Frippertronics – is the name given by Robert Fripp to his analog delay (looping) system consisting of two side-by-side reel-to-reel tape recorders.
It was Brian Eno who showed this system to Fripp. For the first time they used it on Fripp/Eno album “No Pussyfooting” that was recorded in 1971 and released in 1973.
It is known that Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros and Steve Reich were pioneers in development of similar technologies that Frippertronics was based on, but Eno and Fripp were those who made it popular.
Later on in the 1990’s when Fripp switched over to more complex delay system he started to call it Soundscaping.
Strictly speaking Frippertronics, Phrase-Sampler and Looper are synonyms. They all use one and the same principle based on Delay effect, though there are some differences between them. I point this specific differences out in an article about Loopers.
I personally prefer to think of Frippertronics as a looper with Decay parameter set to fade out, because this is what was extremely interesting and characteristic of Fripp’s performances – possibility to successively fade out previous loops while new loops were recorded over and over again.