I Advance Masked – Andy Summers and Robert Fripp

Front cover

So – first off – this collaboration from the then chart-dominating guitarist with the Police, and King Crimson guitar geek-god Robert Fripp. The two of them decamped to the delightfully named Arnys Shack with a barrowload of guitars and gear, and this is the result.Our heroes
A curiosity at the time, with a considerably heavy instrumental armoury including the then currently trendy Roland guitar synths, you might think this would have dated as badly as Nick Beggs’ hairstyle – but you would be wrong. In fact I reckon its as fresh as the day it was minted, mainly due to the witty, acerbic and just plain beautiful (and occasionally ugly) guitaring contained in the grooves. Comprising thirteen tracks the mood swirl enticingly from the typical polyrhythmic Fripperies of the title track, overlaid with Summers’ twangier lead phrases, bluesing away with forays into atonality and envelope pushing jazziness. Chugging rhythms are in the minority though as many of the tracks paint pictures with watercoulour brushstrokes of synth washes and delicately plucked harmonics , with the delicate flute-like purity of Fripp’s classic overdriven gibson (In The Cloud Forest, Girl on a Swing, Still Point and Lakeland/Aquarelle).
The titles are, for once on an instrumental album, highly apposite, Under Bridges of Silence motors along on overlapping guitar figures following a gong laden intro, New Marimba’s guitars echo the percussive nature of that instrument, whilst the concluding Seven On Seven and Stultified venture into the realms of number-crunching atonality.


The whole package is highly pleasing, with its quirky cover image and hand written lettering, although which of the protagonist is which will be left up to you to decide!
I reckon this charmer is as persuasive an argument for the existence of each guitarist, as any of their more famous offerings, and it has a real low-key charm lacking in their other work, (low-key being something I have always been rather keen on).

Not sure you can get a hard-copy, but iTunes seems to still have it.

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One Response to I Advance Masked – Andy Summers and Robert Fripp

  1. Sylvain says:

    Thanks for writing about such great albums of pure music!

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