Robert Fripp contributes very Fripp-like guitar soundscapes to new collaborative effort with electronic act The Grid

Robert Fripp has been plenty busy of late with his rather awesome Sunday Lunch covers series, which has seen him tackle everything from Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid with wife Toyah Wilcox.

But the King Crimson electric guitar legend has also apparently carved out time to lay down some trademark six-string soundscapes with his old collaborators The Grid, a duo composed of Richard Norris and Soft Cell’s Dave Ball, which can be heard on their new release, Leviathan.

Ball and Norris have collaborated with Fripp in the past, including on The Grid’s 1992 album, 456, and the follow up, 1994’s Evolver

Said Norris of those collabs, “Robert’s craft and musicianship was slightly daunting to us at first, being from a more DIY, post-punk electronic background, but we soon worked out a language to communicate in. ‘Make it sound like a thunderstorm…,’ ‘I’m going to make a sound like a bomb’, that kind of thing. After every track, Robert would say ‘Have you got any more?’ and seemed to be greatly enjoying himself. He was a very generous guest.”

A few years ago, The Grid rediscovered tapes from these sessions, including unreleased tracks they’d worked up but never completed or mixed. A set of long solo drone pieces from Fripp was discovered along with a lost track that was then remixed to become A Cabala Sky by The Grid / Fripp and released as part of Bill Brewster’s Late Night Tales compilation series in 2014.

Further Fripp soundscapes from the same period were added to the mix by David Singleton of DGM (the record label founded by Fripp), which inspired The Grid to add new synths, drums, programming and effects to create Leviathan.

Regarding the title, Norris said, “I like Philip Hoare’s book Leviathan, which is about his obsession with whales and whale watching and the awe of coming into contact with such massive creatures. They are quite mysterious. Their brains are enormous, and we don’t quite know what all the brain power is doing… A bit like Robert, really.”

As for the music, Norris said, "Robert turned up with a truck load of amps and effects, two great big stacks including delay units with a 76 second delay and played and played and played.”

Leviathan is released June 25 on double disc CD/DVD, 2LP 200 gram super-heavyweight vinyl and as a digital album. You can check out one track, Fire Tower, above, and preorder the full album here.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.