Robert Fripp & Brian Eno – Beyond Even (1992 – 2006)

Fripp & Eno

There have been quite a few mediocre (‘fans only’) releases by Brian Eno in the last couple of years. The 2004 collaboration with Robert Fripp was a remarkable exception, and so is their collaboration sketches overview “Beyond Even (1996 – 2006)”.
I call this a ‘sketches overview’ because  it feels like that: a collection of works that sound like good yet unfinished ideas. Which does not mean they sound like second hand outtakes that should not have been released. Most of these tracks are very beautiful indeed, and do deserve a life on their own. However some of this tracks still feel a bit outdated, even a bit mushy sometimes.

The initial (limited) release comes as a double CD with the same tracks twice: one cd mixed (‘segued’), the other one unmixed. Am I the only one that thinks the person that did the final mastering should get a serious beating? The volume of the tracks is very unbalanced (in both versions). The cd starts out in an extremely low volume, but when you finally give in to the calmness of some of the tracks (like the beautiful Timean Sparkles, Behold the Child and Voices), your ass will be kicked when you reach the last track, Cross Crisis in Lust Storm. It seems to be 400% in volume compared to the rest. Could this be by design? I can hardly believe that because it makes no sense at all.
Brian Eno has always been a perfect emotional sound wizard, so I can’t really understand why he seems to be so ignorant about the quality of his latest releases (this is not the first time; there have been some mastering problems on some earlier releases too). Beyond Even really deserved better. 

But in the end even Eno & Fripp outtakes are far more interesting than most other artists best tracks. So check them out and judge for yourself.
And let me know what you think!

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