The latest album by the Churchscape Brothers has just landed on my doormat... and it's their strongest work yet!
Robert Fripp's trademark guitar soundscapes have always produced the best 'hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck' moments when he is playing with other musicians in the room. That is the true nature of collaborative improvisation. It's all about listening to what the other guys are doing and responding (or not) as the music demands. Left to his own devices (ha!) he increasingly has a tendency to repeat himself.
No disrespect meant to all the 'rock' musicians he's played with over the years, but to these ears, it always seems to give his music a shot in the arm when he plays with 'jazz' musicians, people with improvisation in their blood.
Whether it's Keith Tippett et al bringing their collective sound to King Crimson's fabulous, underrated "Lizard" album, or Mel Collins' highly-amplified tenor skronks in the "Islands"-era touring band, or that very same musician's mellifluous alto and soprano sax on last year's "A Scarcity Of Miracles", 'jazz' musicians seem to bring out the best in Fripp.
Fripp's lifelong quest always seemed to me to be about finding ways to bring new technology to improvisation, without losing sight of the humanity at its soul.
His collaborative partnership with Theo Travis is now three-and-a-bit studio albums down the line. In addition, whenever the muse takes them, they have performed together in a number of different kinds of venue, most notably Coventry Cathedral and several West Country village churches. The unadorned live recordings are available through DGMLive and Burning Shed. Although this new album is very much a studio 'construcKtion', taking recordings from these various meetings and then adding new parts or combining them in unusual ways, it nevertheless has the unmistakable sound of two musicians bouncing ideas off each other and enjoying each other's company. Theo's flute work is particularly delightful on this album, often reminding you that he spent some time in the highly-psychedelic company of Daevid Allen's Gong.
I've a strong feeling already that this CD/DVD-A set will be my "Pick O' The Year" when I tot things up after Christmas! Ah! enough of my yakkin' - watch this preview video from the DGM channel of BlipTV and see (and hear) for yourself!
Purchase album from Burning Shed