I was up really late last night. I had a load of laundry running and I didn’t want to fall asleep until it was done. I was also watching an episode of The Watchman and I wasn’t paying attention to the clock when I started it. It finished about 25 minutes after the laundry. Dumbass. Turns out I didn’t get to sleep until about 12:15am. My sleep numbers were pretty good* but there just wasn’t enough of it.
Seemingly unrelated, King Crimson guitarist/band leader Robert Fripp not only helped to invent what we now call Progressive Rock (with the first King Crimson Album, In the Court of the Crimson King in 1969, the point of it being the first prog record is arguable, but the arguments in favor are pretty good. For me, I tend to look at The Beatles Abby Road which came out a few weeks earlier), but he also helped to invent what we now call ambient music as well (with the 1973 release of No Pussyfooting in a collaboration with Brian Eno, under the name Fripp and Eno). He came up with a technique of using a couple of reel to reel tape decks to make loops of sound. He eventually developed a whole electronic style of playing, which he dubbed Frippertronics because he sounds like he’s one of those guys who likes giving funky names to stuff (I don’t know if that’s true or not, it just kinda seems that way. No offense meant, Robert). These days he uses a guitar synthesizer rig and some samplers to do his thing (and recently it’s been really making me want to dabble in synth pedals and loopers).
One unique (I think) aspect of a King Crimson show is that at some point before the people start showing up, Fripp will record a few minutes worth of an improvised ambient piece of music and they will play that through the sound system before the show starts. I think they loop it so it can start playing around the time the doors open, and end when the band takes the stage. Musically speaking they’re not really… ya know… musical. There isn’t a melody, and there really isn’t a harmonic structure to speak of. They are just meant to be background sounds.
So Crimson has been touring for years and years, and every show has it’s own original ambient piece. There must be a mountain of these suckers stored up somewhere. In the spirit of the Covid-19 lock downs being an existential kick in the nuts, Mr Fripp has been releasing one of these ambient pieces each week. Every Friday he puts one out via all the streaming services under the title Music for Quiet Moments. Music for Quiet Moments 15 came out today.
Why am I talking about this?
Because I have a playlist with all 15 pieces and it’s playing through the Sonos speaker in my bedroom/office right now, and as alluded to in paragraph #1, I’m pretty sleepy today.
Is it a mistake to combine these two seemingly unrelated things? Being sleepy and ambient music?
Ummmm… maybe I should switch to something noisier.
*My SleepWatch numbers for the past couple of weeks have included a string of heart rate dip values that were literally unbelievable. I did eight straight days above 20%, then one in the teens, and then six more above 20%. I’ve never had a run like that in the year-plus I’ve been paying attention. Granted, the last two nights have only been 13% each. A month ago I would have been very pleased with that. Now? It’s a let down.