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LTiA - An Anniversary
:: Posted by RickyM on March 23, 2015
April 3rd 1973 stands out in my memory as the day I really heard what was possible in rock music and changed what I thought could be done with a guitar in a rock band.
I knew about the new KC, and the album that was scheduled to be released in late April in the US. In fact, the US tour was already announced, and I had tickets for April 27th at Irvine at Penn U. But fortunately, I knew of a record store in Phila, Pa (Radio 437 on Chestnut St.) that had imports in stock well before the US releases hit the racks. So I took the train from my parents house in southern NJ to Philadelphia (via the High Speed Line) and walked up Chestnut Street with great anticipation. When i arrived at the cashier, I asked if the new KC album arrived. Initially the clerk thought it didnít, and my heart fell into my lower torso, but as i was about to turn around and leave, someone from the back room came out with a strange album cover without any name or title on the front. The clerk called out "hey I think this is what you were looking for ... it just came in". My spirits changed within seconds and I took the album from the counter top and stared at it with a skeptical eye - this wasnít a gatefold album, not like pervious KC albums, it looked odd in that it was not like other album releases by contemporaries of the day (read: Yes, Tull, ELP, etc), were packaging up. But, again, this was KC. I paid the import price the store commanded, and headed back to my parents home. I recall, reading the liner notes and lyric sheet on the train as well. Once home, I was fortunate to play this strange purchase. i had a small "stereo" system that was fair, and I recall, putting the needle on the opening cut, and felt something was wrong - the volume was low, and what was all this percussion all about? About a minute into the opening cut, I turned the volume up ... still more percussion and more I leaned into the speakers thinking something was wrong with the Stereo. Yet again, I turned the volume up. Now, I head a violin and in short order a build up that would grow to pin me to the bedroom walls of my parents house and forever changed what i thought of music and this thing called King Crimson. After what was a shock to my musical (and perhaps physical) system, I remember playing the album though a second time to really sense what i just experienced. I recall thinking my molecules being re-arranged in what i knew to be music.
To this day, I use LTiA as a reference recording for any form of audio reproduction (car, office, home, etc.). LTiA is my standard to which i gauge all other recordings. If I can re-experience that day in 1973, then, I know the standard has been met.
Long live the King!
Larks' Tongues in Aspic
:: Posted by bloggulator on March 23, 2015
"Can you remember what you were doing, or where you were etc., etc., when such and such happened"? Significant events in oneís life get permanently etched in the memory, all the way from world shattering events in the news, to the more personal - for example, your first day in school, the first time you had sex, perhaps buying a car, or even breaking a bone. I also remember, as I am sure most of us do, about the circumstances surrounding notable concerts, or the first time listening to a great album or being introduced to a new band.
One such instance in my life warrants a "fast rewind" back to March, 1973. I was an 18 year old student at Aston University in Birmingham UK and one fateful evening, I was invited to a party at the second floor bar at the Students Union Building on the campus, to celebrate my best friendís birthday. This establishment sold a particularly potent and vicious variety of draft Scrumpy, costing 9p a pint - which was very popular amongst financially challenged students. I recall the first pint tasted disgusting - even nastier than Watneyís "Red Barrel" - but by the time I was half way through the second pint, I was quite enjoying the flavor. By the third, it tasted like nectar. Unfortunately, that is where the eveningís recollections became fractured; I was never a drinker, unlike many of my student colleagues, and within two hours, to use the common vernacular, I was completely shit-faced.
To cut a long and very embarrassing story short, the next thing I remembered was being aware of a harsh, naked lamp shining from behind a metal grill in a concrete ceiling above me, while every so often what sounded like heavy metal doors would crash and reverberate at random intervals, some nearby, some far, far away. People would occasionally angrily shout things. My head pounded like a road drill. Gradually, the awful truth dawned - I was in a jail cell somewhere and I had no idea why, or how , or when got there, and to add insult to injury I had a hangover from hell. Panic now set in. What awful crime did I commit? Would I get kicked out of college? Would I get sent to prison? What will my parents say? Where was my jacket and wallet? I started yelling through the grill in the door for attention, but to no avail. I sat on the wooden bench with my head in my hands, nursing an intense headache, when after what seemed like an eternity, I heard footsteps, jangling keys and voices. The cell door swung open to reveal two police officers standing there. "Mr. Green"? I moaned, "Um, yes". "You are a stupid f*cking prick arenít you". I stared blankly, now wondering what was going on, and what was going to happen. "OK, this way", motioned one of the officers, and on went the handcuffs. I shuffled awkwardly between the two officers down a maze of passages and then emerged into a large room full of clacking typewriters, telephones ringing, and lots of bustling activity. The hands on a large clock on the wall pointed to 10-30am. Then, after unlocking the handcuffs (why did they cuff me for the 50 yard walk from the lockup, I wondered - as if I could have escaped?!) - one of the officers intoned: "Ok weíre bailing you out on your own recognizance, and youíre to appear at Birmingham Crown Court Monday morning at 9-30 am sharp for your hearing", and then he presented me with a bag containing my jacket, and a printed sheet informing me of the two offenses: "drunk and disorderly conduct", and the "attempted theft of a road sign". What? What was I thinking? I guess I wasnít! Then he said, "Use the bathroom on the left to clean up before you go". In the bathroom mirror, I noticed that my nose was bruised and swollen and there was dried blood all down my chin... what a mess....
Emerging onto the street on a chilly late March morning, I wondered where in hell I was....I had absolutely no idea. The street sign "Steelhouse Lane" quickly solved that mystery - at least I was still in Birmingham, and very close to the Aston University campus. Phew! -OK, this isnít a total disaster. I was nauseous, my head still pounded furiously and I couldnít stomach the thought of a rattly 20 minute bus ride to my freezing cold digs in far away Tyseley. So, I headed very unsteadily down a side street to Corporation Street and lurched towards the campus - I so needed somewhere to sit or even lie down. At the bottom end of Corporation Street, I walked by the Virgin Records corner shop, a cramped but popular store where I bought most of my listening material. Virgin was a super cool, ultra hip place where customers could audition albums before buying; they provided an array of former Boeing airliner seats lining the side walls, each equipped with a set of headphones for private listening. I stopped in my tracks, thinking...OK...I REALLY need to sit down, right now - this is the ticket. So I walked in, and one of the first things I saw was an album sleeve display on one wall with the (now familiar) yellow and blue Sun with facial features. I knew some of the guys who worked there and I asked "whatís that album"?, pointing to the sun-face display. He said it was the new King Crimson album - it just came in. "Wow" I exclaimed - "Iíve been so waiting for this one - Can I listen to it". "Sure", said the long-haired, bearded guy behind the counter, motioning me towards the nearest seat. Thankful for a comfortable place to sit, I sank into the airliner seat, leaned back and closed my eyes. The gentle tinkling intro to Larksí Tongues Pt 1 soon started to relax me into a gentle reverie with its quiet, unfamiliar, mysterious ambience. I lifted the headphones off and instructed the guy behind the counter to "turn it up, I can barely hear it". Settling back into the seat, the staccato violin figure started - and I thought to myself, "this is different". Then as Brufordís rolling snare crescendo built up, I felt as if I was in an elevator, rushing skywards until ...WHAM!... the whole band came in on the downbeat, and nearly blew my head into the next county - in both sense of the phrase. I looked around towards the counter - the bearded guy was smirking, knowingly. Well, I listened to the entire 46.36 minutes - what a trip that was for my frazzled mind - and the ascending passages on Larksí Tongues Pt II was one of the most uplifting, "goose-bump-worthy" listening experiences of my entire life.
When the "aural dust" settled, I fished £2-19 out of my wallet and walked out of the store with a pristine copy of Larksí Tongues in Aspic in a black plastic Virgin Records bag, now with a spring in my step and my hangover almost forgotten. I headed straight for the Lawrence Tower "hall of residence" where my friend, whose party I had been to the previous night, had a room. Answering the door, he took one look at me and started laughing, as did 4 others who had been sleeping on his floor overnight. "Nik, you drunken sot, wtf happened to you last night?". I said, "I dunno, i got no idea, but I somehow got myself arrested and the cops let me out of the pokey at 10-30 this morning". After lots of guffawing and joking at my expense, my friend said "Ok, coffee anyone" We all went Yeah! and someone chimed in - "make it especially strong for the jailbird". My friend then asked me "hey, what you got there", pointing to the album I was carrying in my hand "did you steal it"? Everyone started laughing again, as did I - and I reached in and proudly displayed my new acquisition. "King Crimsonís latest! I just listened to the whole thing at the Virgin shop - itís amazing". Mutters all round of "cool", lets have a listen! I handed it to my friend and he switched on his hi-fi system - which back in those days was a pretty impressive set up, courtesy of his wealthy dad. With coffee in one hand, and a large joint of Afghan black hash circulating, we all listened. Not a word was said until the final chord of Larksí Tongues Pt 2 gradually faded to silence. Then we literally all went "Wow", in unison.
It was about 9 months later when I had the privilege of watching this band perform the same music live, but thatís another long story in which I can also remember the experience as if it happened yesterday! Larkís Tongues In Aspic has since occupied a very special place in my musical awareness, and of all the King Crimson albums (I now them all intimately), it remains a joint favorite, alongside "Discipline" and "The Power to Believe".
Sid, my apologies for lack of brevity!
LTIA 42nd anniversary
:: Posted by dacope on March 23, 2015
I bought LTIA on May 5, 1973. It was one day after seeing KC for the first time, at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. I was a senior in high school and went with two other schoolmates. Even though we had heard ITCOTKC and ITWOP and loved them, we hadnít listened to much KC after those albums so we really didnít know what to expect. Making things more interesting were the other bands on the bill -- the recently re-formed Spooky Tooth and Black Oak Arkansas. Gary Wright and Mike Harrison were in fine form and Mick Jones (later of Foreigner) was their new guitar player. The only song I remember from the set was "Evil Woman". We were pretty familiar with BOA since one of our group was obsessed with their recently released live album Raunch N Roll. To say their performance was at the opposite end of the spectrum from KC would be an understatement. Bare-chested Jim Dandy strutting and scraping his washboard, a 15 minute drum solo (the latter half played with just his hands), smashed guitars, and flying debris. We were in the 4th row and one of my friends got a piece of broken guitar in his hair. When KC came out after a lengthy delay, they started into LTIA. Bruford was banging away at various things, Cross was hitting those staccato notes, and Wetton just stood there, magnificent in a white suit. When all of sudden this incredible noise came from the darkened corner of the stage where Fripp, all in black and perched on a stool, launched the beginning of our fascination with this unique music. When the band powered into that first monster riff, white lights on floor of the stage illuminated Wetton as his bass thundered. It was a scene I will never forget. Easy Money, Talking Drum, LTIA Part II, and an encore of Schizoid Man blew us all away. That concert remains in my Top 10 of all time! The album was played quite a lot that summer, mostly on headphones in my room as most of my other friends didnít understand it. Still play it a lot today -- in fact, I think Iíll put it on right now!
Great post - felt like I was there!
:: Posted by davidly on March 22, 2015
I echo Shippersí thanks to David Singleton for his entry of the 18th, Vahallaís sentiments toward Sid Smith Ė the latterís appreciation for Daevid Allen and the formerís for his son Orlando Mondayís stellar version of Moonchild Ė, emory0ís return-spirated reaction to all that surrounds the exposure of Exposure, and include a remark that, yes, you are old, but not just, for you are not alone in that, and I hasten to add, Terre Roche rules!
:: Posted by emory0 on March 21, 2015
Man thatís wild. The wildest thing about that Exposure promo is just how...radical?... the song Exposure sounds now. Is this an indication that we now live in shittier times, musically? Would something like that be possible now?
And then the video: Can you imagine that as the promo for something now? "What is this...that guy with the haircut is just staring? WTF?"
And yet it seems so fíin cool. I think I got Exposure before Iíd even heard of King Crimson. I was (and am!) a New York City boy so Exposure seemed to me to be the way music was supposed to sound. How sucky music and popular culture turned out after this. Or am I just old?
David's diary entry
:: Posted by Shippers on March 21, 2015
Thank you, David, for your post from 18 March.
a moment of clarity (or something like it)
:: Posted by jbyrne on March 21, 2015
Keep you complaints, and your regrets, to a minimum.
Best regards, JB
Two Nights In Salford
:: Posted by emmapeelfanclub on March 21, 2015
What the Hell... just snapped up a ticket for the second show in Salford so am set to witness both nights there. Should be a very interesting experience and Iíd like to thank Robert, Mel, Jakko, Tony, Pat, Bill and Gavin (and all behind the scenes) for this opportunity.
:: Posted by charlietip on March 21, 2015
Wow ! that Bass....r.i.p.....Andy Fraser.
:: Posted by schizoidman on March 20, 2015
Exposure is one of Robert Frippís best albums. Conceptually strong, thereís something about the journal-like structure which works brilliantly. Itís an album to which Iíve returned again and again and, unlike so many post-punk albums, has never dated. North Star and Mary are beautiful; Here Comes the Flood far surpasses Peter Gabrielís solo album version. It shows RF as a true individual.
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