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Robert Fripp

 B i o g r a p h y

Robert Fripp (born May 16, 1946 in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England) is a guitarist and a composer, perhaps best known for his founding role in the band King Crimson. His work, spanning more than three decades, encompasses a variety of musical styles. He is married to Toyah Willcox.

Early career

Fripp's earliest professional work began in 1967, when he responded to an ad looking for a singing organist for a band being formed by bassist Peter Giles and drummer Michael Giles. Though unsuccessful as a live act, Giles, Giles and Fripp did manage to release two singles, as well as an album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp.

Early King Crimson

Following the band's breakup, Fripp, along with drummer Michael Giles, made plans for the formation of King Crimson in 1968, with Greg Lake, Peter Sinfield and Ian McDonald. Their first album, In the Court of the Crimson King, was released in late 1969, to mixed critical reviews. King Crimson broke up shortly after the release of the first album, to be re-formed again several times over the years. Robert Fripp has remained the only consistent member of the band.

Side projects

During King Crimson's less active periods, Fripp pursued a number of side-projects. He worked with Keith Tippett (and others who appeared on King Crimson records) on projects far from rock music, producing Septober Energy in 1971 and Ovary Lodge in 1973. During this period he also worked with Van Der Graaf Generator. Collaborating with Brian Eno, he recorded No Pussyfooting in 1972 and Evening Star in 1974. These two albums featured experimentation with several novel musical techniques, including a tape delay system that would come to play a central role in Fripp's later work. The system was so characteristic of Fripp's work that sounds produced using it came to be known collectively as "Frippertronics". Fripp spent some time away from the music industry in the later 1970s, during which he cultivated an interest in the teachings of Gurdjieff via J.G. Bennett (studies which would later be influential in his work with Guitar Craft). He returned to musical work as a studio guitarist on Peter Gabriel's first self-titled album in 1976, released the following year. Fripp toured with Gabriel to support the album, but remained in the wings and was introduced to audiences as "Dusty Rhodes." In 1977, three years after the breakup of the third incarnation of King Crimson, Fripp received a phone call from Eno, who was working on David Bowie's album "Heroes". Fripp agreed to play guitar for the album, a move which initiated a series of collaborations with other musicians. Fripp soon contributed his musical and production talents to Peter Gabriel's second album, and collaborated with Daryl Hall on Sacred Songs. During this period, Fripp began working on solo material, with contributions from several other musicians, including Eno, Gabriel, and Hall, as well as Peter Hammill, Jerry Marotta, Phil Collins, Tony Levin and Terre Roche. This material eventually became his first solo album, Exposure, released in 1979, followed by the Frippertronics tour in the same year. While living in New York, Fripp contributed to albums and live performances by Blondie and Talking Heads, and produced The Roches' first album. Fripp's collaboration with Buster Jones, Paul Duskin, and David Byrne produced God Save the Queen/Under Heavy Manners in the following year. He simultaneously assembled what he called a "second-division touring new wave instrumental dance band" under the name League of Gentlemen, with Sara Lee, Barry Andrews and Johnny Toobad, for the duration of 1980.

King Crimson again

1981 saw the formation of King Crimson's fourth incarnation, along with Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford, and Tony Levin. The group was conceptualized under the name "Discipline," but it came to Fripp's attention that the members thought the name King Crimson was more appropriate. For Fripp, King Crimson had always been a way of doing things, rather than a particular group of musicians, and the group felt that their music captured that methodology. After releasing three albums, this new King Crimson broke up in 1984; The League of Gentlemen split soon afterward. During this period Fripp made two records with his old friend Andy Summers of the Police. On I Advance Masked, Fripp and Summers played all the instruments. Bewitched was more dominated by Summers, who produced the record and collaborated with other musicians in addition to Fripp.

Guitar Craft

Fripp was offered a teaching position at the American Society for Continuous Education (ASCE) in Claymont Court, West Virginia in 1984. He had been involved with the ASCE since 1978, eventually serving on its board of directors, and had long been considering the idea of teaching guitar. His course, Guitar Craft, was begun in 1985, one of the results of which was a performance group, "The League of Crafty Guitarists," which has released several albums. In 1986, he released the first of two collaborations with his wife, Toyah Willcox. The members of the California Guitar Trio are former members of The League of Crafty Guitarists, and Gitbox Rebellion includes several former Guitar Craft students.


Fripp returned to recording solo in 1994, using an updated version of the Frippertronics technique that employed digital technology instead of tapes to create loops. Fripp released a number of records that he called "Soundscapes," including 1999, Radiophonics, A Blessing of Tears, That Which Passes, November Suite, and The Gates of Paradise. (Pie Jesu consists of material compiled from A Blessing of Tears and The Gates of Paradise.) On the Soundscapes recordings, the inner workings of the music are not as clearly laid bare as they are on Let the Power Fall, perhaps due to the greater possibilities offered by the new technology.

Sylvian / Fripp

Fripp's collaborations with David Sylvian feature some of his most exuberant guitar playing. Fripp contributed to Sylvian's twenty minute track, 'Steel Cathedrals', from his Alchemy - An Index Of Possibilities album of 1985. Then Fripp performed on several tracks from Sylvian's 1986 release, Gone To Earth. At some point in late 1991, Fripp had asked Sylvian to become the vocalist for the reforming King Crimson. Sylvian declined the invitation, but proposed a possible collaboration between the two that would eventually become a tour of Japan and Italy in the spring of 1992. In July of 1993, Sylvian and Fripp released the collaborative effort The First Day. Other contributors were future King Crimson member Trey Gunn on stick and almost future King Crimson member Jerry Marotta on drums. When the group toured to promote the CD, future King Crimson member Pat Mastelotto took over the drumming spot. The live document Damage was released in 1994, as was the joint venture, Redemption - Approaching Silence, which featured Sylvian's ambient sound sculptures (Approaching Silence) accompanying Fripp reading his own text(Redemption).

King Crimson redux

In late 1994, Fripp re-formed the 1981 lineup of King Crimson, adding Trey Gunn and drummer Pat Mastelotto in a configuration known as the "double trio". This lineup released Thrak in 1995. From 1997 to 1999, the band King Crimson "fraKctalised" into four sub-groups known as ProjeKcts. 2000 saw the release of a studio album, The ConstruKction of Light, from yet another setup of King Crimson (Fripp, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto) with The Power to Believe following in 2003. Since then, the lineup has changed again, with Tony Levin returning to replace Trey Gunn.

Recent Work

During 2004, Fripp toured with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as the guitar trio G3. On October 21, 2005, Robert Fripp worked at Microsoft's studios to record new sounds and atmospheres for Windows Vista. Shame on you Robert...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 A l b u m s

A Blessing of Tears: 1995 Soundscapes, Vol. 2 (Discipline Global Mobile, 1995)

with King Crimson:
In the Court of the Crimson King (Virgin Records, 1969)
In the Wake of Poseidon (Virgin Records, 1970)
Lizard (Virgin Records, 1970)
Islands (Virgin Records, 1971)
Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Virgin Records, 1973)
Discipline (Sanctuary Records, 1981)
Beat (Virgin Records, 1982)
Three of a perfect pair (Virgin Records, 1984)
THRAK (Virgin Records, 1995)
ConstruKCtion Of Light (Virgin Records, 2000)
Vrooom Vrooom (Discipline Global Mobile, 2001)