Mojo (Publisher) - p.1163 stars out of 5
-- "Fripp's bizarre vocodered recitations on the title track usher in a rare example of his unique lead lines snaking across this gently ebbing, airbrushed backdrop..."
Although Robert Fripp's Love Cannot Bear only contains two previously released tracks, it could almost serve as an overview of his Frippertronic/Soundscapes work, since it spans the entire span of this aspect of his music: 1983-2005. Over this time, not only has the technology changed drastically, but Fripp's approach to the pieces themselves has also evolved. As "affirmations," these pieces are all beautiful and elegant, in contrast to some of the more dissonant and atonal soundscapes of the '90s, and each has its own quiet power. Soundscapes of the '90s and beyond have a much wider tonal palette to draw from, like the bell-like tones at the end of "Acceptance - Affirming" or the piano sounds used over the top of the piece on "On My Mother's Birthday" (all coming from his guitar, mind you). "Midnight Blue" sounds more like strings, and "Affirmation: New York" almost sounds like pipe organ. The oldest piece here (originally released as one side of a split flexi-disc with Allan Holdsworth) dates to 1983 and is the only representation here of "original" Frippertronics: Fripp's guitar looped through two Revox reel tape machines. Unlike Let the Power Fall, which was pure Frippertronics, there is some overdubbed soloing on this track. Surprisingly, it's acoustic guitar at the beginning, but soon that wonderfully saturated electric guitar takes over. The other somewhat surprising piece is the title track, which might actually be the first Fripp vocal. Over a lovely soundscape, a vocoded Fripp recites a heartfelt poem about the power of music and silence, then solos over the soundscape. It may be slightly jarring to some, but the processed vocals are fairly unobtrusive. People looking to hear Fripp rock out should look elsewhere. These are refined, contemplative pieces that live far outside the rock tradition. Probably closer in spirit to a Fugue, this is truly beautiful music that is demeaned by the new age label sometimes placed on it. If you're new to Fripp's world of soundscapes, this would be a fine place to start. ~ Sean Westergaard