Fripp in 2007
  • Sean Coon/Wikimedia Commons
  • Fripp in 2007

Robert Fripp is my favorite rock guitarist. Classically trained from a young age, Fripp’s “crosspicking” technique, classical and avant-garde leanings, and range of approaches to his instrument make him stand out even among rock-guitar greats. Whether playing fractured and chunky riffs with King Crimson, bafflingly fast solos as a session musician, or texturally rich loops in his collaborations with Brian Eno, Fripp’s guitar work always bears his unmistakable signature. This week Fripp appears in a three-night stand at the Vic with Crimson, now featuring a lineup with three drummers. I’m not sure what to expect at these shows, but having the opportunity to watch Fripp wield his guitar in any context is a worthwhile one. For today’s 12 O’Clock Track here’s Eno’s “I’ll Come Running,” off of his 1975 masterpiece Another Green World. While Fripp has numerous jaw-dropping moments, both texturally and technically (and simultaneously on David Bowie‘s “Heroes”), this one stands as my favorite by him. It lasts only a little more than 30 seconds, but it feels like a euphoric moment that endures for an eternity. Part of the solo’s joy is due to its placement on the album, which feels like one long piece of music. But it’s mostly the way that Fripp uses melody and force to create a sense of triumph, like highly pressurized lava emerging through a fissure in a volcano.

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