Review Summary: The equatorial stars and the haze of darkness around them.
Robert Fripp and Brian Eno, being the first one a major dinosaur of progressive music and the second responsible for creating some of the richest career in ambient music since Erik Satie, have done a small amount of ambient albums in the 70''. They tried new ways such as Robert Fripp technology of recording tapes while playing above textures with patterns of sound, what was going to became famous as 'frippertronics'. These two were pretty successful in achieving dense and atmospheric soundscapes as what can be appreciated since their debut album “No Pussyfooting”.
After a big hiatus from those works together, finally they came back in 2004 with a very different album from what they did in their previous efforts. The Equatorial Stars is a step ahead in being capable of immersing the listener seriously in the atmosphere that it proposes. It's much more a dark ambient record, with subtle melodies, soft nuances and a very careful tendency to minimalist perfection. Seems like every note is set in the right place, reasoning in the very exactly mood in the spectrum of the song.
Brian Eno can do ambient textures in a dense and almost touchable way, with whispers and mysterious tones, claiming a blue sky involved in crescent darkness over your ears. Robert Fripp, with his sliding melodies, or sometimes acute with reverberated touch, enriches the composition in a painting sense. The soundscapes here are not so different from a landscape that we try very hard to apprehend in a photography, knowing that the exactly feel of the moment is lost since we think about it. It is a moment in time, that passes away as the clouds are going on and the lights are changing.
What we got here, is Fripp & Eno looking at the sky, scrutinizing the deep and endless night founding personality in the stars, emblematic themes for their destiny of being there in the darkness, lost in loneliness until it explodes, blasting and breaking the spell of its eternal dreaming. Every song in the album is named with a star name, and every song has also, a different sense of atmosphere. That is the dark ambient delivered here, an ambient immersed in the ether of space, in the imaginable experience of being there, in the middle of nowhere, and as everything in the universe, what is placed in space is also placed in time.
The Equatorial Stars is about slowness and details, it is not your everyday ambient album, this has very few percussive sounds until “Altair” the sixth and penultimate track on the album, with a groovy guitar in an almost danceable way, without, however, leaving the general atmosphere of bleakness and dark bluish colors. I kind of highlighted this song because, someway, its the moment when you wake up of a some kind of dream induced when listening to this album, daydreaming is the better way to listen to this, let it be, let it set layers of distance and colors of ancient stars on you, let it fade out with what you are and where you are, now you are in another ambient.
If listened in the right mood, these seven tracks can become a very dense musical experience, it has a lot of moments that are very more diversified and that stand out more than others, but I do not think its what really matters here, the weak parts are a bit of incompleteness in a long trip, helping you to give more of your attention to more important instants of it, finally driving you in a crystalline haze of darkness.