Soundscapes by Robert Fripp is a musical style developed by guitarist Robert Fripp, involving the use of audio loops created and modified by a specific set of digital music synthesizers and digital audio processing devices. It is separate from the soundscape concept utilized by various avant-garde composers.
In the 1990s Fripp revamped the Frippertronics system by incorporating digital electronics in lieu of tape recorders and effects pedals, renaming it Soundscapes.
The audio flow would typically be:
- A guitarist (e.g. Fripp)...
- The energy of which is transmitted to an electric guitar with a guitar synthesizer pickup/interface (e.g. the Roland GK-3) connecting to a guitar synthesizer module (e.g. the GR-33)...
- The output of this being routed to a digital audio processor to add guitar effects to the sound...
- This then is routed to an array of digital delay units (e.g. TC Electronic TC2290). The digital delays are used to create audio loops of various lengths of time. The common method being that one unit would be used to create one complete loop, then another unit to create a different loop. These loops would then be combined into the final audio output, being faded in and out by Fripp during the performance. The loops might not necessarily be heard during their creation, but may be faded in gradually...
- The audio from the digital delays would then be processed by more digital electronics (e.g. the Eventide Harmonizer), then becoming the final composition.
Fripp states on the Discipline Global Mobile web site that Soundscapes: "has the aim of finding ways in which intelligence and music, definition and discovery, courtesy and reciprocation may enter into the act of music for both musician and audience".
Because Fripp has also stated that the intent is for active listening by the audience, it can be argued that Soundscapes may not be considered as a type of ambient music, as it is sometimes described.
The performances are improvised; they can be quite loud, lengthy, dramatic, soothing, eerie, and possibly alarming. Because Soundscapes are often held as part of a rock concert, they can prove somewhat taxing on an unprepared audience.
Another common Fripp quote regarding Soundscapes is: "this remains the best way I know of making a lot of noise with one guitar".
Fripp has performed Soundscapes in several situations:
- Solo concerts; sometimes as music-only, sometimes interspersed with an informal audience Q&A
- On tour with King Crimson
- In concert with Crafty Guitarists
- As part of the G3 (tour) with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani
- As opening act for Porcupine Tree
Fripp has featured Soundscapes on various King Crimson albums.
He has also released pure Soundscape recordings as well:
- 1994 - Robert Fripp 1999 (CD)
- 1996 - Radiophonics: 1995 Soundscapes Volume I (CD)
- 1996 - A Blessing Of Tears: 1995 Soundscapes Volume II (CD)
- 1996 - That Which Passes: 1995 Soundscapes Volume III (CD)
- 1996 - Pie Jesu (CD)
- 1997 - November Suite: Soundscapes - Live at Green Park Station (CD)
- 1997 - The Gates Of Paradise (CD)
- 2005 - Love Cannot Bear: Soundscapes - Live in the USA (CD)
- 2005 - World Financial Centre New York, New York November 30, 2000 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2005 - St Peters Church December 3, 2005 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2005 - Junction, Cambridge UK, December 11, 2005 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2005 - MDH, Manchester UK, December 8, 2005 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Sutton Parsh Church, Ely UK, December 12, 2005 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Wulfren Civic Hall, Wolverhampton UK, December 6, 2005 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Shepherds Bush Empire, London UK, December 7, 2005 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - All Saints Church, Broad Chalke, Wiltshire UK, January 14, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Arts Center, Carrboro, NC, USA, February 21, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA, USA, February 25, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Rhythm and Brews, Chattanooga TN, USA, February 27, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Belcourt Theatre, Nashville TN, USA, March 1, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Blueberry Hill St.Louis, MO, USA March 4, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - St. Paul's Cathedral, London UK, June 13, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, Wiltshire UK, June 14, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Jaani Kirik, Viljandi, Estonia, August 25, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2006 - Evensong (FLAC or MP3)
- 2007 - Zepp Osaka, Osaka, Japan, November 28, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2007 - Hitomi Memorial Hall, Tokyo, Japan, November 29, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2007 - Jaani Kirik, Tartu, Estonia, August 26, 2006 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2007 - Glass and Breath, May 4, 2007 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2007 - At The End Of Time - Churchscapes Live in England and Estonia (CD)
- 2007 - Sound Sculpture - ND Ateneo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 8 2007 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2007 - The Society for Ethical Culture, New York, N.Y., June 23, 2005 (FLAC or MP3)
- 2007 - Sound Sculpture - ND Ateneo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 10, 2007 (FLAC or MP3)
On October 21, 2006, Fripp was in Seattle, Washington doing recordings of Soundscapes for Microsoft to be used in sound themes by the Windows Vista operating system.