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Posts Tagged ‘King Crimson’

30 years ago…

Monday, July 17th, 2000

Something you’d never see in the press these days, at least not without massive amounts of vehement scorn: “King Crimson and, particularly, Robert Fripp, have grasped the concept that rock can be built on a scale to rival classical music…” (Melody Maker, December 19, 1970, from the Lizard liner notes)

Various things including a little Progression hatin’

Tuesday, July 11th, 2000

After Crying seems to have a new official homepage.

The July 10 entry in josh blog sees Josh musing on prog, prog metal, prog fans, and King Crimson (I wonder if he has or has heard The Great Deceiver?). He writes somewhat negatively about, among other things, Dream Theater: “…all technical ability and nothing else really to speak of, except for the tepid compositions…” I find his criticism mostly on the mark — and I wonder how guilty I am, myself — but it leaves me thinking about how subjective the phrase “tepid compositions” is, or perhaps about what exactly it means.

There’s a fairly interesting Adrian Belew interview over at, in which Belew talks about how difficult the ConstruKction of Light material is to pull off live. An excerpt:

“I really tricked myself, because the lyrics on the choruses of ‘ConstruKction Of Light’ are random words, but each word is assigned to a specific note. The way I wrote the words was I went through and said, okay, every time I sing a G I’m gonna say the word ‘pain,’ every time I sing an E I’m gonna say ‘passion.’ And where there was a note that was repeated a lot, I gave it a second and third word. I wanted it to have a certain internal architecture, and that was fun. But now, of course, trying to remember words that have absolutely no meaning together, while you sing them in five and seven and play in 4/4…that’s gonna give me a headache for a while…”

Jon Fry sent me a couple reviews under the heading “Reviews of Stuff You’d Hate”. He then commented,

I was surprised at the jab at you in the editorial in Progression magazine, and also noticed the lack of mention of Ground and Sky in the “Prog on the Internet” or whatever article. If you ever start a “Ground and Sky in the News” section, you should wear the former as a badge of pride in it. Good day!

Ayreon = ridiculous

Wednesday, June 21st, 2000

Just how stupid is Into the Electric Castle?

Welcome! You have entered the cranial vistas of psychogenesis. This is the place of no time and no space. Do not be afraid for I am merely the vocal manifestation of your eternal dreams. I am as water, as air - like breath itself. Do not be afraid…
You have a task: To release yourselves from this Web of Wisdom, this knotted Maze of Delirium, you must enter the nuclear portals of the Electric Castle!
— Peter Daltrey, “Welcome to the New Dimension”

As much as I bitch and moan about how much money I spend, I just keep getting new stuff. Yesterday the order I placed with Discipline Global Mobile a week or two ago came in. I now have a CD copy of The Great Deceiver. The new pressing is exactly the same as the old (which I was introduced to through my brother’s copy and have been searching after ever since), but that’s fine with me and it probably makes completists happy too - they don’t have to spend another $70 for a couple bonus tracks. My question is: so what the hell took so long?

I’ve already changed my mind about the Landberk disc I called “boring” in yesterday’s entry. I’m starting to like it quite a bit, though I doubt it appeals to prog fans that dig the more complex stuff.

“At least I managed to limit my spending to three digits. Well, before converting back to Canadian dollars anyway.”
— Brad Evans

Fun stuff at the DGM diaries

Friday, June 2nd, 2000

More good stuff from the diaries at DGM, this time Trey Gunn’s. This is fun reading to dig through when bored at work. Here, Gunn writes about the second King Crimson show in Copenhagen (May 27th, 2000, or is it 28th?).

Larks’ was a disaster from the beginning and it crumpled away throughout. Although, I don’t think it was SO obvious for the audience. Even Richard, our manager, thought it was better than last night. It must be the energy of us struggling to hold the piece together.

But, if Lark’s was a disaster then Vrooom was an unleashing of unspeakable horror. At least for me. I completely lost track of where I was in the second fairy fingers section. And being as exposed as I was, well….. what can I say. I knew a viscous crashing was coming several bars before I hit the section — I could feel myself losing my own presence. I played the first three phrases right on, and then I skipped over to the fifth phrase. Yikes, where am I now? By the time that I figured out where I was the rest of the guys had moved forward a few bars — exactly where they should be. By then I was even further out. I knew that I had to keep a totally straight face and not stop playing. Just keep moving chromatically, feigning the air of confidence until I could figure out where I should be just before I need to be there. Eventually I made it (Yes!) and all wasn’t lost. But it sure felt like it.

After the show Robert said to me: “Now you know what it feels like to be the guitar player on FraKctured. All the way through!”

Speaking of this latest incarnation of King Crimson, their new album has really started growing on me. Dark and abrasive, but I didn’t expect anything that would be easy to listen to. It seems most similar in style to the 1980s version of the band, but less pop-influenced with longer, more developed compositions. The 1980s Crimson is by far my least favorite, but somehow I like this stuff much, much better. A full review should be coming soon.

It’s odd to think that I saw what must have been one of Tito Puente’s final shows. Even odder to think that he passed away yesterday - at that show at Yale he was easily the most lively member of his band (despite probably being three times the age of some of the instrumentalists!), flailing at his set and jumping around like a madman.

Communication and improvisation

Thursday, March 2nd, 2000

Taken from Tony Levin’s 1996 speech at the Eastman School of Music (available at the Papabear website): Adrian Belew of King Crimson illustrating the importance of familiarity between musicians during collective improvisation:

I once asked Adrian Belew, one of the King Crimson guitarists, how he knew when to start the verse after Robert Fripp’s solo: “I look at Robert and when he grimaces in a certain way… and his hands are at the top of the neck and there’s no place else to go…then I know.”

Prog: the bebop of rock?

Thursday, February 17th, 2000

I like to think of the progressive rock movement as vaguely analogous to the bebop movement. Both see an increase in musical sophistication and roots in a counterculture of some sort. So why was bebop so much more successful? Jazz was as “popular” and “lowbrow” before bebop as rock was before (and, hell, after) progressive rock. I’m just now learning about the history of these musics, so maybe there are answers… but I see these as open questions.

Spinning early this morning:

  • King Crimson - Red - see my note about “Starless” in yesterday’s entry
  • Mogwai - Come On Die Young - very mellow; hasn’t quite gotten through to me yet
  • Pink Floyd - The Final Cut - I have a love-hate relationship with this one…
  • Univers Zero - The Hard Quest - finally growing on me, in a really big way

Through the fish-eyed lens of tearstained eyes
I can barely define the shape of this moment in time
And far from flying high in clear blue skies
I’m spiraling down to the hole in the ground where I hide
Pink Floyd, “The Final Cut”

On the classic that is “Starless”

Wednesday, February 16th, 2000

Listening now to “Starless”, a memory comes vividly to mind. The drive from home to school my junior and senior year in high school took just over 12 minutes. I don’t know how many days I put my tape of Red into the player, found “Starless”, and began the drive blissing out to the ballad part, then zoning out to Fripp’s guitar edginess and Bruford and Wetton’s tension-building, then pulling into the parking lot with the sound of wildly blaring horns and bone-crunching bass lines screaming out the windows. There’s a very good reason this is my favorite King Crimson song…