In 2012 Robert Fripp announced his retirement from the music industry, declaring it to be “a joyless exercise in futility”. However the enigmatic guitarist does have a history of prematurely handing in his notice, and despite his earlier pronouncement Fripp’s latest version of King Crimson (mk 8) has just completed a highly successful UK tour.

In celebration of his unpredictable creative muse, we look at 10 instances of the often unlikely team-ups which dot Fripp’s celebrated career.

top 10 great Robert Fripp collaborations : number 1 Brian Eno

In 1973 Fripp was big news because of King Crimson , while Eno had established himself via Roxy Music and his pioneering ambient record Discreet Music. Together they produced (No Pussyfooting), which blended the pair’s talents to dramatic, hypnotic effect. The album was a definitive piece of alternative music – a slowly stirring cauldron of ingredients at once soothing and alarming, a formative tract on the development of drone and dark ambient.

They did further work together on Evening Star (1975) and The Equatorial Stars (2004), but nothing would surpass the brilliance of that first collaboration.

Fripp & Eno – The Heavenly Music Corporation

For number 2 in our top 10 Robert Fripp collaborations please go here

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  1. I have to say I rate Evening Star higher than the rest of Fripp’s work with Eno. Something resonates in that album, it is harmonic, meditative and transcendent yet it also has the ability to provoke and challenge the listener. The word ambient now refers to elevator musak – but it really should be describing the quite amazing stuff Eno & Fripp created.

    And no list of Fripp’s collaborations would be complete without mention of his work on Peter Gabriel’s best – and sometimes overlooked album – the third untitled album aka “melt”.* His jagged, angular attack underpinned an album exploring Gabriel’s themes of isolation, alienation and future-shock dehumanization. This album more than any got me through adolescence.

    *As an aside, this album also gave birth to Phil Collins much-nicked “gated drum” sound due to Gabriel’s insistence on “no cymbals”.


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