(No Pussyfooting) is a 1973 ambient music album by the British musicians Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. (No Pussyfooting) was the first of three major collaborations between the musicians, growing out of Eno's early tape recording loop experiments and Fripp's electric guitar playing.
(No Pussyfooting) was recorded in three days over the course of a year. Its release was close to that of Eno's own debut solo album Here Come the Warm Jets (1974), and it constitutes one of his early experiments in ambient music.
Brian Eno invited Robert Fripp to his London home studio in September 1972. Eno was experimenting with a tape system developed by Terry Riley and Pauline Oliveros where two reel-to-reeltape recorders were set up side-by side. Sounds recorded on the first deck would be played back by the second deck, and then routed back into the first deck to create a long looping tape delay. Fripp played guitar over Eno's loops, while Eno selectively looped or recorded Fripp's guitar without looping it. The result is a dense, multi-layered piece of ambient music. This technique later came to be known as "Frippertronics".
(No Pussyfooting) 's first track, which fills one side, is a 21-minute piece titled "The Heavenly Music Corporation". Fripp originally wanted the track titled "The Transcendental Music Corporation", which Eno didn't allow as he feared it would make people "think they were serious". It was recorded in two takes, first creating the background looping track, then adding an extended non-looped guitar solo over the backing track. This track features Fripp's electric guitar as the sole sound source.
The second track "Swastika Girls", which fills the other side, was recorded almost a year after "The Heavenly Music Corporation" in August 1973 at Command Studios at 201 Piccadilly in London. The track employed the same technique as "The Heavenly Music Corporation" except Fripp played to a background electronic loop created by Eno on VCS3. Fripp and Eno took the tapes of "Swastika Girls" to British record producer George Martin's Air Studios at Oxford Circus to continue mixing and assembling the track there. The track's title refers to an image of nude women performing a Nazi salute that was ripped from a discarded pornographic film magazine found by Eno at AIR studios. Eno stuck the image on the recording console while recording the track with Fripp and it became the title of the track.
(No Pussyfooting) was released in November 1973 and failed to chart on either the American or British charts. It was met with negative reaction from the record label itself, Island Records, who were actively opposed to it. The album was released in the same year as Eno's more rock-based solo album Here Come the Warm Jets. Eno was attempting to launch a solo career, having just left Roxy Music, and his management bemoaned the confusion caused by the release of two albums with such different styles. Robert Fripp's bandmates in King Crimson also disliked the album. The mainstream rock press also did not pay the album much attention compared to Fripp's work with King Crimson and to Eno's solo album. In the UK, the album was released at a large discount compared to normal album prices and was regarded as something of a musical novelty. In 1975, Robert Christgau the music critic for The Village Voice gave the album a B+ rating calling the album "the most enjoyable pop electronics since Terry Riley's A Rainbow in Curved Air" and that it was "...more visionary and more romantic than James Taylor could dream of being."
In 1982 the album was re-released on vinyl, and in 1987 on compact disc by EG Records. Modern reception has been mostly positive. Ted Mills of the music database Allmusic gave the album four and a half stars out of five, praising the track "Heavenly Music Corporation," noting "the beauty" of their tape deck setup, yet giving a negative view of "Swastika Girls" suggesting that the loop system was abused with "too many disconnected sounds sharing the space, some discordant, some melodic... the resulting work lacks form and structure". Eric Tamm, the author of the Eno biography Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound (1995) reacted similarly to Mills, stating that "The Heavenly Music Corporation" "anticipated Eno's own ambient style." About "Swastika Girls" Tamm said, "if it is less successful than the earlier piece, it is because of the much greater overall saturation of the acoustical space. There seems to be a perceptual rule that possibilities for appreciation of timbral subtleties decrease in proportion to the rate of actual notes being played. 'Swastika Girls' shows that Eno and Fripp had not yet understood the full weight of this principle".
In more recent reviews of Fripp & Eno's album The Equatorial Stars (2004), (No Pussyfooting) has been seen in a positive light. Peter Marsh for the BBC's experimental music review referred to the album as "now one of those albums that's spoken about in hushed, reverential tones as a proto-ambient classic". Dominique Leone of the music webzinePitchfork Media noted that "to [Fripp's] and Eno's credit, it didn't really sound like anything that had come before it".
^Mojo (Publisher) (p. 119) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he mystic guitar and synthesizer tape-loop symphonies on PUSSYFOOTING sound both unholy modern and magically archaic..."
^Record Collector (magazine) (p. 89) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "NO PUSSYFOOTING is hailed as an ambient classic and this vibrant musical tapeworm of drone, echo and diamond-clear guitar still retains strong enough sea legs to mesmerise the listener."