Robert Fripp is like a box of chocolates. One minute he's the evil scientist pumping out some of the most intense and disturbing metal ever recorded with the boys in King Crimson, and the next minute he's a new age disciple using his guitar to create incredibly soothing and "healing" textures. A Temple in the Clouds - a collaboration with keyboardist Jeffrey Fayman - would fall in the latter camp as it is a collection of Fripp's patented "Soundscapes" mixed in with Fayman's keyboards stylings and some ambient outdoor sounds. If the goal of the music (actually, calling it music is a stretch - "ambient backgrounds" would be more appropriate) is to put the listener in almost a meditative trance-like state, A Temple in the Clouds succeeds on every level. After listening to this CD multiple times, I literally felt as if every muscle in my body had called out sick and gone to Tahiti.
According to the liner notes, in 1992 Fripp and Fayman took a pilgrimage to the Greek temple of Anapraxis (along with three tons of recording equipment) with the idea of hopefully capturing some of the mystique of ancient Greece on tape. The sounds captured there - along with some samples from Fripp's Let the Power Fall, - comprise the four tracks on A Temple in the Clouds. Musically speaking, the tracks are mostly exercises in patience and subtlety - the slow chord changes take you from Point A to Point B without really allowing you to remember how you got there. Fripp's guitar acts as the foundation for the CD, while Fayman colors in the spaces with sweeping synthesizers that lend an almost ominous tone to the tracks. The prime example of this eeriness is the 30-minute title track - by the time I was 10 minutes into the track I was definitely completely relaxed, but there was also a residual feeling of something not quite being right.
So if your interest lies in Fripp's guitar chops and "traditional" song structure, you won't be happy here. But, if you're looking for ambient sounds that patch directly into the very essence of what you are, then look no further than A Temple in the Clouds. I guarantee that no matter how stressed and anxious you may feel from the mundane day-to-day existence on planet Earth, spending an hour Fripp and Fayman will put your mind and body at ease - and in these hectic and fast-paced times an experience like A Temple in the Clouds is priceless.
Track Listing: 1. The Pillars of Hercules (15:23); 2. The Sky Below (4:32); 3. A Temple in the Clouds (30:59); 4. The Stars Below (3:30)
Personnel: Jeffrey Fayman: Synthesizers; Robert Fripp: Guitars, Soundscapes, Frippertronics
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.