Fripp + Eno

Beyond Even (1992-2006) | Opal
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 25, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
This collection of odds and sods isn’t exactly your father’s ambient music, though guitarist Robert Fripp and keyboardist/sonic sculptor Brian Eno are certainly the genre’s papas. The soothing, microtonal, slow-changing tides of textured keyboard sounds and the gently ebbing and swelling guitar-and-tape-loop melodies of their seminal early collaborations like 1975’s Evening Star are supplanted by a beat-driven approach that’s closer to the contemporary definition of ambient music — a dance genre created by a generation of generally less imaginative successors. For that reason, this album often seems a capitulation to trend, even if the shimmering “Gasp” resists the tug of the beat for the more subtle intrigue of, well, something closer to a gentle breeze, and “Sneering Loop” growls out an unaccompanied pattern of menacing guitar warbles. Still, when stick-bass player Trey Gunn joins the duo for the closing “Cross Crisis in Lust Storm,” an industrial whip-crack rhythm provides more tension than the old-school approach ever could.
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