Nobody ever accused Robert Fripp of thinking small, but reading the words of his partner on this album, keyboardist Jeffrey Fayman, one can be excused for wondering if the recording location -- an ancient Greek temple on an isolated island, thus the title - -didn't get to them a little. Whether or not one wants to truly believe that the two experienced "a Tibetan reincarnation ceremony high above the clouds" is up to the beholder (and Fayman wisely suggests that each listener needs to make his or her own decision). Cosmic conclusions and experiences aside, Temple is an invigorating and lovely release, close enough to new age to be potentially tarred with that brush but achieving its own particular grace. Fripp's contribution was about two hours worth of his Frippertronics guitar recordings, given to Fayman for treatment and reworking. Given the two men's roots in '70s prog rock, there's understandably something of the vast and oceanic about the four tracks, with Fayman's arrangements focusing on repeating rhythms and electronic flow like a slow mantra, slight variations and changes sliding in here and there. "The Pillars of Hercules," the opening number, sounds like a sea constantly washing against a vast beach, rolling in and out -- if anything, it's close to the work Future Sound of London did on Lifeforms, another album Fripp guested on. The shorter "The Sky Below" is a testament to Fayman's abilities with orchestrations, a slow, undulating build of synth strings and gentle chimes with an appreciable sense of space in the mix. The half-hour title track follows, quite understandably the album's hypnotic centerpiece, taking the patterns from the first two numbers to longer and more involved levels of all-encompassing electronic flow. The gentle "The Stars Below" ends this serene, intriguing album on an appropriately calm, reflective note.
Temple in the Clouds Review
by Ned Raggett
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