Jeffrey Fayman and Robert Fripp
A Temple in the Clouds
The concept laid out for this album in the liner notes sounds pretty cool. Imagine a recording session at the mythical island temple of Anapraxis in the southern Mediterranean, where legend has it you can awaken to your past lives. Each of the four tracks is meant to represent one of the past lifetimes Fayman and Fripp supposedly witnessed during their sojourn on Anapraxis, “recorded live from a past life,” as it were (to quote Projekt’s press release).
Too bad the music doesn’t live up to the coolness of the concept. I’m a pretty big fan of Fripp’s work with King Crimson and The League of Crafty Guitarists, so the repetitiveness and lack of originality in most of these tracks surprised me in a particularly unpleasant way (I understand his “Soundscapes” series served as more of the model for his contributions to this album). It’s a real shame, because there are plenty of fascinating bits scattered throughout A Temple in the Clouds, painting very vivid images. Looped synths and samples creating a rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the hull of a ship on a long ocean voyage in “The Pillars of Hercules,” for instance, or blaring Tibetan horns, guttural chants, and throbbing synths of the 31-minute title track, which set an evocative backdrop for your imaginings as the veil is lifted and all your past lives stream past your inner eye at once, overwhelming you with multiple palimpsest visions of who you are and were and will be.
The problem is, these cool bits are all laid out in the first couple minutes of their respective tracks, and then nothing much new or interesting happens for interminably long stretches. Sometimes ambient music can walk a fine line between hypnotic and boring, and A Temple in the Clouds falls on the wrong side of that line.
Projekt Records, PO Box 9140, Long Island City, NY, 11103, http://www.projekt.com