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Live In Paris
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The subject of many poor quality bootlegs, this concert - one of only a handful undertaken by Fripp & Eno - is routinely described as legendary .
Hearing the tapes in fully restored audio quality, it's easy to understand why it attracts such reverence now and perhaps, why the shows attracted such hostility then. No Roxy Music hits, No King Crimson riffs, just a duo sitting in near darkness with a reel to reel tape recorder, improvising over the pre-recorded loops with a filmed background projection. Replace the reel to reel machine with a couple of laptops/iPads/sequencers and the core of much current live performance from electronica to hip-hop was there some thirty years in advance. At the time, audiences responded to such a glimpse of the future with booing, walkouts and general confusion.
Thanks to the discovery and restoration of the original backing tapes, it was possible - with much painstaking restoration work by Alex Mundy at DGM - to isolate, de-noise and match the live elements from the performance tapes to the studio loops to produce the final recording.
* CDs 1 & 2 feature the complete concert with full audio restoration synched with the original studio backing loops as used in the performance.
* CD3 features the backing loops without overdubs.
* CD3 also features the reversed loop for Wind on Water as used on the Evening Star album.
* CD3 also features Later On, edited from No Pussyfooting & originally the B-side of Eno's first solo single Seven Deadly Finns .
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I remember spending a full year tracking down this recording when it was only available as a double-LP bootleg entitled *Air Structures*. That was in 01979, and I found it almost as breathtaking as the original studio versions but obviously incomplete. For one thing, the final side entitled "An Index of Metals" was a single drone quite unlike the studio version on *Evening Star* and clearly continuing past what could be fitted on a vinyl record.
A few other bootlegs of material, one of the same show (25 May 01975 at the Olympia in Paris) and one of a subsequent show (8 June 01975 at the Palladium in London), eventually surfaced with other titles, eventually ending up on CD with more complete renditions. Copies still occasionally turn up on eBay.
This is the intended definitive "official" release of the 25 May show, improved by the addition of stage tapes recently discovered in Brian Eno's extensive collection of unreleased material. Those fortunate enough to have found *Air Structures* will recall much of this material and appreciate the vastly better production.
Unfortunately ... this explains the three stars ... it is still incomplete! "Wind on Wind" (a lengthy rendition of what Eno would release separately as *Discreet Music*) on CD-1 has been inexplicably cut to around five minutes. As a result, the CD now clocks in with just a little over 30 minutes of music on it! There was plenty of room on the CD for the entire piece. As it stands, some of the mood is lost. I found myself longing for my old copy of *Air Structures* (or the bootleg CD entitled *Stars in Paris*) which gave listeners the whole thing.
Moreover, the version of "An Index of Metals" on CD-2 ends with such jarring suddenness that on the first listening I wondered if my power had suddenly gone out! This, too, is hard to understand because upon checking, I found that this CD has just over an hour of music on it. It could have held at least ten more minutes, and possibly, with judicious editing of earlier material, the entire recording of what is still easily the best single piece of "dark ambient" ever made!
I also found myself preferring the *Air Structures* evocative titles ("Peter's Clock" and "Oaken Gates") to the more whimsical ones here ("A Near Find in Rip Pop," "A Fearful Proper Din," etc.), but that's a lesser complaint than the above. In short, if you're looking for a complete recording of that famous show, this isn't it, and it's disappointing given what this package costs! What's here is worth having if you're a maniac collector who absolutely must have everything Fripp & Eno ever did together, but I'd hesitate to describe this as an absolutely definitive rendition of what was probably the best of those shows.
I have a CD clock radio about 25 feet from where I lay my head , and every night for the past 5 weeks (i obtained a copy from a different site) , I have had disc 2 quietly playing in the background.....Drifting in and out of REM sleep and hearing the quiet stabs of Fripp / Eno , quietly erase away all the day's challenges.
Not a disc to "jam to" driving down the road , but the PERFECT disc to massage your mind and expand your mental horizons.
"Live in Paris 28.05.1975" (3 CDs; 23 tracks; 155 min.) opens with of course the actual concert, and CD1 (31 min.) is, I must say, a bit of a curious affair: the excellent liner notes (written by Al Okada) make clear that CD1 represents the first half of the show so I am reasonably certain that there was more than 30 min. of music before intermission. Maybe there were technical difficulties with the recording? In any event, the quality of the music is quite good. But it's with CD2 (63 min.) that Fripp & Eno really take flight, opening set 2 with a gorgeous 10 min. stretching "Wind on Water". The songs kinda melt from one into the next, and I don't mean that as a complaint. For me, the big surprise of this release is CD 3 (61 min.), which bring a series of test loops (taken from the pre-concert sound check) and loop-only (taken from Eno's stage tapes) tracks. I find them to be absolutely fascinating. The afore-mentioned "Wind on Water" is presented twice more: in a 'regular' Loop Only version, and then in a 'reversed' Loop Only, the latter sounding surprisingly good. This odds-and-ends CD closes with "Later On", which was the B side to Eno's 1974 single "Seven Deadly Finns". "Late On" is subtitled "A Collage of Extracts from Fripp/Eno No Pussyfooting", just to give you an idea.
Bottom line: while this release is not without flaw (check CD 1), it nevertheless contains more than enough gems to satisfy any casual (?) Fripp & Eno fan, and certainly enough to justify buying this. I wish I had found out about this release when it first came out in 2014, but better late than never. "Live in Paris 28.05.1975" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!