Tag Archives: King Crimson

Discipline & Indiscipline

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
Time to dance the Fripp.
Sometimes when I think of something to be just too great, its often something I have listened too many many times. Then I also think everyone else has and know all about it, as if it was The Beatles, Pink Floyd or Mozart. The thing is, that may often not be the case, just because I know Discipline by King Crimson, and have listened to it crazy many times, it’s not the case for everyone. If You dont, here is the chance to change that.
An album elevating the consept of Rock Music.
Elephant Talk

Stylistically the new King Crimson, is a style of music in its own, explored over three albums in the early 80’s. Having some connection what Talking Heads, David Bowie and Peter Gabriel did at the same time, but with a level of complexity on one side and minimalism on the other, that is very King Crimson, and especialy this short lived version of King Crimson.
Frame By Frame

After dropping King Crimson in 1974, Fripp did a lot of other things for the duration of the 70’s, but in 1980 he called King Crimson ex. drummer Bill Bruford, to form a new band called Discipline, they agreed to do something together. Fripp called guitarist Adrian Belew, at the time known for his work with Frank Zappa, Talking Heads and David Bowie, Belew was happy to be part of the team, he was younger, and knew of Fripp and Bruford as Progressive Rock giants.
Discipline

Fripp and Bruford went to New York, making auditions for a Bass player, a tape with a recording of a 17/8 riff, was played during audition, as to check if the bassist’s would be Discipline materiel, they should be able to play the riff. On the 3.rd day of audition Tony Levin came in, Fripp knew him from playing together at Peter Gabriel’s albums I II and III, the case was settled, Fripp later commented, that he would have expected Tony to be too busy; otherwise he would have called him without hesitation. Levin was known to also play the Chapman stick, something that would suit the project very well.
Indiscipline

Even though Fripp was unsure about the idear of renaming the Project, King Crimson, the Americans did not like “Discipline”, as that was not a term ringing well in their ears, not friendly, and Bruford would agree : Robert will talk endlessly about icons and things, but to us plain Englishmen it just seems a very good idea. In the end while still touring, they changed the band name from Discipline to King Crimson. The album was released in September 1981
The Sheltering Sky

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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 & The Peacock’s Tale

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.

Lizard : The Battle Of The Glass Tears – Big Top

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.
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

The Original Version.

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 : Circus.

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!


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 recomand every KC lover to get it, one of the best records 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

From “The Power to Believe”

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.