Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Robert Fripp's solo debut, originally released in 1979, Exposure is not only an important release historically in terms of influencing much music to come, including post-punk popular groups of today, it also is a who's who of guest musicians from Daryl Hall to Peter Gabriel, Peter Hammill, Terre Roche, Brian Eno, Tony Levin, Phil Collins, Narada Michael Walden, Jerry Marotta, Barry Andrews and Sid McGinnis. This standard edition is being released as a two disc set, with 24-page booklet. Remastered with many previously unreleased tracks. The jewel case version is being released simultaneously with a limited edition gatefold deluxe version which will appeal to the large base of serious Fripp collectors. Only packaging differs between the two versions tracks remain the same.
"When King Crimson co-founder/guitarist Robert Fripp disbanded the group in 1974, it seemed as though he'd grown tired of being its de facto leader. But he remained active, performing with artists as diverse as Brian Eno, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates and Blondie. While listeners who'd lost touch with him after King Crimson were undoubtedly shocked, those who continued following him were not at all surprised when his first solo album, Exposure, was released in 1979.
Although contractual issues demanded that Fripp excise three of singer Daryl Hall's five vocal tracks from the original vinyl release, he was able to include them on a remixed 1985 CD version. This new double-disc 24-bit remastered edition finally puts both versions in one package, along with five alternate takes.
Fripp was one of only a handful of artists to emerge unscathed from the progressive/art rock arena, along with Gabriel and Van der Graaf Generator singer Peter Hammill. With the New Wave movement in full force, Fripp's musical background seemed too studied to fit in with the raw and unschooled approach of a New York scene centered around the infamous CBGB's club. But with Exposure he managed to combine complex ideas with an aggressive punk sensibility.
Exposure is prescient in many ways. The powerful, metrically challenged instrumental "Breathless" - featuring bassist Tony Levin, who would go on to become a member of future Crimson incarnations - provides a clear link between Crimson's Red (Island, 1974) and THRAK (Virgin, 1995). Segueing into the equally complex "Disengage, with Hammill's melodramatic, anguished vocals on the original and alternate takes, the real surprise is on the restored 1985 version, where Daryl Hall sings with unexpected abandon, as he does again on "NY3. The spoken letters of the hypnotically grooving title track predate the same conceit used on "Firepower, from Fripp's collaboration with David Sylvian on The First Day (Virgin, 1993).
"North Star gently sets the precedence for "Matte Kudasai from Crimson'sDiscipline (EG, 1981) and THRAK's "Walking on Air, while the ballsy blues-based "Chicago, sung by Hammill, Hall and, on the alternate take, Terre Roche, show that the Frippertronics tape looping technique need not be reserved solely for ethereal purposes. Still, on "Water Music I and "Water Music II - bookending Peter Gabriel's solo version of "Here Comes the Flood, which is prescient in its own way by referencing global warming ten years before the term was even coined - Fripp's gentle looping acts as the perfect intro and coda.
"You Burn Me Up I'm a Cigarette is an unexpected piece of pure punk. After the opening "Preface, where Hall's voice is layered in a Ligeti-like interlude, it surely must have shocked Crimson fans to their very foundation. But that's the beauty of Exposure and the main reason why it remains a classic nearly thirty years later. Those who have followed Fripp's career know there's very little off his radar, and Exposure fired a powerful volley into the world showing there was more to Fripp than anyone could possibly have imagined." -AllAboutJazz
Rolling Stone (p.110) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t remains a triumph: a powerful and compelling redefinition of the pop and art in rock."
Uncut (p.84) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he Frippery and flow in a way reminiscent of Fripp/Eno albums like NO PUSSYFOOTING."
Down Beat (p.86) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "'Breathless' slams into ear canals with riff-crazy guitar and organized jazz-rock mayhem..."
Personnel: Robert Fripp (acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, Frippertronics); Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall, Phil Collins (vocals); Tony Levin (electric bass, Chapman Stick); Narada Michael Walden, Jerry Marotta (drums); Barry Andrews, Sid McGinniss, Peter Hammill, Terre Roche, Brian Eno.
Engineers include: Steve Short, Jim Bonneford, Robert Fripp.
Principally recorded at The Hit Factory, New York between January 1978 and January 1979.
Digitally remastered by Robert Fripp and Brad Davies (1989, Marcus Studios).
Personnel: Robert Fripp (spoken vocals, guitar); Daryl Hall, Peter Gabriel (vocals, piano); J.G. Bennett, Peter Hammill, Terre Roche (vocals); Brian Eno (spoken vocals, synthesizer); Barry Andrews (organ); Tony Levin (bass guitar); Jerry Marotta, Narada Michael Walden, Phil Collins (drums).
Audio Remasterers: Robert Fripp; Simon Heyworth.
Liner Note Author: Robert Fripp.
Recording information: Fripp Mobile, Hell's Kitchen, NY (06/1977-01/1979); Fripp Mobile, Lower East Side, NY (06/1977-01/1979); Fripp Mobile, Upper East Side, NY (06/1977-01/1979); Fripp Mobile, West Village, NY (06/1977-01/1979); Relight Studios (06/1977-01/1979); the Hit Factory, NY (06/1977-01/1979); The House Of Music, NJ (06/1977-01/1979); W. 51st Street (06/1977-01/1979); West Village (06/1977-01/1979).
Photographers: Chris Stein; Cathy Vanaria; Larry E. Williams; Ron Alan Cohen.
Easily Robert Fripp's most pop-oriented solo album--not that that's saying much--1979's EXPOSURE is also probably the best non-King Crimson or League of Gentlemen album of his career. Using guest vocalists Daryl Hall, Terre Roche, and Peter Gabriel, all of whom Fripp had produced albums for in the preceding year, Fripp's usual tape loops and fiery guitar solos are placed in recognizably song-oriented contexts for the first time in his solo career, and some of these, notably Hall's "North Star" and "You Burn Me Up I'm A Cigarette" and a new version of Gabriel's "Here Comes the Flood," are remarkable.
Between the songs, Fripp alternates the sort of tape-delay guitar instrumentals he would later dub Frippertronics and oblique spoken-word found-tape passages not unlike those used by Brian Eno and David Byrne on MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS. EXPOSURE is a fascinating, endlessly remarkable album.