King Crimson: Classic Or Dud

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I bought a King Crimson album tonight. Tower had them all in a 3 for £18 deal. I bought "Red" thinking it was by the 80s Crimson which has long intrigued me a bit but then it turned out it was by the proper scarey 70s Crimson. EEK! Anyway it sounded OK. What do you think of them?

Tom, Friday, 15 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Can't believe they've not been discussed here before. I'm wild about the BEAT/DISCIPLINE/THREE OF A PERFECT pair era of the band (notably for Tony Levin's nimble Chapman stick thwacking). IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON rocks thoroughly, of course....."21st Century Schizoid Man"? Who could argue?

I've heard great things about RED, but I've never heard it. Possibly due to the stigma of John Wetton. Even though RED predated Asia by veritable eons, I cannot erase the crime.

Alex in NYC, Friday, 15 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Red is the only one I know. The scary instrumental parts are great but when the voices come in they're extremely pallid and non- scary and the mood gets wrecked and I wonder why I'm bothering and I usually put on something else. Do they have any albums that are all instrumental?

Ian, Friday, 15 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Red is my favourite of the earlier Crimson, because it's not too wacky. I know we've discussed Crimson on the board before, because we got into this discussion of early Crimson lyrics and how they bordered on the inane. Red is not quite so inane, lyrically, and the music is muscular and scary in places, without getting too overblown. Tom, next purchase should be Discipline, if you're intrigued by the 80s Crimson.

Sean Carruthers, Friday, 15 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

More Crimso talk here.

Sean Carruthers, Friday, 15 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Okay, here's a stretch of a question: did any of you out there catch VH-1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock"? Whell, amidst those 100, they featured a quick segment on Crimson, and showed some live footage of the band, although I'm not sure from which era. The line-up featured Wetton on vocals, doing almost a scat-styled lyric. It was very free- form sounding, but still quite cool. Being that their catalogue is a bit on the vast side (and I'm only really familiar with COURT OF...and the DISCIPLINE and beyond periods), can anyone tell me where that particular track can be found?

Alex in NYC, Friday, 15 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I had "Thrak" about 5-6 years back and used to like it a lot. Have not listened to it for a long time. Bought "In the court fo King Crimson" last year. Liked it for some time but then got bored of it. Still like the a couple of songs on that album though.(21st century Schizoid man, The court of the crimson king).

Atul, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

'Red' is OK but overrated. It's so STATIC. Nothing moves, except for the title track it's as constricted as Fripp's bunghole. I actually prefer 'Larks Tongues'. 'Islands' is the worst album ever made by anybody.

dave q, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I quite like Islands, even though its made by the previous line up I can hear quite a lot of Larks in it. Some of the tracks on it are complete clunkers though - the lingering Sinfield / Tippet influence.

Red is ace, and has been discussed here before. The instrumental tracks are the ones that sound less dated - especially the title track and its 'devils interval' backstory.

But I think Wettons vocals on Starless and Red are lovely and I disagree that the placid quietness of them is just 'static' - there is a line on one of the tracks on Starless... 'My Home... was a place by the sea' which I just adore and I've never known why - but it kept popping up in my head when I had my Steve Erickson reading binge a couple of years ago and it has that same mesmeric Erickson quality of difference and strangeness but not different and not strange (ooh thats a hopeless description: Somebody save me here!).

There are three formulas involved in the Larks/Starless/Red tracks - and I think I like them all.

There are the dream-like songs I've already mentioned - all playful repeating echos of other things, and that strange wailing sound which I always imagine is one of them corrugated tubes you wave around your head - but presumably is just frippertronics (it turns up on evening star too). I always thought they were an influence on Nirvana on Nevermind's quiet moments but haven't seen it confirmed that Cobain knew this stuff.

Then there are the agressive ones - Red, the loud bits in Larks part one - the bit in Fracture where it suddenly changes speed. For a prog band they sure conjure with an magikal energy - that stuff sounds great - its a shame that neither the post rockers like Mogwai / Aeorgramme / etc or the Nu Metallers studied that stuff to avoid making their mistakes. Its not just a feature of that period of Crimson though, 21st C on the first album, the bit nicked from Mars on the second have that feel too.

The bits that are left form a third grouping, mainly instrumental and much more passive - but definately not static. The quiet bits of Larks pt1, Trio, Night Watch. Larks overtly references Vaughn Williams and thats a good suggestion of what's going on, Debussy and Satie too. But there is a lack of optimism in those tracks that doesn't sit well with the grace of those influences. They are bleak and hopeless feeling too.

Alexander Blair, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

LARKS' TONGUES and STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK are both better, though "Starless" is oft-considered the all-in-all best thing they ever did (me, I think it's "Exiles" from Larks').

"Easy Money" has this (on the live versions, not the studio version, alas) great (for prog rock, mind you) bit of lyric:

"So I argued with the judge, But the bastard wouldn't budge, 'cause they caught me licking fudge, and they never told me once, you were a minor..."

Joe, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I only have In the Court of the Crimson King and it's classic, don't listen to anyone who says otherwise. The track "Red" is quite good too. Your next purchase should be Pawn Hearts by Van der Graaf Generator.

sundar subramanian, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Ignoring their ridiculously anal 'chops' - which I sort've admire - I've never heard a King Crimson rec. with tolerable singing on it. It's what puts me off a lot of prog, to be honest. Get 'Dart Drug' by Jamie Muir and Derek Bailey instead!

Andrew L, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Really? What do you find objectionable about the vocals on, say, "Epitaph?"

sundar subramanian, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Sundar they are horrible is what is objectionable!! Which LP is "Ladies of the Road" on? (It's on my best of promo tape... ) Anyway, it is the UGLIEST ROCK SONG EVER WRITTEN, sound and words (it's abt groupies), which is an impressive achievement. Wasn't RED K.Cobain's fave record? KC fascinate me I must say because they grate on me SO extremely: I can't dismiss em at all, because their effect is so exact.

mark s, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Mark - "Ladies" is on 'Islands'! It's the only track on the album where they sound awake, so you can imagine what the rest of it is like. ("Sailor's Tale" doesn't count, of course)

dave q, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

As a teenager I liked the Belew era and hated the Lake era, but now it's opposite. I can't separate KC3 from the other PBS-special 80s 'arty crowd', belongs in 'American Psycho' along with Laurie Anderson, Basquiat, the Roberts Wilson and Mapplethorpe, all the other downtown yuppie shit. Get the first three Talking Heads albums or the middle three KC albums instead.

dave q, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

dude just read what i said in the old thread
"UGH.. I hate the 80's trilogy. I think fripp really lost his magic then. My favortie period is the 73 Starless band. They were so fucking hard and funky. Then they got quiet like a whisper. Awesome stuff. "

chakli, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

More on Belew's fourth-rate David Byrne impersonation - "I repeat myself under stress, I repeat myself under stress." Geddit? Hilarious, eh? Anybody who finds that remotely amusing in any way should be avoided.

dave q, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Red is a great album. I bought it for 4.99 at the HMV sale. It's true that the singing isn't great but it isn't horrible either and the instrumental parts are really fantastic. You can go back to them over and over again. Fripp is on song. It grows on you.

Mark- Apparently Red is KC's favourite album ever. He also loved the raincoats, having written some brief notes for the reissue of their excellent debut. Even though nirvana sucked he had good taste (though I think that he only said that to piss off the metal fans that bought his music).

Julio Desouza, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Lake's voice was quite good, though (per usual) a bit lofty, especially singing Sinfield's lofty lyrics. Still, at least he could sing back then. Wetton's voice was quite good, though has a 'smoky' quality to it that's an acquired taste. Belew is a bit piercing in the higher registers, but I think in the lower registers or when he's imitating Lennon or Orbison, it's okay.

Joe, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

By the way, Greg Lake and John Wetton are the Dick York and Dick Sargent of rock: discuss.

Joe, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Prog is taking over this message board for some reason. Anyway, fine by me. However, Joe, does that make Fripp Sherwood Schwartz? Wrong show! Aaron Spelling?

Classic by virtue of the mid 70s albums alone, though the 80s were at least interesting, with Discipline being a damn good album. I was never a huge fan of the early KC, and the 90s version hasn't knocked me out -- YET. I do look forward to Nuovo Metal, though I really wish Fripp would have stuck with the first ProjeKct (worst gimmick ever, the whole "Kc" thing needs to be stopped) band. Apparently Fripp couldn't live with himself putting out a studio record that was avant-noise, even though that's obviously one of things at which he excels.

dleone, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

re: Wetton and Asia - can't forgive him

I'd never heard Asia until last week (whilst ripping vinyl to cd for an acquaintance) and it was a truely awfull thing to have to put my house through. So I can understand why you might hate him because of this. But I've always liked his mid 70s stuff, most especially the 2 albums he did with Family: "Fearless" and "Bandstand".

However, his lyrics are, for the most part, very bad indeed - has anyone heard 'Same Time Next Week' from Phil Manzanera's "Diamond Head"? Very ugly.

philT, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I used to be a big KC fan and can find something to like about all their albums, but the only stuff I feel like listening to now is Red (because it's heavy and sometimes funky and has 'Starless'), the double live album from the 80s band (because it's like an 80s best of with great sound and because it's poppy and new wave enough that even my girlfriend can like it), and ThraK, which I've always had a soft spot for. I think it's a great blend of their 70s heaviness and 80s pop songs with, um, lots of drums.

Jordan, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

dominique wrote: However, Joe, does that make Fripp Sherwood Schwartz? Wrong show! Aaron Spelling?

Agnes Moorehead, obviously. :)

Joe, Sunday, 17 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

So who's Paul Lynde?

nickn, Sunday, 17 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

mark s, there is a truly eye-popping site discussing Sinfields lyrics here:. http://www.songsouponse if you want to delve even further into Islands its on chapters 16 and 17.

Ladies of the Road and Formetera Ladies are the clunkers I refered to above btw. Though I think Sinfields worst lyrics are on Still.

Alexander Blair, Sunday, 17 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

i wuv the idea that KC were in fact FUNKY: even slimy-greasy purist chaki says so, tho i note they were carefully not mentioned on THIS THREAD however. What, does the word have two meanings after all?

mark s, Sunday, 17 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

And this is a surprise? ONLY two would be a surprise!

Josh, Sunday, 17 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Alexander wrote: "there is a truly eye-popping site discussing Sinfields lyrics here:. http://www.songsouponse if you want to delve even further into Islands its on chapters 16 and 17."

Truly unfathomable, I wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes. However, it explains much. There's a site where I help write reviews for prog rock albums, and we once received a snippy letter for dissing the Wake of Poseidon album (or at least, not being fanboy-ish enough towards it), and the person, opening up by claiming we had "less wit and culture than an ant" (yep) used much of the material found in the Wake of Poseidon chapter as their defense of the album and its depth. Maybe it was even The Keeper of the onyx-embolden'd-husking-jewelled-warthogs website himself! :)

Joe, Sunday, 17 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

four years pass...
Boz Burrell, RIP

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 22 September 2006 22:32 (thirteen years ago) link

four years pass...

Cue your golf swing.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 27 July 2011 16:32 (eight years ago) link

Wow... Mind = blown.

An influential prophet from Denton, Texas (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 27 July 2011 16:42 (eight years ago) link

Very cool! thx ned

an excellent source of vitamins and minerals (WmC), Wednesday, 27 July 2011 16:43 (eight years ago) link

"that's some really wild stuff"

buzza, Wednesday, 27 July 2011 16:44 (eight years ago) link

In The Lounge of the Crimson King

tylerw, Wednesday, 27 July 2011 16:46 (eight years ago) link

More on Belew's fourth-rate David Byrne impersonation - "I repeat myself under stress, I repeat myself under stress." Geddit? Hilarious, eh? Anybody who finds that remotely amusing in any way should be avoided.

Dave Q really killed it on this thread, huh? I like lots of KC but I hardly ever find myself playing them. When I do, it's either Larks' Tongues or Beat.

Clarke B., Wednesday, 27 July 2011 18:29 (eight years ago) link

I think Belew's a pretty terrible lyricist but that was kinda the point, right? The lyrics weren't supposed to stand out. It was all about the music at that point.

frogbs, Wednesday, 27 July 2011 18:31 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

Met this guy tonight who said he'd done tarot card readings with Adrian Belew, back in '83 or so

the story just got weirder from there

geeta, Tuesday, 27 September 2011 07:54 (eight years ago) link

four months pass...

nostormo, Saturday, 4 February 2012 13:35 (eight years ago) link

six months pass...

Fripp speaks

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 4 August 2012 20:10 (seven years ago) link

excellent...wish it was longer

frogbs, Saturday, 4 August 2012 20:18 (seven years ago) link

2009 Crimson, with Porcupine Tree drummer as second drummer, was awesome live.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 4 August 2012 21:28 (seven years ago) link

so, who is buying the 13 CD, 1 DVD, 1 Blu-Ray of Larks' Tongue In Aspic?

EZ Snappin, Monday, 13 August 2012 19:48 (seven years ago) link

Just registered for DJM live site just so I could hear a sparse guide track for "Islands" the song. Boz sounds like he's singing into a cheap condenser mike, but otherwise it's quite lovely.

'Islands' is the worst album ever made by anybody.
― dave q, Friday, February 15, 2002 7:00 PM (10 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


Ermahgerd Thomas (Dan Peterson), Monday, 13 August 2012 20:19 (seven years ago) link

its kind of weird to imagine that King Crimson only played a fixed amount of concerts when they were active. it feels like they're able to just create more and more live bootleg material at will, even if it was phyiscally impossible for them to have played that many dates.

frogbs, Monday, 13 August 2012 20:20 (seven years ago) link

So many of them are pretty dodgy quality though, aren't they?

Ermahgerd Thomas (Dan Peterson), Monday, 13 August 2012 20:21 (seven years ago) link


'released in three separate editions to satisfy the merely curious and the expectant collector'

j., Friday, 17 August 2012 14:31 (seven years ago) link

so, who is buying the 13 CD, 1 DVD, 1 Blu-Ray of /Larks' Tongue In Aspic/?

Who ISN'T?

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 20 August 2012 03:26 (seven years ago) link

They play that song! Xpost

pippin drives a lambo through the gates of isengard (Sparkle Motion), Monday, 15 April 2019 18:46 (ten months ago) link

haha yeah they do do that one but instrumental

akm, Monday, 15 April 2019 18:47 (ten months ago) link

All I really want from them is Larks 6

pippin drives a lambo through the gates of isengard (Sparkle Motion), Monday, 15 April 2019 18:54 (ten months ago) link

Yeah, they've got a bunch of unrecorded material that makes it into the live sets, and the old material is pretty thoroughly transformed - it's basically [riff you recognize] > [totally new arrangement, improvised solos, triple drum break] > [riff you recognize].

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 15 April 2019 19:12 (ten months ago) link

Maybe they've shaken things up since I saw them in 2015, then. At the shows I saw, the old stuff was treated pretty reverentially.

the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Monday, 15 April 2019 19:21 (ten months ago) link

The most recent live set - Meltdown: Live In Mexico - was recorded on the tour I saw, with the eight-piece lineup. It gives a good idea of where they're at these days.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 15 April 2019 19:24 (ten months ago) link

holy shit there's a soundboard of a complete muir-lineup gig coming out next week? hot damn

Jaki Liebowitz (rushomancy), Thursday, 18 April 2019 00:41 (ten months ago) link

something that wasn't on one of those giant boxed sets?

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 18 April 2019 00:46 (ten months ago) link

Wait what?

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 18 April 2019 01:23 (ten months ago) link


[q]It was also, coincidentally, the first King Crimson concert ever attended by writer and King Crimson biographer Sid Smith. He confirms that the capacity audience was quite content to hear unfamiliar material and respond with enthusiasm to the challenge presented. 

As he says of the recording: “Had this tape been available to the compilers of the 2012 Larks' Tongues In Aspic: The Complete Recordings 15-disc set, I have absolutely no doubt that this concert would have been the jewel in that particular crown. Good quality examples of the Muir-era quintet are so few and far between that, a soundboard tape like this is a precious find indeed.”

He’s absolutely correct and while this is – buyer beware – taken from a cassette made directly from the soundboard, with all of the audio limitations that implies, even after the DGM restoration team has applied its expertise to the tape, it is also the best single live example of Jamie Muir’s short time with this line-up and it’s there that the magic truly lies. 

This was King Crimson confidently playing the material that would, for the most part, make up the classic Larks’ Tongues in Aspic album – performed in its near entirety and, improvisations excluded, in the running order that would emerge on vinyl in early 1973 and which is still, some 46 years later, regarded as one of the band’s classic recordings and a classic of the era in which it was performed, recorded and released.

Taped with no expectation that it would be used other than, possibly, by a band member wanting to check an element of a previous night’s performance, an imperfect mix direct to cassette from a live feed, un-played since 1972 and still, as thrilling a live recording as you’re likely to encounter in 2019.[./q]

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 18 April 2019 01:36 (ten months ago) link

For those wondering: Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972

Brakhage, Thursday, 18 April 2019 19:27 (ten months ago) link

one month passes...

Now that the latest lineup has been together for 5 years(!!), I went back to—or rather, went to, since I’d never heard it—the record Fripp made in 2011 with Jakko, Mel Collins, Gavin Harrison and Tony Levin, A Scarcity of Miracles. Deemed “a King Crimson ProjeKct” at the time, with a little hindsight it sounds like both a warmup for the current band and maybe a bit of a trial run at a potentially new direction for the current incarnation of the band that they sorta/kinda/didn’t really pursue.

Based on some guitar improvs Fripp and Jakko recorded, ASoM has a cleaner, glossier modern prog sound more akin to Steven Wilson’s recent material than anything by Crimson to that point. A bunch of material here is, in effect, Fripp Soundscapes (most of which are recycled from pieces he’d played solo and with Theo Travis for about a decade) plus vocals and a rhythm section.

As a fan of Soundscapes, I find the concept of turning them into tunes and performances intriguing even if the results are not particularly captivating. I do like the rhythm interplay of Levin and Harrison. I also like the sound of the guitars interlaid with the ethereal harmonies – Jakko’s voice layers well. And Collins is responsible for some classy horn charts and tasty solos that keep things from floating away – he sounds particularly good here.

The tunes? Well they’re pleasant enough if not especially memorable (a few have popped up on the recent KC live albums). In retrospect, even if they’ve included some new material on the live albums I do wonder whether Fripp’s reluctance to take this most recent lineup into the studio has anything to do with him not being totally convinced the songs would be there.

But all in all, this is interesting ... and sounds more like a slightly poppier, more atmospheric version of the current Crimson than I’d been expecting. ProjeKct ho.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 6 June 2019 01:19 (eight months ago) link

Interesting that most of the studio albums have arrived on spotify, but not ITCOCK or Larks. I thought they'd all drop in one bunch. I wish they'd add USA and the Great Deceiver box as well.

WmC, Monday, 10 June 2019 21:27 (eight months ago) link

Red isn't there either.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 00:41 (eight months ago) link

Yeah, I think it's meant to be a gradual rollout and those are the "big three," so I guess he's saving them for last...

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 00:42 (eight months ago) link

Sorry to disappoint fans eager to experience the full set of studio albums on Spotify. The omission is on Spotify's side rather than King Crimson's. They have been made aware of it & are working to rectify the matter.

— KING CRIMSON (@DGMHQ) June 11, 2019

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 05:48 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

Rieflin's regular stints away from Crimson explained, presumably, by this:

akm, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 20:15 (six months ago) link

Oh, that's terrible news. She was a fantastic artist.

Paul Ponzi, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:03 (six months ago) link

Aw. I'd describe her work as instantly iconic. I associated her so closely with Crimson's work that I never once thought who was doing the art!

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:22 (six months ago) link

her paintings are really cool. for KC I liked them much more than the PJ Crook stuff they'd been using for much of the 90's/00's.

akm, Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:48 (six months ago) link

four weeks pass...

Report from the field- night 2 of the Oakland stand just concluded. From my vantage at the very back of the house, they still peeled the paint off when it came to Fracture, Schizoid & especially Starless, which was as good a take as I’ve heard them do. The stately stuff was good too- especially the coda of Court.

The drum features were more pronounced and much longer than ever- I suspect it’s a necessary break for this aged group.

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Saturday, 7 September 2019 06:01 (five months ago) link

Hey, I was there, too. Way in the back. I agree with your assessment. I’ve always wanted to see them and now I have.

beard papa, Saturday, 7 September 2019 06:19 (five months ago) link

Set list was pretty concise- they went long on the big set pieces, less of the Lizard/Islands stuff they’d been doing, and no new tunes.

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Saturday, 7 September 2019 06:46 (five months ago) link

Wanted to listen to the first album yesterday, and noticed that while every other record is on Amazon Music (our family streaming service of choice), "In the Court of the Crimson King" is mysteriously absent.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 13:42 (five months ago) link

I was there too on that night! had to miss thursday unfortunately but of the two nights I've determined Friday was the one to be at. I actually thought it was the best KC show I've ever seen, certainly the best since the 2014 reunion.

akm, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 17:26 (five months ago) link

Court is about to be reissued (again) so maybe that's why it's unavailable.

akm, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 17:26 (five months ago) link

A buddy from work went both nights and said Friday was the better of the 2 shows, although they did play Frame by Frame(!) on Thursday, which I would have loooooved to hear

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 17:49 (five months ago) link

oh I was passed a recording of Thursday's show, I should listen to it.

akm, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 17:59 (five months ago) link

ok, gave that track a listen. It's alright; there's a slightly different opening that's longer with different lyrics. Rest of the song doesn't sound miles away from the previous versions of it aside from Jakko singing but there's a lot of Mel taking up sounds that used to be covered by Belew. Anyway, it's cool. I'm sure a better official recording of this will come out at some point from DGM.

akm, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 18:13 (five months ago) link

surely... one thing that I found interesting about the show was how much more integrated the keyboard stuff was, and how much better the songs were for it. I think Mel's bag of tricks is either fairly limited, or it's just really difficult to do anything other than play a textural part in many of the tunes - he ends up doing a lot of flute trills by necessity. The stuff where they have him play a lead line that used to be a vocal, like you describe, works the best IMO

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 18:22 (five months ago) link

Was also at the Fox show on Friday! Though 2nd row of the upper orchestra right in the middle... killer seats. I was bummed there was Larks Tongues Part 1, but ecstatic about the 15-20 minute version of 21st Century Schizoid Man! So many classics they didn't play when I saw them in 2005. Quite happy Belew is no longer with the band, I much prefer Jakko Jakszyk, especially for the older material.

And they played Cat Food?! Whoa. Didn't see that coming.

octobeard, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 19:19 (five months ago) link

bummed there was NO Larks Tongues Part 1... oops. I think they played that Thursday.

octobeard, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 19:19 (five months ago) link

Oh yeah, Cat Food was a real treat. This was the third present-era show I've seen and the Friday they did best versions of Schizoid and Starless I've heard

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 19:43 (five months ago) link

Saw them in Boston last night – I’ve caught them each time they’ve come through here since 2014. And while my
perspective may be somewhat slanted by these being by far our best seats yet, it was also, I thought, the best show of the three by some distance.

I think the key to this lineup is Jeremy Stacey – who, in addition to being a terrific drummer, adds a whole other gear on keyboards and piano. They’ve never had a Keith Tippett figure in their live band. That means, in addition to being able to play songs like, say, “Cat Food,” they can also stretch out the Larks Tongues/Starless/Red-era stuff in ways that have never been possible. That meant that “Red”—a track I love but had tired of—had parts with Collins and Stacey that made it sound like it was being played by the Islands band. It was amazing.

About Collins ... I was really, really blown away by him last night. He’s always been a good player but his solos—both during the free sections (and there were a lot of these) but also during tracks like “Starless”—were legitimately “out” but also very musical and dynamic. And for me, the colors he added with the flute trills and baritone riffage were great (the latter in unison with guitar you can shoot directly into my veins). His contributions and Stacey’s together—along with Tony busting out some jazz chops and Fripp rediscovering his inner-Django—made the whole thing feel more like a pure fusion of the first and second eras of the band than I’d previously heard.

And that’s what’s kind of amazing: that after 50 years doing this—and 5 with this iteration—that they are still moving forward, still changing things up and still getting better. That was not something I was expecting.

Progressive indeed.

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 20 September 2019 13:06 (five months ago) link

I guess it follows that a band famous for its improv chops would get better when it stopped worrying about writing songs.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 20 September 2019 13:48 (five months ago) link

what do you mean by "out"

brain dead operatus (FlopsyDuck), Friday, 20 September 2019 14:46 (five months ago) link

They definitely sounded like a jazz-rock version of themselves when I saw them two years ago, and the more I think back on that performance, the more positive my feelings are about the direction they've been going. I'm seriously thinking about buying that 5CD live set that has one disc each of performances from 2014-2018.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Friday, 20 September 2019 15:03 (five months ago) link

what do you mean by "out"

I mean leaning toward free jazz -- not some rock guy's usually simplistic idea of what "free jazz" sounds like but the actual thing. I was legitimately surprised last night how comfortable the band sounded stretching out this way. Tony's cadenza solo on the upright stuck somewhat close to the melody of the song ("Moonchild," I think) but was far more inventive than his "pro's pro" reputation would lead you to expect. Collins walked the line between free, Brotzmann-esque riffs and post-Coltrane solos. Stacey, as mentioned, was fabulous. And Fripp busted out chops and a sound he hasn't really explored for nearly a half-century -- it was actually kind of shocking that a 72-year-old man can recall how he played in his early twenties.

I like this group enough that I probably would've been satisfied with pale-if-faithful imitations of past glories. This wasn't that at all.

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 20 September 2019 20:07 (five months ago) link

I must have lost all of that sitting in the nosebleed section. I'll await the next live recording in that case.

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Friday, 20 September 2019 20:11 (five months ago) link

Aaaaand now I've ordered the 5CD box, and the 3CD Radical Action to Unseat... set.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Friday, 20 September 2019 20:23 (five months ago) link

I've got the earlier 4CD version of the 5CD live compilation; you won't be disappointed. It's my favourite KC album tbh.

mike t-diva, Saturday, 21 September 2019 07:41 (five months ago) link

Does that Audio Diary thing have a release date?

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 21 September 2019 13:56 (five months ago) link

Don't know; I got the earlier 4CD set nearly a year ago, having bought "Courtier's Package" seats for their Manchester gig (birthday treat for the boyfriend). We got one each, so I flipped the spare on Discogs for £££.

I'd never been a fan of classic period KC, and only bought the gig tix as an act of love. But I've since discovered that the current live line-up is easily my favourite incarnation of the band - and it seems to be Fripp's, too. Saw one of the 50th anniversary shows at the Albert Hall not long ago, and it was equally brilliant.

mike t-diva, Saturday, 21 September 2019 18:05 (five months ago) link

I assume, since it's a giveaway to super-deluxe ticket-buyers (as described in the post above), it'll probably be shipped to us plebes once the tour ends?

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Saturday, 21 September 2019 18:22 (five months ago) link

four weeks pass...

overheard a couple exiting the stereolab show last night:

him: it was this kind of 'Robert Fripp meets--'
her: shut the fuck up

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Sunday, 20 October 2019 17:04 (four months ago) link


mark s, Sunday, 20 October 2019 17:06 (four months ago) link

I got my copy of the 5CD box a week or so ago. It's great - and there's even a track (the "Interlude" on Disc Four) from the show I attended.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Sunday, 20 October 2019 17:08 (four months ago) link

nostalgia hipster slap fight

Spironolactone T. Agnew (rushomancy), Sunday, 20 October 2019 17:36 (four months ago) link

three months pass...

This Cosmic FuKc documentary looks like it might be fun.

Miami weisse (WmC), Friday, 24 January 2020 13:59 (one month ago) link

lmao ok that is a good trailer

frogbs, Friday, 24 January 2020 14:20 (one month ago) link

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