(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
ďHello? Are you picking this up?Ē starts one of the most original Crimso-related releases ever. bpm&m is percussionist Pat Mastelotto and sound engineer Bill Munyonís concept for an electronica project. Released on Tony Levinís Papa Bear records, the CD features performances and/or samples from just about every member of the recent King Crimson. At times, I find it very similar to last years ProjeKct X album with a bunch more funk added.
The albumís main vocalist (if I may use that term loosely) is Robert Fripp. Throughout the CD there are numerous snippets of Frippery which were extrakcted from various conversations, readings and candid speeches that Bill and Pat have collected. While Bob may not be the rap superstar that weíre all hoping he is, his piercing wit and good nature shine through in his participation. Adrian Belew also makes a short appearance on the CD reciting the 6 words that he has become famous for. What are those words? I canít tell you without saying them over and over again. ; )
Quite a bit of equipment was used in the making of this. The artifakct list is pretty amazing. Aside from the usual samplers and sequencers, here are a few of the bizarre things utilized in this recording: notron, shermans, fireworx, farm cards, studerspins.. (I have no idea what these things are!) Most of the guitar passages were sampled but I think Robert did provide unique material for a good deal of it. Tony Levin plays or is sampled on most songs on the album. Other musicians include David Byrne (Talking Heads), Trey Gunn on Warr (and Peace) guitar and The League of Craft Guitarists who provide a sample or two.
Even though the music is excellent, the coolest part about the CD has to be the artwork. The comic illustrations by Denis Rodier bring a very colorful element to this release. The drawing of Tony Levin with his Funk-fingers on all ten fingers is hilarious and the pic of Bobby Fripp in full raver gear (complete with ski cap) is worth the price of the CD alone! If you want to preview it, the bpm&m website has most of the artwork available online.
Iíd say that this release isnít just for the Crimso completist. I think many folks that are into the electronic music scene would really dig it as well. Underneath the humorous exterior of this project lies some very complex and ingenious music that you will find yourself grooving to over and over again. I repeat myself: ďHello? Are you picking this up?Ē