Fripp & Eno: No Pussyfooting (1973)

Not a rock & roll album by a long shot, but still something I love to pop on with some headphones when I just need to zone out, especially on long flights. (Ah, air travel, now but a distant memory...)

Back in high school in the early 80s, as I was simultaneously exploring prog and new wave/punk, King Crimson and Brian Eno were among my favorite artists, so it seemed obvious to check out the first collaboration between Eno and Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, even thought the reviews I read -- I was relying on the Rolling Stone Record Guide as my personal bible and roadmap -- cautioned that it sounded nothing like Crimson nor Eno's vocal albums of the 70s.

The record, divided into two side-long instrumental suites (further subdivided on later CD releases), is dominated by Fripp's "Frippertronic" experiments -- basically, pre-digital-era sound loops, droning guitar riffs recorded onto tape and looped on top of one another. Eno fleshes out the sound with his own electronic sound washes. The result isn't quite like Eno's later ambient works; it's not exactly soothing background music, Fripp's guitars at times a little more boisterous and jarring than pleasantly insomnia-remediating. Still, it walks that fine line between relaxing and energizing, something you can play after dark if you're in the right mood (perhaps with some chemical enhancement? Just sayin'...) and maybe, if you look at the stars just right, you might find some greater cosmic significance.

The sequel, 1975's Evening Star, is for the most part a more relaxing listen, easing further into ambient music (particularly on the soothing "Wind on Water" and "Wind on Wind"), but the two records are really cut from the same cloth, electronic experimental music for people who still love guitars. Though out of print for some time, both were ultimately released on CD (with the remastered No Pussyfooting also including the entire album played in reverse, 'cuz why not?).

Here's an audio rip of Pt. 2 of "The Heavenly Music Corporation":
...and an audio rip of Pt. 2 of "Swastika Girls":
 Here's a live Fripp/Eno performance from '75 (bootleg recording backed by a slideshow):