|| Wednesday, 16th September 1998
19.04 This morning I sat with "The Consequences of Angelic Behaviour" from Rieflin, Fripp & Gunn before moving to a noontime interview with David Mead for Guitar Techniques.
David Mead, nowadays more a guitar teacher and writer than player, was a 14 year old in Hyde Park when King Crimson played with the Stones. In 1971 he worked out "Schizoid Man", which is impressive for a 16 year old. David would like the score of "Fracture" to be printed in GT.
"Fracture" remains one of the hardest pieces I have ever played in public. During the moto perpetuo, in the middle of the piece, if the group's time drifts the guitarist is hung out to dry. Often, the time drifted in the group. The guitarist is stuck with an endless (it feels) series of equal semi-quavers at 124-136 with cross-picking over two and three strings. Twenty-five years later this continues to provide technical challenges. The musical challenges remain, but more so for an American: the piece is distinctly European. Very little power rock is uncompromisingly European and convincing. Crimson metal of the early seventies is a rare exception.
David Singleton continues to run out the contents of the SADiE and has installed the new operating upgrade. This enables us to go beyond mastering to the final stage in the process of making a CD.
It's that time again. We are feeding into the (emptied) SADiE the ProjeKct Two mixes for Live Groove.
In my mail slot are the very likely ProjeKct Four shows (awaiting final confirmation):
Oct 23 & 24 Fox Theater, Boulder
Oct 27 The Rage, Vancouver
Oct 28 Fenix, Seattle
Oct 29 Fenix, Seattle (Option)
Oct 30 Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Nov 1 & 2 7th. Note, San Francisco
"Live Groove" to "Heavy ConstuKction" to "X-chayn-jiZ" to "The Deception of the Thrush".
Current Thinking On Crimson: these are Talking & Discussion Points which I circulated to Bill, Tony, Adrian, Pat & Richard on Monday, and are now presented to you...
My recent discussions with Billy B. regarding the next step for Crim continues to reverberate, oscillate and generate my thinking process. I keep running into the problem of how to include acoustic drumming into my (electronic) picture of the next step. Part of this is musical, and part of this is practical.
In my planning for the Crim future what I've been doing has been to compromise my sense of the next step; this, in order to accomodate Bill's passion for the acoustic kit. Practically, acoustic traps means it's back to perspex sheets, large rooms for rehearsal and recording, and earplugs: in other words, ways of keeping out the sound of Crim playing. ProjeKct One just about worked, with occasional winces in my high end; but for Crimson I continue to have major doubts.
So, since I keep hitting a conceptual brick wall and unable to move the process forward, what I've decided to do is this: go ahead with what I hear / see / have in mind for a five-piece "ProjeKCt".
This seems positive on all counts: Bill is not excluded, but something else is going on. Meanwhile, Bill is following his own interest: "Earthworks II" and acoustic drums. My hunch is that, right now, this is probably more musically important to him than reinventing King Crimson. My own most important current musical challenge is to reinvent Crimson.
ProjeKCt has the advantage of travelling with less history, less expectations. When PROJEkcT has created a new repertoire, who knows what might follow from that? We are improvising with our futures. And, we have enough time during the next period to be able to make choices. In a year's time, things will be clearer to all of us.
Now, a sideways step which may appear contradictory, and perhaps confusing: I think we have three different and bona fide King Crimsons:
1. The Billy, Bob, Ade & Tony 1981-84 configuration;
2. The Double Trio 1994-? configuration;
3. The ProjeKCt 1999 Tony, Pat, Ade, Bob & Trey configuration.
Whether or not ProjeKCt convinces me / us as an authentic Crim has yet to be seen, and heard. But the implication of the above is, regardless of however the suggested electronic approach to Crimsonising develops, I view the 1981-84 configuration as a legitimate touring / performing / recording King Crimson undertaking, whether Bill is on an acoustic kit or not. That Crim has a core repertoire which is classic, continues to be worth playing and, in my view, has yet to be superceded; material from the Double Trio repertoire; and current / future writing ideas.
So, although I seem immediately to be moving in one direction without Bill, I'm also considering another approach: without Trey and Pat; and a third approach, with the full Double Trio. If this seems contradictory, or confusing, fine. This is King Crimson.
A summary of my thinking:
1. My main concern is to un-fix Crim, and expectations of Crim - who it is, what it is and how it works. For example, I have no present interest in playing theatres, or within the concert tradition. I have no interest in conventional touring, which is an exercise in brute survival rather than musicianship. My interest is in event based performance, of relatively short duration. Three weeks, to include rehearsals, would seem to be the upper limit - unless the Crims are offered something extraordinary.
2. The six-piece Crimson is too unwieldy for writing rehearsals and for much live work (logistically, personally, financially). But the six members remain central to my thinking.
3. The fractalising enables music to be generated which would not happen in full format. There are various combinations of trios, quartets and quintets, all of which have their own contribution to make. Some of them are aspects of the larger Crim and speak on its behalf; some of them play music which belongs to the parts and not the whole; and (possibly) there are three distinct personnel formations which are legitimate King Crimsons.
If there are several King Crimsons, this gives me no problems: I've been in more than that already!
4. Any particular configuration of King Crimson which doesn't include all six members, for whatever reason - other commitments, lack of interest in a specific music of that period, sabbatical, time with family - does NOT exclude anyone from future involvement and reconnection.
5. Historically, all the Crims begin with a very characteristic, idiosyncratic, recognisable music and identity. This lasts for about one year until one or more of the musicians would really like to be doing something else, which is often what they've done before. The group's sharp focus diffuses and it breaks up sooner, later. Several years afterwards, the musicians agree that what they did in that one awkward year was really, after all, very good, and shall we do it again?
If we recognise this recurrent pattern, it implies that should one character choose to skip over a particular musical stage, the musical stage isn't likely to last very long anyway.
So, now this current thinking and out-loud reflection moves out into the listening community: real-time communication technologies come into play and bypass publications which (nominally) claim to represent the musical impulse.
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