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Exposure
January 17, 2013 7:24 PM   Subscribe

According to producer Tony Visconti, the secret nature of David Bowie's latest project was almost compromised by guitarist Robert Fripp, who, he claims, was invited to contribute but declined, and then blogged about it. Fripp, however, claims that he was never asked and never blogged, but concedes that he might have dreamt the rumour into being.
posted by misterbee (39 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think the second link is b0rkened.

That said: who's listened to the new album? Any good? Has he gone dubstep now?
posted by pompomtom at 7:27 PM on January 17, 2013


Has he gone dubstep now?

It's phrases like this that I know are a trick to get me to listen to his album.
posted by phaedon at 7:28 PM on January 17, 2013


(maybe better?)
posted by pompomtom at 7:28 PM on January 17, 2013


Well that sounds kind of dickish but too bad because the Frippster is awesome.
posted by goethean at 7:35 PM on January 17, 2013


I love Robert Fripp. I also love Bowie. It sounds like Visconti is the guy I should be annoyed with. I think I'll go that way with this.
posted by The World Famous at 7:37 PM on January 17, 2013


Ah Fripp, you ol' trickster.
posted by parki at 7:37 PM on January 17, 2013


It's Frippster, surely? (plays difficult scale exercise in open-C tuning)
posted by misterbee at 7:38 PM on January 17, 2013


What's the secret nature part? Was the big secret just the fact that Bowie was recording an album? I mean, I can see how that's big news to hardcore fans, but the way they're talking about it here, you'd think the Enigma codes had been broken or something.

Years ago my step-brother started working at a big recording studio in Toronto; less than a month into the job, he was called in for an emergency and was given the task of phoning every artist who had booked time over the coming weekend and telling them they'd have to reschedule. He was kept in the dark until that weekend, when in walked David Bowie, who was apparently in town because his wife was doing charity work when he decided to spontaneously record something. This was all told to me breathlessly, step-bro being a massive DB fan, but all I could reply with was "Wow, that would suck to be one of those other bands."
posted by mannequito at 7:38 PM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


He was great on The First Day, so why not The Next Day?
posted by davebush at 7:44 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Drugs, man. Lots of drugs.
posted by Mezentian at 7:45 PM on January 17, 2013


Fripp is just tuned differently from the rest of us, you know?
posted by maudlin at 7:50 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


It turns out that Bowie is actually the secret mastermind responsible for My Dick.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:57 PM on January 17, 2013


This is weird. My reaction at first is that Fripp would not knowingly violating Bowie's desire for secrecy, but how would he expect people to take:

it gradually appeared that David had some remarkable new ideas in process, not yet public.

except as a rumour from a well-placed person that Bowie was working on new music

This is followed with the coy:

These he presented indirectly, to allow the penny to drop without prompting.

Which means....I don't know what. The whole post COULD mean that Bowie has some exciting new economic theories to discuss with Fripp, sure, but the implicature people take is pretty clearly going to be, new Bowie music.

I'm thinking that Fripp was either unaware that this was to be completely Top Secret, or that he thought he was being clever enough to give nothing away.
posted by thelonius at 8:02 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fripp is one of those musicians who never plays with the same lineup twice, because nobody can stand to be around him for that long. Love his stuff, though, especially early-70s Crimso.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:12 PM on January 17, 2013


To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven Fripp.
posted by RakDaddy at 8:14 PM on January 17, 2013


Fripp has sadly become like an old retired guy fighting with city hall over a tax bill.
posted by davebush at 8:18 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


With closing on 30 studio albums to his name, I think it's safe to say that fire is hot, water is wet and David Bowie records music. I can see how you might miss the idea that was the part you were supposed to be keeping secret.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:22 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


So Bowie is following the Apple Computer method of product introduction?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:30 PM on January 17, 2013


Exposure
posted by eye of newt at 8:35 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The whole post COULD mean that Bowie has some exciting new economic theories to discuss with Fripp

Not that implausible from the man who brought us Bowie Bonds!
posted by kenko at 8:49 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering.
posted by mintcake! at 9:28 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, that was a leak, but it was an entirely unsuccessful leak because Bowie fans were still gobsmacked when the single was released and album was announced.

Conclusion: Nobody reads Fripp's blog.

Corollary: Writing about Bowie's music is like dancing about Neuköln.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:59 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was the big secret just the fact that Bowie was recording an album?

Well yeah. I've seen several articles over the last couple of years saying they assume Bowie has retired and wondering about it and being sad. One of the last confirmed news stories about him was that heart surgery some years ago and that gets brought up as a possible reason (since Bowie never saw the point of releasing a press release to point out he's quite healthy thankyouverymuch). It's not just that there wasn't any new music, the lack was a commented upon thing. Bowie is still very much news.

Meanwhile he's been recording this new album for the last 18 months without any mainstream media leaks. He got all the way to the point of releasing the first single, video and all, and the rest of the album to soon follow without it being talked about. In this publicity-obsessed age where celebrities instagram photographs of themselves going to the toilet, that's a notable, newsworthy thing. And frankly kind of cool in my opinion.
posted by shelleycat at 12:50 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's always the people who are desperate to be talked about who make the most fuss about secrecy.
posted by Segundus at 1:36 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The alleged leak is clearly an entry about a dream Fripp has the night before.

So not a leak.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 3:43 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had a dream Fripp would play music in my flat. I'm free on evenings, Robert.
posted by ersatz at 4:59 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]




a rumour from a well-placed person that Bowie was working on new music

I'm shocked. Could it be true that a professional musician who has not announced his retirement might possibly be making music? This is an earth shattering revelation. How dare Fripp reveal such sensitive information!
posted by snottydick at 6:47 AM on January 18, 2013


It's always the people who are desperate to be talked about who make the most fuss about secrecy.

I was thinking about this aspect today actually. I decided, best case scenario and he just wanted to be left alone to create his music on his own terms and timelines etc etc blah blah. Worst case scenario and this was a cynical, calculated move to make the biggest splash possible when the single was released, get us all talking about him. Either way, I'm impressed.
posted by shelleycat at 8:17 AM on January 18, 2013


I'm shocked. Could it be true that a professional musician who has not announced his retirement might possibly be making music? This is an earth shattering revelation.

Professional musician who hadn't released a studio album in almost 10 years, hadn't toured since 2004, and who many people thought had retired? Yeah, it is fairly surprising, actually.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:16 AM on January 18, 2013


Who thought he had retired? And why would they think that?

I find absurd the idea that Bowie (or any number of other prolific artists) would ever retire. As a musician, songwriter, and producer myself, I find it far more surprising that any musician ever retires from making music. Retirement from making music for any reason other than a disability just doesn't make sense to me. I know a few people who have stepped away from music because of the emotional toll it takes on them to make it, but in every case like that that I know of, that emotional toll drove them away from making music at a relatively young age. With Bowie, all signs point to him having a pretty healthy relationship with music, and to him not having any reason for the drive to create ceasing within him.
posted by The World Famous at 10:08 AM on January 18, 2013


It's always the people who are desperate to be talked about who make the most fuss about secrecy.

Worst case scenario and this was a cynical, calculated move...

10 years is an awful long timeline in which to execute a cynical, calculated move that aims to...what? Surprise people to get a little extra press with no guarantee of success? And then announce he won't even tour to support it?

The man's a musician, he made music. He's a private guy (now, anyway), he made music privately.
posted by hafehd at 10:28 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Professional musician who hadn't released a studio album in almost 10 years, hadn't toured since 2004, and who many people thought had retired? Yeah, it is fairly surprising, actually.

Fairly surprising? Fair enough, but it's actually pretty common for older artists to take long hiatuses, and the idea that he wasn't working on any music, even if just for his own pleasure, is ridiculous and implausible. The bottom line is that it's hardly controversial for another musician to idly comment that he or she had visited another musician and had been treated to a sampling of their latest project.

Also, the man never said he was retiring. Other people may have assumed that he had retired, but how many musicians actually ever truly retire? Even (especially) if they officially announce it, it rarely happens. I remember Ozzy Osbourne's "retirement tour" & "final album" in 1993. His next album came out in 1995 and he's since released four studio and one live album and toured a whole bunch as well.
posted by snottydick at 10:35 AM on January 18, 2013


the idea that he wasn't working on any music, even if just for his own pleasure, is ridiculous and implausible.

I don't think anyone had that idea. But I did see a number of mentions in different places (newspapers, music magazines, radio hosts spitballing) across the last two years all saying that it seemed that he had retired from recording (generally while hoping it wasn't true). Actually going and making a record is a lot harder than just playing at home or for your friends. No one knew for sure but in the absence of any media or publicity, no rumours that he was recording, no live shows or interviews, no leaked songs, plus he's over 65, had heart surgery (and no one seemed to know how well he had recovered), and currently has a child growing up and needing his attention, it seemed like a reasonable conclusion to make. After all, lots of people do retire in their mid-sixties and go do their stuff at home for fun instead of being out in the world for money.

I'm happy that we were all wrong. And I'm sure Bowie will be writing new music until the day he dies. But I'm also sure he'll only bother to make more records when or if he wants to. It's not like the man needs to prove anything to anyone these days.
posted by shelleycat at 10:58 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I should also mention, I don't have a lot riding on this because, while I like the later Bowie albums, I'm not a giant superfan or anything. My husband, however, is a huge fan and this new album pretty much made his year and it hasn't even been released yet)
posted by shelleycat at 10:59 AM on January 18, 2013


To that end, it's also worth mentioning that while Fripp's indeed busily fighting the good fight on the (awful, terrible, horrible) business side, he sure does seem to be enjoying his newly available home life with his neat-o wife and his adorable bunny. And why the hell not?
posted by mintcake! at 1:31 PM on January 18, 2013


Tom Waits is almost the same age, and hadn't released an album in 7 years before Bad As Me. This was how he announced it.

No offence to Bowie, but this kind of stuff tells me he's still high as fuck on himself.
posted by mannequito at 2:11 PM on January 18, 2013


No offence to Bowie, but this kind of stuff tells me he's still high as fuck on himself.

Well, jeez, after the 70's, the man is practically made of cocaine. I think you're supposed to avoid operating heavy machinery if you've just been in the same room with him
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:35 PM on January 18, 2013


I think you're supposed to avoid operating heavy machinery if you've just been in the same room with him

Unless you're Brian Eno, in which case you are required to.
posted by The World Famous at 4:10 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


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