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King Krimson

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by 6-stringer, Jul 11, 2000.

  1. 6-stringer

    6-stringer Guest

    Feb 5, 2000
    Could some one recomend a good King Krimson album. I have never really given them a try,
    but I here a lot of good things. Which do you prefer, the older stuff or the new? Thanx
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think it's very difficult to recommend albums from King Crimson as each incarnation of the band has been so different, with the only common factor the guitar and spirit of Robert Fripp.

    Early King Crimson, is very much prog-rock in the Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer mould, but with some eccentricity which marked them out and is probably down to the character of Fripp. The favourite fro prog-rock fans is the first "In the Court of the Crimson King" - with Greg Lake on vocals. Everybody likes "21st Century Schizoid man" for it's energy, great horn parts and Fripp's "impossible" guitar solo. But the rest of the album is overblown and variable to say the least!

    The next few albums, lost all the band except Fripp and while I like most of them - they are weird to say the least and some people I have played them to, have found them unlistenable and hated every minute.

    I like "Lizard" (impossble to describe) and "Islands", which to me is a masterpiece, but is probably most notable for the appearance of Boz Burrel on vocals and the fact that Frip taught him to play bass in the studio and he then went on to join Bad Company! The one thing you can say about Islands is that it is absolutely the opposite of Bad Company - these are absolute poles apart. If you listen to one track on Islands, sample "The Sailor's Tale" this again is a guitar solo from Fripp that is just impossible and I still have no idea how he did it.

    The band moved on with a more stable line-up though dense instrumental, guitar-heavy albums like "Larks Tongues in Aspic", "Starless and Bible Black" and "Red" another personal favourite.

    Fripp went on with "solo" projects and thinsg like "The League of Gentleman"; and around that time I lost touch with whether King Crimson still existed, until the band resurfaced with the double trio idea - two lots of Guitar, Bass and drums - although it includes things like Chapman Stick and Tonly Levin became a feature for bass players.

    But to me, the band has become more "Americanised" and has lost some of the eccentricity and charm of the earlier periods. But if you're looking for adventurous instrumental music with great playing from some of the best musicians around, you can try things like "Thrak", but to me it's a bit characterless compared with the earlier stuff.
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    "Discipline" is supposedly a high point in Crimson's discography. Personally, I like "Three of a perfect pair", but some people say Belew's influence makes it sound too pop.
    I have also "Thraak", which is ok but not great. Their first album, "In the court of the Crimson King"(which inspired the band's name) has Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame) on bass, so I wouldn't get that album for the bass playing. (will I get flamed for this remark, I wonder)

    Will C. cool.

    You can't hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket!

  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I second the vote for "Discipline." It's not the most accessible of Crimson's releases, but could count as the most virtuosic (certainly as far as Bruford's playing is concerned). In my opinion, the best of the Belew/Fripp/Levin/Bruford entries.
  5. I like all of King Crimson. If I have to pick a favorite, and it's not easy for me to do that, I'll pick Discipline. I have great memories of seeing them live on that tour.


  6. Get yourself a copy of both _Discipline_ and _Larks' Tongues in Aspic_. If you can afford only one flip a coin. _Discipline_ is more song-based and features the rather unconventional basswork of Tony Levin. _Larks'_ consists mostly of extended compositions that were the launching pads for some truly bizarre jams. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part II" is the real standout.
  7. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    Another vote for "Discipline".
  8. I also vote for "Discipline" as my favorite Crimson album. I also have "The Compact King Crimson" which is a amall 12 song best-of CD. It's a great album, and will give you a little taste of the earlier AND later stuff. Listen to it, and then decide if you want to expand your Crimson collection.

    I also just got Robert Fripp & the League of Crafty Guitarists. The name of the CD is "Intergalactic Boogie Express - Live In Europe 1991". This is an AMAZING album. There is no bass on the album eek. , but if you like Fripp's work...

    But make sure you definitely listen to "Thela Hun Ginjeet" from Discipline at least 10 times in a row!~ hehe!

  9. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Personally I loved 'In The Court of Crimson King'. Greg Lake has a phenominal voice and did a wonderful job with the bass parts, as memory serves. After that, I found the band somewhat too Fripp indulgent and didn't really pay any attention to them until John Wetton came to the rescue. It seems to me that K.C. in the Wetton incarnation also had a live album that I liked a lot too. Therefore, I vote for 'In The Court of The Crimson King', 'Red' and un-named live album.
  10. Jazzbassman23


    Apr 20, 2000
    Sorry I came in late on this one, but as a self-proclaimed King Crimson expert, I have to get my .02 in here. I couldn't agree more w/Bruce's assessment of the early years which were marked by a steady flow of musicians in and out of the band. I think the problem most listeners have with KC is that it is virtually impossible to pigeonhole them into any one catagory. While I love Discipline, it is not, IMHO, the best Crimson. The sheer power, adventerousness and virtuosity diplayed on Larks Tongue in Aspic puts that at the top of my list. Many overlook Jamie Muir's contributions to the group since he disappeared after only a few months. I suppose the difficulty lies in that you really need to look at KC as several different bands, but the aspect that has grabbed me for the past 30 years is their willingness to improvise in public. If you haven't read the online diaries of Fripp, Mastellotto and/or Gunn, do yourself a favor and check them out. You get to follow every step of the way as they recorded their last album The ConstruKction of Light and then the subsequent European tour. Since this IS Talk-Bass, I'm always amazed that no one speaks much of Trey Gunn who holds down the "bass" chair with the group now that Tony Levin is touring elsewhere. He's an amazing talent; I had the pleasure of catching Project Two (Fripp, Gunn and Belew on V-Drums) in 1998 and was completely blown away by Gunn's power and inventiveness on the Warr Guitar. Anyway, I'm starting to digress, so here's my list, in order, of the essential Crimson and related byproducts for the new millenium bassist.

    1. Larks Tongue in Aspic
    2. Discipline
    3. The ConstruKction of Light
    4. Joy of Molybdenum (Trey Gunn Band)
    5. ProjeKct Three, Masque
    6. any of the ProjeKct recordings
  11. THE CONSTRUKTION OF LIGHT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  12. Dunno about you, but as cool as Gunn and Fripp are on bass (check out _Space Groove_ by ProjeKCt Two, Fripp does some wicked stuff with MIDI-sampled fretless), I can't wait for Tony Levin to rejoin the group. Then, there can be three-way Ashbory jams among Gunn, Levin, and Belew! Put some icy Fripp guitar on top of that and a trance-ish Mastelotto breakbeat under it, and it oughta be golden...
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Nice to see this topic is still going - when I first posted on this I was trying to give an overview, but we seem to have moved on to "ranking" their albums. Can't we just like them all for the different qualities and ideas they bring?

    My personal favourite is "Islands", which nobody else seems to have heard of - any opinions on this? But I think that anything that Robert Fripp does is interesting and intelligent and therefore worth a listen.
  14. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    I like everything by KC, but have to also vote for Discipline as my favorite.
    As a side note, I have met and talked to Robert Fripp on two occasions and he was one of the nicest, and most interesting people I have ever met. He has had a profound affect of my approach to playing music.
  15. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Man, I'm sorry to have jumped in this late. King Crimson is my absolute favorite band. I even like the much-maligned Earthbound (and I have the black cover!) where they do honest-to-god FUNK. KC is an experience that needs direction to the uninitiated. Early material was broad strokes, feeling out the territory. The first release was bombastic, and many regard it highly. I actually liked parts of the the second ("Pictures of a City" has a very low-key, sexy bass line running through it. "Cat Food" was also very cool). I don't have Lizard, but I understand it to be VERY jazzy. Islands was quirky, but I kept listening to it ("Sailor's Tale is a highlight). I'd say my favorite line-up was the '73-74 band (Larks Tongue in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, Red). This line-up pushed Fripp to the forefront for the first time, where he previously blended into the fray. Enter Adrian Belew - the absolute perfect foil to Robert Fripp. Fripp is disciplined (hint, hint) while Belew is out on a ledge. There are times when Belew sounds as if he's guessing, or just learning the songs (compare them on Absent Lovers, released a couple years ago). Discipline (which was supposed to be the name of the band) is one of the best; it's controlled mayhem. Next comes Beat, which a lot of people dismiss, but I love. King Crimson in a commercial format; beautifully done ("Heartbeat"). Enter the '90s (sorry, I don't have Three of a Perfect Pair), and they are still vibrant. Thrak was an interesting effort, but didn't exploit the "double-trio" as well as they wanted to. Belew is now so ingrained into King Crimson that I say the band is not just Fripp, but the pair of them. I can't wait to get The ConstruKction of Light (downloaded "Prozac Blues" prior to release). SIGH....now for my suggestions:

    1. Lark's Tongue in Aspic - the most incredible dynamics you'll ever hear on record. This album sealed John Wetton in history. "Lark's Tongue in Aspic - Pt. 2" is a perfect example of how KC can adapt classical music to rock (Bela Bartok, and some say Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring")
    2. Beat - they prove that catchy, commercial music can be extremely creative and unpredictable
    3. Discipline - virtuosity, precision, different. Adrian Belew was the first vocalist in KC to put vocals on top of the music, and not fold it inside of the music.
    4. In the Court of the Crimson King - it all starts here.

    The thing about King Crimson is that there are no rules; all musical paths are explored, and they are one of the few bands that actively pursues improvisation (hence all the projeKcts).
    Frost13, you are one of the privileged few; I'm envious and jealous. Fripp's approach to the public is well-known. I admire the fact that he accepted you.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I've got "Lizard" on vinyl (but no record deck!)- I would say it's more like Classical or Chamber music with some folk tales thrown in.

    Have all you current KC fans read Tony Levin's book "Beyond the Bass Clef" - lots of interesting and amusing anecdotes about life on the road with them. I ordered it from Amazon. Every bass player should have a copy!
  17. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Pedro, you're probably thinking of USA as that live album. Also out last year was The Night Watch. I have a 20-year-old boot of that show called Un Reve Sans Consequence.

    Hey, JazzBassMan, are you part of the DGM club? I had thought that the ProjeKcts were only available to members; I'm not, so I've never heard any of them, but all Crimheads at http://www.elephant-talk.com said that ProjeKct Four was a killer.


    Mar 3, 2000
    have any of you heard the "double trio" album that they made. This was maybe two years a go. With fripp, another guitarist,gunn, and levin, and a couple of drummers.
  19. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Check above - THRAK was the double-trio attempt. I honestly didn't hear it happen, but it was a good album (just not great). The line-up was Robert Fripp/Tony Levin/Bill Bruford along with Adrian Belew/Trey Gunn/Pat Mastoletto(sp?). For me, the interesting cuts were "People" (some very Beatlesque phrases) and "Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream".
    The newest release has the departure of Bruford and Levin leaving the band a quartet again....imagine the former drummer of Mister Mister now sitting behind Fripp. All accounts are that he's more than capable of dealing with the absense of Bruford.

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