Robert Fripp Demos Frippertronics On The Midnight Special In 1979

In this video, Robert Fripp demonstrates his ‘Frippertronics’ setup for live looping and overdubbing, using a pair of reel to reel tape recorders.


Frippertronics With Tape Recorders

With the two tape recorder setup, an audio tape is stretched between two tape recorders, with the distance between the two recorders determining the length of the delay.

As the tape passes through the first recorder, a sound can be recorded. This sound is then played back, after the time delay, by the playback head on the second tape recorder.

The delayed sound can then beĀ  fed back as input into the first recorder, to create a slowly decaying loop. Additional audio processing can be done on both the audio input and the delayed return. A similar setup was used on Fripp and Brian Eno’s 1973 proto-ambient album, No Pussyfooting.

The tape delay setup mirrors one used by Terry Riley for his 1963 recording, Music For The Gift.

via BibiAudiofil, dangerousminds; Frippertronics diagram via Seymour Duncan

12 thoughts on “Robert Fripp Demos Frippertronics On The Midnight Special In 1979

  1. I believe there was a video clip with Fripp in it in the fall of 1978 when Midnight Special featured Hall & Oates promoting the Along the Red Ledge album that Fripp produced. In addition to Frippertronics, the album featured vocal loops matched to each console fader, something similar to what 10CC did with “I’m Not in Love”. Along the Red Ledge wasn’t one of Hall & Oates’ most popular albums, but it is one of my favorites.

  2. So all you need to do is take out the erase head? I’ve messed around with tape looping but always wanted to do live looping like this on tape

    1. Hey, originator, pioneer… Learn to listen…;) don’t show your ignorance like this in public…

      you can hear the loops as he plays,

  3. If you don’t own a copy of “No Pussyfooting” go get it N O W. It’s a brilliant album and still absolutely relevant in 2015. Fripp and Eno are two of the greatest living musical visionaries and what they do together is amazing. If you love electronic music, you owe it to yourself to listen to this album.

  4. In this case George is right . This is not Frippertronics, it is indeed simply Fripp jamming along to a pre-recorded backing tape. And Andrew – you don’t need to take out the erase head. You set the first tape recorder to record and the second one to play. You also end up with your complete performance on the tape.

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