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Fripp & Eno
THE EQUATORIAL STARS
(Inner Knot)

Back in the early 1970s, when guitarist Robert Fripp and keyboardist Brian Eno invented ambient music as a pop form, it was strictly chill: no electrobleeps or rhythm programming, all smooth textures moving with the slow ebb and flow of tectonic plates. And it was beautiful music for regrouping the mind and spirit. It also paved the way for the new-age sound, but nailing this trailblazing duo for that is like blaming John Coltrane for Kenny G. Thirty years later, Fripp and Eno have reunited, and their command of the style remains stunning. These seven cuts adhere to their old formula. Eno creates sheets of gently flowing sound that Fripp skates over, playing graceful, rich-toned single-note melodies with the occasional dark shading. Most of this album conjures the same magic as their classics, No Pussyfooting and Evening Star (both on Island). "Ankaa," "Meissa," and "Lyra," in particular, create a feeling of suspended time as they gently evolve. "Altair" acknowledges the current state of ambient; itís driven by a pulsing rhythm, and Fripp even takes a pretty stab at his own version of a Jimmy Nolen scratch rhythm. But there arenít any bombs or slamming beats here. That would be disturbing and corporeal. Fripp and Eno remain committed to making heavenly music.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI


Issue Date: May 27 - June 2, 2005
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