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Old 05-27-2006, 08:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiu
Hurry up so I can read your review of Red.
Ok, but thats 3 albums away.
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thats rad man...you've got a wack load of Prog knowledge in that head of yours
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yes, so you better get on with it.
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Old 06-26-2006, 04:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Bleh... Sorry for such a long delay, gonna try to finish the rest as quickly as i can.



Larks Tongues In Aspic - 1973

Personnel:
Robert Fripp - Guitar, Mellotron.
John Wetton - Bass, Vocals.
Bill Bruford - Drums.
David Cross - Violin, Viola, Flute, Mellotron.
Jamie Muir - Percussion.
Richard Palmer-James - Lyrics.

After the release of Islands, Sinfields collaboration with the group had ended.... And Crimsons curse of never having a bass player to last for 2 albums lived on, Boz Burrell left the band to join *Gasp* Bad Company... Of course this wasn't the first time a member of the group left for another band, Lake had left to form ELP and Sinfield would later join him, McDonald left to form Foreigner, and of course, everyone else left after Islands, leaving Fripp as the only original band member remaining... Here Crimsons curse had finally come to an end when Fripp recruited bass virtuoso John Wetton, who was the best bassist Crimson ever had at this point and former Yes drummer Bill Bruford, who left Yes shortly after completition of Close To The Edge, fearing that because the album was so good that it would be impossible for Yes to be able to live up to it and surpass it with a better record, so instead he decided to join a band who were reaching the peak of their career, rather than going past it, he made a good decision. Bruford would become the longest lasting member in the band second only to Fripp... KC also had an amazing talent in virtuoso violinist David Cross, who had just joined the band... The Fripp/Wetton/Bruford/Cross lineup would last for two more studio albums, and a few live albums.

After Islands, Fripp was left alone to figure out the fate of his musical career, eventually he decided that Crimson could be reborn and visualised a more agressive and radical approach to progressive rock music... The result was this album... Here Crimson go for a similar kind of lo-fi production that was used on Islands, but the musical approach is radically different... Because Fripp had a new and improved rhythm section to back him, he decided that Crimsons 5th would put more emphasis on rhythmic complexity than tonality and even melody... Larks expands on avant garde ideas first exeriemented with by the likes of Zappa and Beefheart in the 60s... Featuring the heaviest, darkest, weirdest and most complex music Crimson had ever done at that point... Though the following two albums were even better, Larks is notable for being Crimsons first true crossover into hard rock and proto metal.

1. Larks Tongues In Aspic Part One: The opening track here is an instrumental which begins with several chimes and bells before progressing into a neo classical symphony of frantic strings and hissing metal guitar riffs... The instruments begin to clash together as if they are following a mathematical code... Following this is a much softer section, with a great three minute Violin solo from Cross, which is eventually followed by surreal guitar harmonics and incoherent ramblings and whispers, and then the song ends the same way it began.

2. Book Of Saturday: A mellow little ballad with accoustic guitar and strange string and backwards guitar harmonies... First Crimson song to feature Wettons completely recognisable vocals and RPJ's satrical lyrics, which would become a Crimson trademark.

3. Exiles: This track starts off as a ambient piece consisting of haunting noises before suddenly bursting into yet another moody epic from Crimson... A very mellow piece with some great flute and string harmonies from Cross... And yet as side one of this album closes, we find that the next half is a frantic contrast to the first side.

4. Easy Money: This track begins the heavier second half of Larks, the comforting ethereal vibe of the first half is nowhere to be seen, with more distorted guitar and a series of weird chants... Wetton's muddy bass style is well demonstrated here... The song begins as a chilling satire of greed, materialism and rock star excess... Something Crimson would continue to explore... The song then transforms into a avant jazz jam.

5. Talking Drums: Like on Larks I and Exiles, Crimson use ambience to set the mood here... This track starts out very quietly, with faint sounds of drum, bass, guitar and violin which get louder and louder over a trance inducing rhythm before exploding into a screaming collision of strings.. Quickly leading to the closing track of the album.

6. Larks Tongues In Aspic Part Two: Dispite what the title suggests, there is no melodic theme from part one that is being repeated here... Instead part two begins with a grungy metal riff that repeats repetitvely throughout most of the entire song... Breaks and chord changes come out of nowhere several times... And the song takes many unexpected turns... Including the infamous "duh duh duh duhduh duhduh" distorted guitar break in the middle followed by Cross's "boiling teapot" Violin effects... A very metal song and for me it's even heavier than most metal i have heard, still one of my favorite Crimson pieces.

Larks is the most inaccessible album not only from King Crimson, but it's a top canidate for most inaccessible album of all time... Certainly one of the most challenging, and my discription so far has been a very vague one, you don't know what you're in for until you hear it for yourself.

Last edited by boo boo; 06-30-2007 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:50 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Great review...Larks Tongues In Aspic Part One is one of my favourite KC songs...i love how like half way in you can hear the guitar work...you can tell KC must have been a huge influence on TMV...it sounds like omar
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Old 10-26-2006, 07:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm gonna try and get this back on track.



Starless And Bible Black - 1974

Personnel:
Rober Fripp - Guitar, Mellotron.
John Wetton - Bass, Vocals.
Bill Bruford - Drums, Percussion.
David Cross - Violin, Viola, Keyboards.
Richard Palmer-James - Lyrics.
George Chkiantz - Acoustic Coordinator.
Peter Henderson - Assistant Engineer.

1974 was a rough year for prog, most critics opinions on the genre shifted towards the negative side, and punk rock was already on the rise as important punk bands such as The Ramones began to form.

However, the kings of prog were not gonna give up without a fight, especially now that Fripp has finally found himself a suitable (and consistant) lineup to progress even further into unexplored musical territory, with a bulletproof ensemble of virtuoso musicians and Richard Palmer-James (who previously was one of the founding members of Supertramp, only to leave shortly after) whose lyrical skills greatly surpass that of his predecessor Peter Sinfield, the band had become an unstopable force... Even today Starless And Bible Black is considered by critics to be the most abrasive, vicious and darkly funny album of the bands career, and one of the most innovative works in progressive rock, thanks in most part to Wettons trademark smug vocals and Fripps mad guitar skillz... It's a shame that most prog bands today don't follow Crimsons example and instead choose to immitate bands like Marillion and Starcastle, which is counterproductive for bands who prefer to be called "progressive".

It should be noted that while this is considered a studio effort, only three songs were done in studio (Great Deceiver, Lament and Night Watch), all the other tracks were recorded live, with sounds of the audience edited out,

But enough ranting...

1. The Great Deceiver: Amazing opener, and it's one of the bands most memorable songs... Unusual song for Crimson in that it actually features what could classify as a "riff"... Though it's a violin riff... Here the violin and guitars are oddly tuned and distorted while sharing a very similar tone, and Fripps violin like techniques (or Frippertonics, as they are often known) makes it even harder to tell what is violin and what is guitar... While the riffs and guitars are fast, the bass is slow and melodic... Yet another Crimson trademark.... As it should be noted, this is the second Crimson album to not feature their original lyricist and conceptionist Peter Sinfield, and it's noticable here... Palmers lyrics do away with Sinfields upbeat fantasticism and instead offer a satrical observation of the bleakness and confusion of middle class society and "enough is never enough" consumerism and culture... And the music itself reflects that, in fact... All but 3 songs on this album are instrumentals, but the 3 lyrical/vocal pieces that make such a powerful statement it sets the mood for the whole album... Here, Palmer references materialism, greed, exploitation and religion... Almost all in a single instance... Lyrics like "Sing hymns make love get high fall dead, Hell bring his perfume to your bed, Hell charm your life til the cold winds blow, Then hell sell your dreams to a picture show" show improvement for the band, Sinfields departure was just what the band needed at this point... Finally Crimsons lyrical and thematic ideas were beginning to catch up with their actual music.

2. Lament: One of my favorite songs off this album, the song starts with a repetive chord while Wetton sings about the dreams of becoming a rock star, once the song kicks off into a metal-funk jam the lyrics become a stinging satire of rock n roll excess... The song itself is somewhat of a parody of Zeppelin-esque hard rock.

3. We'll Let You Know: Nice little bass heavy instrumental here... This one was recorded in Glasgow, Scotland.

4. The Night Watch: A King Crimson album wouldn't be complete without the token medieval-ish ballad now would it?... This song was inspired by the Rembrandt painting of the same name... This song at first dosen't seem to fit in with the other tracks, but it's a great track on it's own, with some of Fripps amazing guitar work stealing the spotlight... This song is actually two recordings spliced together, the intro was recorded live, the rest recorded in the studio.

5. Trio: While KC at this point are venturing further into more rock and jazz based teritory, their classical influences are still intact, evidenced here... This lovely little improv was recorded in Zürich, Switzerland and features what may very well be some of the best use of Mellotron ever put on record... It suggests many instruments that simply aren't there, very unreal... Oddly enough, Bruford was giving writing credit for this track dispite not actually playing on it.

6. The Mincer: Weird psychedelic little song, weird mix of KC style layers of guitar and bass with Beatles-esque vocal harmonies during the closer.

7. Starless And Bible Black: The final two tracks are pure chaos, this one mixes fusion with the combo of avant noise and ambience that King Crimson specialize in, like most of the songs off Larks, this one just builds and builds.

8. Fracture: Probably my favorite of all of KC's instrumentals, an extremely heavy, monsterious jam with complex guitar structures that would define Crimson's later work.
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Old 10-26-2006, 07:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Right on, wicked review. The S/t Track is my favourite on this album. Its nice to see you're back with doing these.
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Old 10-26-2006, 07:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Awesome review, I still don't have this album
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Old 06-19-2007, 06:42 AM   #19 (permalink)
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And 8 months later.



Red - 1974

Personnel:
Robert Fripp - Guitar, Mellotron.
John Wetton - Bass, Vocals.
Bill Bruford - Drums, Percussion.
David Cross - Violin.
Mel Collins - Soprano Saxophone.
Ian McDonald - Alto Saxophone.
Robin Miller - Oboe.
Marc Charig - Cornet.
Richard Palmer-James - Lyrics.

1974 is a special year because KC didn't just make one awesome album that year, they made two. Because both of these albums were made only 9 or so months apart and features the same lineup of Fripp-Wetton-Bruford, they come off with very similar vibes. However while SABB was a very heavy, dark record, Red while heavy and dark itself, is like SABBs cooler, slicker younger brother, with a jazzier, space rock sound that recalls their earlier album Lizard.

Because he felt that his role in the band was being downsized, Cross left the band, and only appears on two tracks, Providence and Starless. To fill in Cross's absense, Fripp called some of his old buddies to perform on this record. Mel Collins returns on Sax after a 3 year absense, and Saxophonist Ian McDonald makes a grand return on his first KC album since ITCOTCK, the first KC album.

While KC were working on this album, they were also rehearsing for a sequel to this album, which would have been titled Blue. Unfortunately, it never happened, and only 2 months before Red was released. Fripp announced that King Crimson, the band that revolutionized progressive rock, was ka-put. Red was to be the last King Crimson album, or at least until they reunited 8 years later. When you think about it, Red was (or would have been) the ultimate swan song for one of the most innovative rock bands of all time.

If you were to ask me, Red is argubly the best Crimson album. And its also their most influencial. If you want to listen to the blueprints for The Mars Volta and Tool. You will find it here.

1. Red: The intro to this amazing album opener begins bluntly, with great force and an excellent synth-like guitar line, before kicking off into what I consider to be one of the coolest guitar riffs ever. Wettons bass has an almost cello quality to it. The way this instrumental track subtly evolves is hard to discribe. Just listen to it.

2. Fallen Angel: If you were to ask, why? Why, am I so obsessed with prog? All I would have to do is name drop this song, it's my favorite King Crimson song, so therefor, It's my favorite prog song. Its a beautiful song with accoustic guitar (last time Fripp would ever play one on record), oboe and cornet. Some of Fripps finest guitar work can be found here. This song uses a brilliant soft/loud verse/chorus dynamic that was unusual at the time, but is oh so common now. This song shows that even at their freakiest and most expermental, King Crimson could still be melodic.

3. One More Red Nightmare: I love this song. The only thing that gets me is, could they have found something better to write about than falling asleep on a Greyhound bus and dreaming about a plane crash? No matter, it's King Crimson, and guitars speak louder than words. This is a very intense, groovy song, with hypotizing bass, weird effects with hands clapping and two amazing saxophone solos by McDonald. You almost get a feeling like you're seasick when you listen to it. But in a cool way.

4. Providence: One of the weirdest Crimson jams since Moonchild. This one starts off with some really f*cked up violin playing by Cross. Later on accomplied by guitar, bass, oboe and percussion. For those want to know just how crazy Crimsons jams can get, this is a good start.

5. Starless: What is odd about this track is that it sounds more like two different compositions glued together, the first is a gorgous ballad, with smooth guitars and mellotron by Fripp and soprano sax by Collins. Indeed this song gives the impression that King Crimson took a time warp back to 1969. However thats just the first 4 minutes, afterwards KC switch it back to jam mode. With Cross's mental violin sneaking in, eventually kicking off a big noisy jam before finally calming down to make a much awaited return to melodic mode, with the opening guitar melody being revisited on sax, sounding off a gorgous outro to such a powerful song, like the rainbow after a storm.

Last edited by boo boo; 06-19-2007 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:24 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Nice work, I'll have to check this band out at some point, your description sounds very appealing....
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