Monday, June 25, 2012

Robert Fripp: Collaborations & Guest Appearances

I used to be a big fan of King Crimson, and collected over 50 DGM CDs (by the way I am 28). I still regard Robert Fripp as a formidable guitarist; his attempt to fight unlicensed services like Grooveshark has my utmost support, but his dogmatic attitude towards digital music finally made me give up listening to King Crimson regularly.

What are successful artists doing nowadays? Beastie Boys gave 50 cameras to fans before a concert, asked them to shoot the gig in different angles and made a feature film. Grateful Dead had a long history of helping bootleggers to tape their concerts, and guess what? When they released a giant 73-CD, $450 box-set of the Europe '72 tour last year, the initial 7200 copies of the limited edition were sold out in four days, and made the Dead $3.24 million. I wonder if the annual revenue of DGM exceeds that figure.

I have no intention to embarrass Mr. Fripp as a businessman. It is his music and his call. But as a fan, I can't help but feel sorry for King Crimson, because the decision of not having their music available on iTunes, Amazon MP3 or any digital service including Spotify is damaging their own legacy. Kids today couldn't care less about your too-precious-to-be-digitized music.

I compiled a playlist for recordings that Fripp played guitar on, or contributed Soundscapes. Including David Bowie's Heroes, Brian Eno's St. Elmo's Fire, Future Sound of London's Flak, various projects with King Crimson alumni (Trey Gunn, Tony Levin, Adrian Belew & John Wetton) and many more.

Get this collection in one Spotify playlist here: Robert Fripp: Collaborations & Guest Appearances (75 tracks from 75 albums) Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. Complete discography here. I noticed that when Europa String Choir's album The Starving Moon, originally a DGM release, was re-licensed to other labels and became available on Spotify, the sole track Fripp played on (ironically, it's titled The Saving Grace) was deleted. I admire Mr. Fripp's determination, and sincerely hope he leaves Bowie and Eno alone.


  1. With so many CD shops closing down, there soon won't be anywhere to buy his music except in second-hand shops.

  2. I agree. I was a big King Crimson fan; well, a fan of King Crimson 1. I saw the band on the Discipline tour, and found them to be quite unimpressive. But I'm a big fan of Robert Fripp's many recordings with Brean Eno and others. And the Here Comes the Flood with Peter Gabriel is one of my favorite songs of the period; it's much better than the version that Gabriel recorded on his own album. And without Fripp, "Heroes" wouldn't be the great song that it is.

    I would gladly buy some old Crimson live recordings. I know there were some, that were very expensive, and I've never heard any of them.