Category Archives: Fripp ‘y Days

King Crimson – The Lizard Suite

If you did not read “Lizard” part one and two, start here.

Just as unexpected as side A of the album may have sounded, to anyone hoping to get another “In the Court of The Crimson King”, just as unexpected come Jon Andersons vocals, at the beginning of the 23 minute “Lizard”, a beautiful symphonic Rock classic, subtitled “Prince Rupert Awakes” (4.36).

Lizard : Prince Rupert Awakes


Andersons vocals sends thoughts in the direction of early Yes albums, but the music definitely Crimson, not unlike The Crimson we know from the two previous albums. The 2nd Part of the Suite “Bolero – The Peacock’s Tale”, is yet another sharp turn in style, first a soft melodic piece, moving into a jazzy jam, but this time not frantic as the side A jams, much more polite, with great piano and horn sections, in the end returning to the soft melodic style.

Bolero – The Peacock’s Tale (1991 remix)


The third part of the suite “The Battle Of The Glass Tears (10:58)”, opens with a soft vocal section from Haskell, from there moves into a wild section, of almost chaotic (symphonic?) Jazz Rock, most likely illustrating the battle itself, and from there into a calm section where Fripp’s guitar solo tops a bass rhythm. The album ends with a short piece “Big Top” a circus like piece, pointing back to the track opener. Just like if the record wants you to start again.

Lizard : The Battle Of The Glass Tears – Big Top


According to Eric Tamm, Fripp should have stated about Lizard : “We’ve made it so that the 24th time things’ll really begin to go Zap. Im not sure he was right about that, think it depends on the listener, but yes, Lizard is hard to get into music, and you should definitely give it more than a few runs, to make it “Zap”. But I guess with most albums, you should, except those made specifically for mass consumption.

Happy family, one hand clap !

Lizard (part 2).
If you did not check out part 1 start here.

Happy Family is the last of the upbeat tracks from side 1 of the original vinyl.
A surreal reflection on the Beatles split. The track features distorted vocals, that may seem a bit over the top, in today’s ears. The true brilliance on this track is the piano (Keith Tippet), and the numbers of solo’s going in and out, often many at the same time, on a lot of instruments, a total trip attacking our ears, very experimental , Jazz Rock Fussion +.

Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree/No-man) liner notes for his remix of Lizard 40th Anniversary Edition.:
“I’ve always felt that if presented in the right way, I could make a case for this being the most experimental rock record ever made. It’s extraordinary what they’re doing on this album. In terms of fusing free-jazz with progressive rock for me there’s almost no parallel and yet it seems to an album that is overlooked by jazz fans and progressive rock fans alike.”

After those complex tracks, it would be time for a softer piece, and that is what we get. The first half of the album concludes with a ballad of pure beauty. LADY OF THE DANCING WATERS

Alternative take, bonus track from the 40th Anniversary Edition.

To be continued.

Crimson – Playing Indoor Games

Friday is Fripp day.

After opening the doors of Symphonic Rock wide open, with the milestone album, In the Court of the Crimson King: An Observation by King Crimson in 1969, and paving the way for what was to become the super groups of Progressive Symphonic Rock, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer” , “Yes” and “Genesis”. Fripp and with him King Crimson already in 1970, left Symphonic Progressive Rock, for good, with Lizard. So what did we get instead? In my opinion something even better, Lizard is a combination of inspirations, from so many sources in music, and performed to excellence.

Now let us start from the beginning : Cirkus.

The insane amounts of layers, the combination of Rock Drums , Symphonic layers of mellotron, the extremely odd-beat acoustic guitar (Fripp), the saxophone (Mel Collins) and the absurd song itself.
A massive opener as close to avant-garde jazz as it is to Rock. Lizard may almost be seen as a genre of its own. Critics may with good reason say; this is way too complicated for Rock music, I would answer, yes but is it Rock music. ? Or rather I have no idea what the hell it is. I just want more!

Night: her sable dome scattered with diamonds
Fused my dust from a light year
Squeezed me to her breast, sewed me with carbon
Strung my warp across time

There are presently no video from of the album version of Indoor Games, but this is a trio version from the recording session.

Indoor Games, a bit lighter in texture than Circus, due to the more structured melody in the vocals.
But we are not listening to your everyday car radio rock, things are still very complex, odd tempo, and the instruments seem often to play up against each other, as much as together.
“Indoor fireworks amuse your kitchen staff” quite a sing along by the bonfire, just that I don’t know anyone who could play this. This time Fripp plays wonder on both electric and acoustic guitar.

To be continued.

Dangerous Curves

 

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
So lets Fripp out.

King Crimson is not just one band, have been so many constellations, with so different members, playing so different music, that it would be very hard to digest in a post, or even a few posts. On the other hand, it would be too strange to do Fripp Fridays, and continue to avoid Crimson, so what I will do, is take one little piece once in a while, and post them in between other things Fripp.

“Dangerous Curves” is a track first found on the Level Five Live “Tour EP”, released I 2001.
It is a Crimson Instrumental, starting very calm and slowly building more and more heavy, towards a climax. In this version with a strange intro of (Belew’s) spoken words, and a wonderful clean sound.

This is not found on Youtube – But i would recommend every KC lover to get it, one of the best recordings KC did, from the mid 80’s and onwards.

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The track appears again on the 2003 full studio album “The Power to Believe”. It is now longer, scary, darker, a nice example of how Crimson develops their material, the track had changes quite a lot. The studio production of this particular track, in my opinion, makes it a bit weaker than the cleaner “Level Five” version

A live version

There is another live version, from the 2003 tour, supporting the release of “The Power to belive”.
Again we get a very different version, this time with a very raw (Belew) guitar base, an ambient texture of almost symphonic sounds, wild futuristic electronic percussions, now more robotic, industrial.

Live 2003

 

King Crimson, in this period:
Adrian Belew – Guitar, Vocals ; Robert Fripp – Guitar ; Trey Gunn – Warr Guitar ; Pat Mastelotto – Drums

Previous Fripp Friday January 24.

David Sylvian and Robert Fripp

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
So lets Fripp out.

Fripp and Sylvian had been working together on some of Sylvians solo albums and in 1993 they did an album together as “David Sylvian and Robert Fripp”, The First Day. With former Peter Gabriel drummer Jerry Marotta, and Fripp’s “guitar craft” student Trey Gunn, who had also participated on Fripp’s “Sunday All Over the World” project, with Fripp’s wife Toyah Willcox as vocalist.
The First Day, was followed by touring and a life album, “Damage”.

The band had changed a bit, on “Damage” Jerry Marotta was replaced by former Mr. Mister drummer Pat Mastelotto. He would, like Trey Gunn, soon become members of Fripp’s flagship, King Crimson, and they had expanded with Infinite Guitarist Michael Brook (*).

“Damage” works better for me than “The First Day”, it becomes much more interesting live. Sylvians soft voice, the music stretching from sometimes ambient, sometimes very catchy and accessible, to long heavy almost Industrial sections, pointing towards the music King Crimson would later be making in the 90’s and 00’s. Everything Spiced up by Fripp’s unique soloing.

(*) Michael Brook created The Infinite Guitar, allowing an electric guitar note to be held with infinite sustain. In addition to his own instrument, Brook produced two Infinite Guitars, one of which belongs to Daniel Lanois, the other to The Edge of U2.

Fripp & Travis meets Eno & Fripp

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
So lets Fripp out !!

While deeply involved with King Crimson, in 1972, Fripp was invited by Brian Eno to his home studio, with Eno’s new system , using two tape recorders, when a single sound was played, it was heard several seconds later at a lower volume level, then again several seconds later at a still lower level, and so on.
Fripp and Eno, got started, and created “The Heavenly Music Corporation,” Side One of “No Pussyfooting” released the following year, a proto-ambient masterpiece. The birth of Fripp’s journey, into ambient music.

The latest work have been his collaboration “Travis & Fripp”, with Theo Travis, British saxophonist and flautist. Where they use similar systems as Fripp & Eno did back in 1972, besides the fact that today everything is off course electronic.
The style is Ambient as many other of Fripp’s solo works have been, but with the more acoustic sound from flutes and other wind instruments played by Travis, this collaboration come out more soft.
Fripp have always been working a lot with improvising, and that is also the core of this project, but they have also reworked existing materials (“Moonchild” from the King Crimson debut ).

Travis and Fripp : When The Rains Fall – 2012
(there is a silent intro of about 40 sec., nothing wrong with your system)

There is no Youtube from No Pussyfooting atm. But this gives a good idear of the kind of music on the album.  (a live version of ‘The Heavenly Music Corporation’)

 

Robert Fripp – exposure trilogy

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My first blog will be about the stunning Robert Fripp Exposure project. Resulting in some interesting album, in the later part of the 70’s.

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The trilogy was never as he intended, especialy due to the late release of SS, but its still easy to find a lot of similarities between the albums.

Daryl Hall, Sacred Songs (recorded 1977 released 1980)

Peter Gabriel, (II – Scratch) (1978)

Robert Fripp, Exposure (1979)

And more so, because they recorded several versions of some of the songs on Exposure, resulting in the so called third edition bonus disc (2006).

Fripp put it like this : “What I was trying to do in the original trilogy was to investigate the ‘pop song’ as a means of expression … I think it’s a supreme discipline to know that you have three to four minutes to get together all your lost emotions and find words of one syllable or less to put forward all your ideas. It’s a discipline of form that I don’t think is cheap or shoddy.”

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Another angel on this project, that is interesting, is how Fripp wanted the sound, the stripped down vocals production, the very “retro” mix, is so much in opposition to what prog was about to become, with Yes Genesis, 80’s King Crimson  and the Neo-prog wave, of “overproduced” albums, that was to become the plague of the next 20 years of music. Fripp made the sound that many find modern today, in the late 70’s.

Everyone interested in Fripp and/or Gabriel, should take the time to listen trough these 3 albums, in one long session, starting with SS, and ending with Exposure, it’s a wonderfull journey.