For King Crimson fans

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, May 15, 2002.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Some may have noticed my recent obsession with King Crimson lately. After collecting dozens of CDs and seeing them twice in concert, they have become my favorite non-jazz band of all time (this honor has previously gone to Led Zepellin, Rush, and Frank Zappa). This post is for two things:
    1. General Crimson thoughts
    My exposure to Crimson: towards the end of college, I was exploring 70s "prog" and was totally devoted to the movement, snapping up anything and everything I could. I went through a phase of musical snobbery where everything that was in 4/4 was boring. That phase ended quickly, fortunately, and have grown to dislike the "prog" moniker. I also got rid of a ton of bad prog CDs.
    So, of course, the subject of Crimson came up. I had heard a compilation once a long time before that and didn't like it, so I was a bit wary. I bit the bullet and picked up In the Court. I felt it was OK, but typical of 70s prog, albeit a little darker. I didn't realise at the time that other "prog" bands were taking their inspirtation from it, not vice versa.
    I wasn't that impressed, and still don't rank it amongst their greatest works. I then read how they changed their sound an became more like the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Being a fan of them, I picked up Lark's Tongue In Aspic. That description is very misleading and wrong, IMO. Anyway, I really dug Lark's Tongue II, Exiles, and Talking Drum. I recognised that this was quite a unique sound.
    Eventually I picked up Starless And Bible Black. This is the album that did it for me. I was shocked at how ballsy the title track was. Great Deceiver rocked! I was starting to learn a little bass, and John Wetton fascinated me. Most of all, Fracture just made my jaw drop. I was hooked.
    I ended up picking up the rest of their 70s catalogue, liking some stuff more than others, particularly Red.
    I was wary of the 80s stuff, since I feel that almost all prog bands start to suck after 1979, if not earlier. Of course, Crimson is no typical "prog" band. I was put off by the completely different sound of Discipline, but it was infectious. It took me a while to realise how involved that material actually is, and even more intricate than the Starless material.
    A while later, I gave Thrack a spin. I liked some, but felt there was filler in there. The thing that got me into current Crimson was ConstrucKtion of Light. The title track just blew my mind. I realised that these weren't some old farts, but a very relevant and important group of musicians.
    I've since gotten all the albums (a couple of times), live stuff, ProjecKts, some solo stuff, etc. Not only do I think they are "still good," but I believe they are more adventurous and stronger then they've ever been. Since I didn't grow up with them, I'm not biased against/for particular members (many Crimson fans got angry when Bruford left. I don't care.) Their new material, currently available on the Level Five EP, is amazing. Imagine Discipline, without all the happy pop stuff.
    All this still means little unless you've seen them live. Wow, wow, and wow. The single most intimate musical experience I had was seeing Deception of the Thrush performed live for the first time. I didn't really care for that track until then. That one performance made it one of my favorites.
    Crimson is important because they prove that discipline, craft, and skill are not "self-indulgent" or "masturbatory" (although some bands do behave this way). Rather, they demonstrate how these things can be used to create a musical experience that would be impossible without it. Because of their vast experience and expertise, they are able to do anything they want with music.
    While I'll not say that every Crimson album is a masterpiece, all of them have some worthwhile music (and most are masterpieces [​IMG] ).
    Ok, that's enough rambling for now.
    2. The King Crimson Collector's Club
    If you're serious about experiencing Crimson, they offer an opportunity for fans I've not seen anywhere else. The Collector's Club makes available recordings that would not be successful as mass-market releases but are of interest to fans. Most of these are live recordings, with varying degress of quality. The first couple are the worst sounding discs. Some of these performance include "historically" important concerts. For example, one disc is the last performance of the '74 band in NYC. The next release is the first performance of the '81 band when they still were calling themselves Discipline. Thus, you have two consecutive Crimson concerts seperated by two band members and 7 years!
    The club used to have a subscription service, where you had to pay to join, then they would send you new releases... it was kind of annoying. Now, until they figure out a way to make it work, the club releases are available as regular mail-order products. So, you can just buy whichever ones you want. I'm trying to get them all, but sadly a few have been discontinued and one has never been released.
    If anyone is interested in more info or about specific discs, let me know and I'll offer some more insight.
    Also, has anyone heard any of the side projects? I picked up three of Robert Fripp's Soundscapes. It's... interesting. Very ambient, very background-ish. One of these discs, A Blessing of Tears, is a tribute to his mother. The liner notes are his eulogy to her. Reading it while listening to the album is quite an experience. It's amazing how he can get the feelings of grief, sadness, acceptance, and hopefullness out of a guitar making bleeping noises.
    Listening to Crimson and Soundscapes also opened me up to digging Bowie (OK, I only got one album so far, but give me time), some of the more obscure Peter Gabriel stuff, and even the Talking Heads.
     
  2. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

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  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Oh, cool! I'm just might join that Marillion thing.

    Have you heard any of the releases? What are they like?
     
  4. Chris Madalena

    Chris Madalena Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Mike,

    I have a few cd's with Crimson members. One of my favorite ones is "Sunday All Over the World" which is Fripp's wife's band. She sings and he plays on it too. Kind of like Siouxie and the Banshees meets Crimson.

    Another stand-out is a David Sylvian cd that Fripp is on as well. The name escapes me. I think it's called "On the 6th Day." Very cool grooves and Sylvian's voice is interesting.

    Fripp's (can yo tell I'm into Fripp?) "League of Gentlemen" is outstanding. It's him with the California Guitar Trio playing live.

    Adrian Belew's "Zop Op Towah"...or something, (sorry brain isn't firing too well today) is killer. Crimson meets the Beatles.

    The U.K. album with Bruford is nice. Good, old, 70's prog in it's heyday.

    Black Light Syndrome w/Levin, Steve Stevens, & Terry Bozzio

    is cool.

    Aside from Crimson related, there is a great band called Polytown w/Terry Bozzio, Mick Karn, and David Torn. Very interesting. You'd love it.
     
  5. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Ooh, lots of goodies listed there, Chris.

     
  6. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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    Mike, reading your posts makes me feel like I'm 18 again (late-80s), digging through the bins at the Annapolis Record and Tape Exchange, looking for out of print albums. I have the first (only?) UK LP, several Bruford albums, and most of the 70s Crimson, also on vinyl. By the time all of this stuff began showing up on CD, I had outgrown my prog phase.

    I can second many of Chris's recommendations, particularly Sunday All Over the World, which I still listen to a good bit. I also really like the Sylvian/Fripp album, The First Day. "Jean the Birdman" is probably the catchiest, coolest pop(ish) song Fripp has ever contributed to.

    One last suggestion: Fripp's collaborations with Andy Summers make for great background music. Typical Fripp noodling combined with Synchronicity-era guitar synths from Summers. I actually have these both on tape, but still dig them out on occasion.
     
  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I just got some stuff from DGM in the mail today. One order got backlogged, and the other was real quick, so I ended up getting both today.
    4 selections from the King Crimson Collector's Club, including live material from the underrated Islands band, a concert from '74, and one from the last tour. [​IMG]
    Adrian Belew- Here
    Tony Levin- Pieces of the Sun
    Trey Gunn- Joys of Molybdenum
    Bill Bruford- Feels Good To Me
    and
    NP: Van Der Graaf Generator. H To He Who Am The Only One
    (Damn, this one sure is weird)
     
  8. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  9. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    NP: Adrian Belew, Here, CD [​IMG]
     
  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Mike, IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING dates back to 1968. It was fickin' radical for it's day. Look for Fripp & Eno's SWASIKA GIRLS on vinyl. I don't know if it ever made it to CD. Best wishes!
     
  11. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    I don't like the message that King Crimson has for our children. So called "prog" is damaging the fabric of our society.
    NP: King Crimson - Beat
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Rachael, I believe Swastika Girls is on the No Pussyfooting album, which I have ordered, so I'll hear it soon.

    And yeah, now I know ITCOTCK was radical for its day. The thing is, the older Crim sounds a little dated to my (relatively) young ears. But, like all Crim, the studio albums do them no justice. After getting Epitaph and the Collector's Club stuff, their performance sound a lot more fresh.

    NP: King Crimson, Live in Detroit, 1971, CD
     
  13. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Mike, NO PUSSYFOOTING is correcto! SWASTIKA GIRLS constitutes one side of it. I'd forgotten because I sold my copy of the record for big bucks when it was rare and in demand about 15 years ago. In the 60's and 70's many recordings sounded somewhat stale compared to live. It's just part of that era. King Crimson's first is stille my favourite. RED & LARK'S TONGUES IN ASPIC are close competitors. Crimson is a many splendered thang! Best wishes!
     
  14. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

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  15. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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  16. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  17. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Ok, boys, I'll settle this: both Gunn and Levin are god. [​IMG]
    Tony Levin:
    He is my favorite not-in-one-band musician. His versatility is astounding. The only time I saw him live was with Liquid Tension Experiment, the first of only 4 performances they ever did. What a night!
    I went with my father, who almost couldn't take standing so long (we waited an hour and a half before they got on stage). When they got into it, though, he forgot that stuff and enjoyed it immensley, having never heard that music before.
    For those not in the know, LTE was a project involving the drummer and guitar player from Dreamtheater, Jordan Rudess- keyboard player (Dregs, solo stuff and eventually became member of DT), and Levin. It was just balls-out instrumental music- loud, complex, and agressive. Levin played the Chapman Stick the whole time, chasing the younger guys around, setting up impossible grooves. Amazing.
    At one point a girl fainted and fell on top of my father! Was it because the boys played so well she couldn't take it?
    I got a Levin solo album in the mail, but haven't heard it yet. Can't wait to get home tonight.
    Trey Gunn: Four words- Deception of the Thrush.
    I got a solo album of his and it's wonderful. Totally un-label-able.
    Michael:
    Actually, the KCCC has changed that double-CD policy... or, rather, they do it on a case-by-case basis. The 1995 Broadway double disc counted as two club releases. The two double CDs by the '71 band count as only one release.
    I'm not surprised that Marillion is not releasing any Fish stuff. They are trying very hard to separate themselves from that because that legacy hurts what they are trying to do now.
    NP: King Crimson, Live at Plymouth, CD
     
  18. Blaine Skerry

    Blaine Skerry Second Unit

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    David Sylvian and Mick Karn used to play in a band called JAPAN and later released one album called RAIN TREE CROW. Two of JAPAN's better releases(my opinion) are TIN DRUM and GENTLEMEN TAKE POLAROIDS. Fripp and Sylvian released an album in 1993 called FIRST DAY. For any Fripp fans out there, this is a "must have".

    Question: Does anybody know what happened to Percy Jones, former bassist for BRAND X?
     
  19. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    Which of the CLUB cds would be the best to own? I see they have one from Central Park NY and another from Broadway NYC.
    I would like to try a few King Crimson live cds but am unsure which are considered the best soundwise.
    JohnG[​IMG]
     
  20. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Mike,

    I wish you lived nearby I'd love to have you over to watch the 1984 LaserDisc "Three of a Perfect Pair Live In Japan". It is incredible.
     

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