a starting point for further melodic and harmonic exploration, long-term Fripp associate and producer David Singleton, has taken the Metropole recording to generate multiple layers and extra patina in much the same way as the guitarist might have manipulated his digital sources during a concert.

The results of this intriguing collaboration are immense and powerful. While Keeling’s sensitive orchestrations emphasise the contemplative reverie of Pie Jesu and the elegiac Midnight Blue, it’s the middle of the album where he vividly and persuasively articulates the more challenging elements contained within the soundscapes equation.

Here the pensive atmospheres of Black Light, Miserere Mei and Requiescat, enigmatically swirl and coalesce into what is in effect a 34 minute suite of impassioned ferocity. Their shimmering tonality encompasses luminous passages of yearning melody, turbulent percussive rumblings, glowering, sepulchral brass undertows and achingly beautiful strings.

Perhaps the most impressive passages come from the startling choral sequences, which in part take their text from the Anglican burial service, and provide some truly arresting and awe-inspiring moments found on the album.

Occasionally evoking the works of Pärt, Górecki, Tavener and others belonging to the ‘holy minimalist’ school of composition, although Fripp is not physically present on this recording, The Wine of Silence nevertheless burns brightly with his intense musicality.

Available from April 30th 2012


steven said...

sid i bet i'm not alone in saying that i've waited - patiently even - for this to rise to the surface. steven

Sid Smith said...

It's been a long time coming (as they say) but it's been worth the wait!

Will said...

If I wasn't already excited by the prospect of this album, your review would have sold it to me.

Sid Smith said...

I think this will be right up your street, Will.

Navdeep Jhaj said...

So I understand this process as layers of the onion- (1) Fripp recorded a soundscape: (2) Person B transcribed the soundscape; (3) Person C fleshed out the transcription to a full orchestral score; (4) Person D conducted a European orchestra to perform the orchestra; (5) Person E took the recording of the orchestra and remixed it (assumption: multi-tracked recording, in which each instrument section was recorded separately? I.e., the way Zappa recorded an orchestra? ) Another issue: how does one notate, in standard notation, the blips/bleeps/squonks and squeaks of Fripp's rig? People used to indicate, with asterisks (*) the inadequacy of properly notating the transcriptions of Monk's tunes--and he was playing a linear, technology-free, even-tempered instrument, i.e.. a piano (!)--I'm thinking the 8 years had to do with dealing with the bleeps, blips, squonks, squeaks of the electronic aspects of Fripp's rig/playing.

Sid Smith said...

Hi there Nav,
the score for the album can be found here

Erik Varga said...

Wow..., Enticing review Sid!!!! I've been listening to the original Internet broadcast of this concert for years and am gratefully looking forward to the official CD product. I don't see mention of Midnight Blue, Dangerous Curves, Red or Larks II but I am fairly certain that material was performed by the OrKchestra.

Cheers & Thank You, Vargan

Sid Smith said...

There's none of the Crimson choons on this release. That suits me to be honest as I found them pretty unconvincing - never can get away with it when an orchestra 'rocks' up.Midnight blue is on the new release btw.


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