Music Banter - View Single Post - In the Court of King Crimson - The King Crimson Education/Review Thread
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:52 AM   #72 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 278

A tremendous artist and human being, Robert Fripp has inspired me in many directions.

Early in the summer of 1985, I was made aware (from a friend who worked for the same music company that I do now 25 years later) of a chance to study with Fripp, whom he knew I admired greatly. I was shown the magazine article, which I mulled over and eventually inquired into. Soon I found myself to be one of twenty two guitarists from around the world chosen to be the very first Guitar Craft Course.

Robert Fripp, it seems, had taken a teaching position at the American Society for Continuous Education in Claymont Court, West Virginia after serving on the Board of Directors, and this was his immediate task. I was 25 years old and welcomed the opportunity for what I would now consider as a "Rite of Passage".

In October that year, I arrived in West Virginia, at a cold and desolate train station late at night. It had been raining and thunder/ lightning echoed in the sky. I was picked up in a van and shuttled back to what turned out to be George Washington's Nephew's Estate. Most of us had arrived during the day and were already there. I entered into the behemoth mansion that would be my home for the next week, the lightning and thunder increased and I was sure that I had entered The Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson's first album, released in 1969).

We stood in a huge, dark-lit room introducing ourselves and anticipating something! As we mingled among ourselves, with the dramatic help of a lightning bolt to illuminate the area at the top of the stairs, stood Mr. Fripp. This was way too cool and I knew this was going to be life-changing. After greetings and small talk, we were advised to group into threes and fours, we were given the "New Standard Guitar Tuning’ that we would be working with but which none of us knew how to use. We were then informed that we had a gig this Wednesday (three days) at a local watering hole full of rednecks. Terror, delight, anxiety!

This was one of many devices used that week to break down our habits and force us to "Become Awake", as Gurdjieff would put it (a favorite study of Mr. Fripp by the way). We learned Alexander Technique, meditation techniques, various Zen-like activities like performing kitchen duties, enjoyed expertly prepared vegetarian cuisine, discussed musical philosophies over cold pints of home brewed ales, and of course music and technical instruction. The goals were to breakdown and eliminate old practice habits and thoughts and to develop a personal relationship with the instrument, to Become a voice for the Muse to be heard through.

Aside from the disciplined, mind numbing technical prowess this musician has worked towards, Fripp has always ventured into the Dark corners of the World's cultures, a dip into the Underworld if you will, and brought back with him new ways of expression on the guitar, he is without a doubt a true ‘hero' of the guitar in every sense of the Joseph Campbell Word.
Robert Fripp knows how to Remanifest.

Some of these new expressions were exotic scales and sounds from the Middle East and the Gamelan of Indonesia. These sounds on the guitar resonated heavily through me when I heard them then and still do today. So intrigued with them as I have become, they have led me to take up playing fretless guitar and studying ancient music, particularly Egyptian and Persian. From reading much of these music philosophies, I uncovered a universe of deep and metaphysical attributes associated with the creation of music and Creation itself. Of these attributes, one that I find ultimately pulling me towards it, is the Egyptian AUM. Known as OM in Hindu philosophy, it is said to be the Primordial Vibration of the Universe. This subject I hope to understand better and to expand on with the help of the Temple.

At times I have used sigilism, mantras and yantras during the composition process to engulf myself in the essence of what I am working on. This came to fruition with my three part composition for orchestra and fretless guitar, A'nen Sedjet and continues now as I create Initiatory inspired music and sound collages. I greatly look forward to learning advanced magical techniques to create further evolved music from Within.

- SB
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