‘Discretion’ is the brand new album by pioneering guitar legend Robert Fripp and flautist/saxophonist Theo Travis made available for Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound in stunning 24 bit high quality digital format. The music follows on from the duo’s previous album releases and combines almost telepathic interplay with a deep understanding of musical texture and space, the building of long slow melodies, and the creation of slowly shifting harmonic soundscapes.
Although the titles to several of the tracks may be the same as those at Broad Chalke, the performance in front of a large audience has a much grander and at times, darker feel, to the previous evening. The difference can be heard almost immediately in the opening track. Whereas, The Apparent Chaos of Stone was a more languorous affair at Broad Chalke, here at Bishop’s Cleeve, Fripp begins to throw some startling curve-balls of pensive guitar after only a few minutes. Given the slow silky tones that makes up much of the opening piece it can be easy to miss some of the detailed interplay that occurs between the two players.
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The chiming notes of a very Mahavishnu Orchestra sounding guitar open the tension-rich "Fire Mountain" hotly pursued by Theo Travis' intense tenor sax soloing and coruscating axe work from Mike Outram. A change of pace is heard in the title track, beginning slowly but gradually building-up in pace and volume, Outram's fuzzy guitar twinned with Travis' sax comprise the melodic driving force, all underpinned by organ from Pete Whittaker and crackling drums from seasoned percussionist Nic France. The pressure continues to build courtesy of a keen ensemble riff reaching a climax until it dies back into the opening reflective sax-led balledic theme.
Following on from the previous evening’s performance at Wimborne Minster, Travis & Fripp decamp to Broad Chalke. Around 50 or so people gratefully exchanged the sweltering heat outdoors for All Saints’ cool stone walls and lofty wooden rafters. Working in a productive mixture of agreed areas (such as a key or a “feel”) and complete improvisation, the performance is a delicately tightrope walk between two worlds. Perhaps due to differences of venues, times and the occasion (this was ostensibly a fund-raiser for the local school), the music seemed lighter in tone compared to the more sombre mood struck the previous evening.