The Gates of Paradise

From ETWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Originally released: 1997


  • Robert Fripp (guitarist)
  • John Sinks (FOH sound, sound technician)



The majority of this album has been assembled from studio performances recorded at DGM in the spring of 1994. "The Outer Darkness" Part I and XI (subtitled respectivelly "The Outer Darkness" and "In Fear And Trembing Of The Lord" are taken from the live perfomance in Argentina and are based on the opening and closing soundscapes performed on 9 June 1994. "Sometimes God Hides" is from the performance in the foyer to the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 9 March 1996.


  • 5'02 i The Outer Darkness
  • 1'19 ii Perimeter I
  • 0'58 iii Perimeter II
  • 1'58 iv Wailing I
  • 1'15 v Perimeter III
  • 3'26 vi Wailing II
  • 1'23 vii Perimeter IV
  • 3'05 viii Wailing III
  • 4'05 ix Black Light
  • 1'01 x A Wailing And Gnashing of Teeth


  • 5'22 i Abandonment to Divine Providence
  • 8'34 ii Pie Jesu


  • 10'17 xi In Fear And Trembling Of The Lord


  • 6'53 iii Sometimes God Hides
  • 4'48 iv Acceptance


Reviews are listed in chronological order within each section. Please retain a chronological order when adding new reviews.

Entire Release

Date Submitted: 22-Jan-98
By: Michael W. Flaherty (z946128 at rice dot farm dot niu dot edu)

"Intentionally or not, Robert Fripp's "The Gates of Paradise" is a narrative sequel to "Time Passes". While the latter dealt with the moment of death, the former is concerned with the after-life. Of course, this narration is primarily found in the titles, but once again Mr. Fripp is able to capture the emotions and feelings he wishes to express in his abstract sounds.

"The disc consists of two very different suites: "The Outer Darkness" and the title suite. "The Outer Darkness" begins the Soundscape with a dark, dense rumbling that soon gives way to a soft, simple drone. This drone slowly moves into various notes over which more abrupt, startling sounds are added, finally breaking into occasional intense, high-pitched electronic cries (which Fripp entitles Wailings"). The building wall of noise ends abruptly and moves into a slow, mysterious layer of notes (including sampled human voices).

"After a blistering minute of reverbed notes, we find ourselves in "The Gates of Paradise". The opening has an uncertain feel to it, but as we move into "Pie Jesu" the sounds become more rich and melancholic. Half way through this suite Fripp inserts the final movement of "The Outer Darkness": clearly, his vision of the road to Paradise is not an easy one.

"But with the understandable exception of "Blessing of Tears", those who are willing to follow Mr. Fripp as he examines the darkness are brought to a place that is, if not happy, peaceful. "The Gates of Paradise" suite returns with "Sometimes God Hides", and finally the meditative, strikingly beautiful "Acceptance", with which the disc slowly fades into silence.

"With this Soundscape Mr. Fripp continues his facinating examinations of beauty and darkness that may well go unappreciated until long after they have ended. For right now, those who are willing to abandon themselves to this challenging disc will be well rewarded."

Date Submitted: 27-Apr-98
By: Marc Carlton (9703527c at student dot gla dot ac dot uk)

"Once again, one possible Leap has been achieved and crystallised on this release. The new developments are remarkable, as evident in the longest suite 'The Outer Dakness I-X'. The work must be the most (bowel) moving journey encased in sound, as here we are beaten down by the menacing screams of the creatures of the Darkness as we attempt to explore the Perimeter of some event horizon of the Gate. The interactive nature of the Soundscapes technique is absolutely masterful here, as we cannot help but be riven within this new experience. This first piece is particularly fluctuant between circumstances as we begin in the immersion of the rumbling Darkness, and then move on to explorations, confrontations and gruelling fear. It is notable that the 'Wailing' sections uses similar Soundscapes as those used in 'B'Boom', 'Radio I' and 'Vrooom Vrooom' from the Thrak album.

"As we move into the second suite, 'The Gates Of Paradise I-II, we arrive on wholly new ground - the 'Abandonment To Divine Providence'. This section has an extremely moving build, in its serene and living movement, achieved by means of using only the string-synth style Soundscape. This flows into 'Pie Jesu', a slow and level outlook reminiscent of the sound of '2001' from 1999.

"The third suite, 'The Outer Darkness XI', is a ten minute confrontation with the powerful creatures of the Darkness, as we are drawn back from the Gate and tortured by the implications of trying to pass. In the intrinsic world of Hearing, we are learning; in the 4D world where we are listening to a CD, it's brown trousers time.

"The fourth suite, 'The Gates Of Paradise III-IV', is another, and more final, experience of the Gate; but it seems very different from the first visit. Analogous with our true freedom within this place, is Fripp's free playing over and above the usual loops with a piano style sound. It is like we are now free to develop, though there looms still a passing grief. In IV, this is manifested in our Acceptance of all that which lies before, within and beyond our circles. And again, in truth, this is dismaying."

Date Submitted: 17-Jun-98
By: Travis Flower (pflower at worldnet dot att dot net)

"Truly an arrival, a landmark album for Frippertronics as a genre. It strikes me, looking at Fripps career, that the man has introduced several new directions in his music which did not reach complete fulfillment of their potential until later albums. For example, "Vroom", the "Live" Guitar Craft, and "Let the Power Fall" are fine albums and seminal works marking a whole new phase of Fripp's career, but they simply do not have the power or entertainment value of "Thrak", "Intergalactic Boogie Express", or "The Gates of Paradise". An interesting thing about this new album of soundscapses is that its superiority if due not, obviously, to the musical contributions of others, but rather to its creation primarily in a studio setting. This is the the first Frippertronics release since Fripp's return to the genre a few years ago to be a studio product, and it benefits from not only studio editing but also from the opportinuity for the performer to reflect upon the compostion, rather than solely improvisation of the these pieces. Also key are the vast range of timbral possibilities offered Fripp by new technology, over which he displays masterful control. At no point does the listener ever feel that Fripp is irresponsibly doodling with effects processors like a teen ager in a guitar store.

"Interpretations and reviews of the music have already been provided eloquently enough by other ET readers, so I won't add much here. Sufice to say that I find this one of the most moving, emotionally and intellectually significant albums I've encountered in quite a while."

Date Submitted: 17-Jun-98
By: Mike Pierron (pierron5 at mei dot net)

"Excellent,excellent stuff...clearly the best of the Soundscape releases so far..three cheers for Fripp!"

Date Submitted: 12-Aug-99
By: John-David Lucas (lraven at floodcity dot net)

"This is roberts consumation of pain and discipline/life and death. these gates are a great summation of roberts soundscapes (a miracle in the making,a true trust in the possibillity of music) from all the sources,including the pain that is loss,and the albums that pre-dated it- THIS is the touch of god's confidence in the art known as music!

"Thank you robert fripp. the 'scape' may be sound,but the touch is divine."