Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Robert Fripp

  • Exposure [Polydor, 1979] B+
  • The League of Gentlemen [Polydor, 1981] B
  • Let the Power Fall (An Album of Frippertronics) [Editions EG, 1981] B-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Exposure [Polydor, 1979]
Fripp has always been a bit of a jerk, but over the years he's figured out what to do with the talent that goes along with his affliction. This concept album earns its conceit, orchestrating bits and pieces of art-rock wisdom--from punk to Frippertronics, from King Crimson to singer-songwriter--into a fluent whole. Maybe soon he'll get smart enough to forget about J.G. Bennett. "It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering" isn't exactly big news, and old Crimson fans will swallow side two without the caveat. B+

The League of Gentlemen [Polydor, 1981]
Much as I admire Karen Durbin, Chip Stern, Terre Roche, Richard Goldstein, and Ellen Willis, to list only those commentators whose spoken overlays I recognize from personal conversation, I'm just as glad none of them was theorizing in my ear during last year's League of Gentlemen gigs at Irving Plaza, where Fripp's "dance band" sounded somewhat less dinky. And that goes double for J.G. Bennett. B

Let the Power Fall (An Album of Frippertronics) [Editions EG, 1981]
I admit to having sat mesmerized as Fripp spun out his austerely lyrical guitar loops, but having examined a set at my leisure I can only assume that the fine distinction between the trance and the nod took me in again. Always have trouble with that mystical stuff. B-