“Tuning Ourselves”

Robertson, David G. (2017). “Tuning Ourselves”. Religion and the Arts, 21(1-2) pp. 236–258.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685292-02101010


In 1974, Robert Fripp—leader of the progressive rock group King Crimson—had a spiritual experience in which “the top of [his] head blew off.” He became a student of J. G. Bennett, himself a former student of G. I. Gurdjieff, at Sherborne House in Gloucestershire, and remains a member of the Bennett Foundation to this day. When Fripp returned to the music industry, it was with an approach that favored disciplined and geometric compositions over the jagged improvisation of the earlier period. This article explores the influence of Gurdjieff and Bennett’s teaching upon Fripp and his work, and his apparent attempts to realize the former’s idea of “objective art” through his music. I pay particular attention to the development of Guitar Craft, in which Fripp applies Gurdjieff’s techniques through the teaching of the guitar. I argue that Fripp’s teaching is a little examined scion of the Gurdjieff lineage, and a case study of discrete cultural production.

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