The question of who first took snippets of music and created repetitive loops could be argued until the cows come home; looking to classical composers like Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Karlheinz Stockhausen or, in the jazz sphere, producer Teo Macero and his landmark collage work with Miles Davis would be good starting points. In the realm of real-time looping as an improvisational device, however, it's much clearer. When King Crimson co-founder/guitarist Robert Fripp and Ambient music progenitor Brian Eno linked two reel-to-reel Revox tape recorders together and created Frippertronics—primitive real-time looping that could be created, modified and eliminated on the fly—for the groundbreaking No Pussyfooting (Island, 1973), it opened a new door to sonic possibilities for the solo musician.
The advent of digital sampling and looping technologies facilitated the expansion of Frippertronics into Soundscapes, a remarkable one-man improvisational orchestra documented on albums including Love Cannot Bear (DGMLive, 2005) and At the End of Time (DGMLive, 2007). Fripp has also employed Soundscapes on numerous guest appearances, most notably on woodwind multi-instrumentalist Theo Travis' Double Talk (33 Jazz, 2007), where abstract ambience and more definitive pulse, at times, intersected. With Travis' own electronically rigged System of Ambitronics, it was only a matter of time before the two musicians joined up for a session of music where technological sound sculpting marries seamlessly with the intimate interaction of the improvising duo. Thread is the result. Continue reading at ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM.