At the same time Brian Eno was working on Here Come the Warm Jets, he was flexing his experimental muscle with this album of tape delay manipulation recorded with Robert Fripp. In a system later to be dubbed Frippertronics, Eno and Fripp set up two reel-to-reel tape decks that would allow audio elements to be added to a continuing tape loop, building up a dense layer of sound that slowly decayed as it turned around and around the deck's playback head. Fripp later soloed on top of this. No Pussyfooting represents the duo's initial experiments with this system, a side each.
One of the originators of the ambient music genre, Robert Fripp has expanded beyond the recording studio to create lush soundscapes in various alternate locations. For AT THE END OF TIME, Fripp chose a collection of churches in England and Estonia and created music that is both devotional and envelope-pushing. It's not the typical soundtrack for a house of worship, but Fripp uses the cavernous spaces effectively, creating gorgeous, meandering tracks full of celestial echo.
For their first album, Caravan was surprisingly strong. While steeped in the same British psychedelia that informed bands such as Love Children, Pink Floyd, and Tomorrow, Caravan relates a freedom of spirit and mischief along the lines of Giles, Giles & Fripp or Gong. The band's roots can be traced to a British blue-eyed soul combo called the Wilde Flowers. Among the luminaries to have passed through this Caravan precursor were Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, and Hugh Hopper and Brian Hopper (pre-Soft Machine, naturally). By the spring of 1968, Caravan had settled nicely into a quartet consisting of Pye Hastings (guitar/bass/vocals), Richard Coughlan (drums), David Sinclair (organ/vocals), and Richard Sinclair (bass/guitar/vocals). Inspired by the notoriety and acclaim that Soft Machine encountered during the burgeoning days of London's underground scene, Caravan began a residency at the Middle Earth club. Additionally, the band was shopping a homemade demo tape around to local record companies.
Former Police guitarist Andy Summers is no stranger to collaborations, and has paired himself with a bevy of intriguing artists (Robert Fripp, Bill Evans, Fernanda Takai) over the course of his 12 studio albums. Jazz, fusion, avant-garde, and tropicalia have all been explored by this prolific guitar hero, but the one thing he hasn't done since the Police's 1986 breakup is form a legitimate rock band. Working with Rob Giles of L.A. super-songwriter combo the Rescues in what turned out to be a full-on band project, Summers revisits the punchy pop/rock style that made the Police one of the biggest and most influential acts of the 1980s.