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Not Like A Complete Unknown...
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Mar 23, 2010

The current edition of Rolling Stone has a small feature on the KC 40th Anniversary Editions and sheds light on another find whilst SW was at work other titles in the series.






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On This Date In 1970...
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Dec 11, 2015
On this date 45 years ago King Crimson released their third studio album, Lizard.



Described at the time by one critic as “The abyss where modern jazz and rock meet,”with its clashing styles, whirling improvisations, soaring classical-tinged themes and dramatic showcases, Lizard remains a remarkable album in the Crimson catalogue.  Given the ambitious ground it attempted to cover it is perhaps no surprise that it still has the capacity to polarise opinion amongst fans and band members alike.

Recorded in a state of flux following the implosion of the first band, and the release of In The Wake Of Poseidon earlier in the year, the King Crimson that entered Wessex Studios in the September of 1970 was still an uncertain proposition. New recruits, Gordon Haskell and Andy McCulloch, had learned a set of Fripp compositions in the band’s Fulham Palace Road basement rehearsal space. With parts allocated by Fripp rather than developed by the players themselves,  the regime involved long hours of the bassist and drummer playing on their own with little sense of what the final shape of the material would be.



Once in Wessex, developing personal tensions between old and new members coupled with technical problems encountered at the studio, rendered this recording a somewhat fraught affair at times. “I remember the recording of Lizard was very hard” recalls McCulloch. “Bob Fripp had a lot of (the music) in his head as to what it was going to sound like, so you’d be working blind in the sense that we’d go and play the bass and drums with a very excited guitar track that wasn’t kept. I suppose it was a guide track. So you’d play around doing stuff, and then after you’d done your bit, then all the stuff would come out of Bob’s mind as to what he was going to put on top of it all.”

Lizard appears to represent a desire to forge a freer rock and jazz vocabulary, a commitment that could be measured by the increased involvement of Keith Tippett in Crimson recordings. Having made no secret of his admiration of Tippett’s music, Fripp formally asked the pianist, along with his wife, Julie Tippetts (nee Driscoll) to not only join the band on a permanent basis but become an equal partner in determining musical direction.



"The terms would have been that I would have had musical input. He knew that I was a strong musical personality and I would have gone in and possibly taken it all in another way with his blessing because we would have been joint bandleaders," recalls Tippett. Though tempted the pianist declined.  "I hadn’t long been in London and I’d left Bristol realising that I had to go to London to play with musicians who were more experienced than myself to learn quickly — apart from that I had too much love for the sextet and it would have taken me away from the jazz scene”.

Fripp harnessed two other members of Tippett’s sextet, cornet player, Mark Charig and trombonist Nick Evans, who recalls he and Charig spent two evenings in a booth at Wessex overdubbing on top of Haskell and McCulloch’s basic tracks.  “Our parts were added in small sections, maybe four or eight bars at a time and after each snippet was recorded it was checked carefully in the producer’s box to make sure it was exactly what Bob Fripp wanted. It took quite a time to get all my sections down on tape,” says Evans. “During that period of my life I was working with jazz musicians who were very keen on accepting the first take of any recording.  You know, ‘capture the moment and maintain its spontaneity as much as possible’. This is NOT the way pop bands operate and I found the stop-start method of working a little unnerving."

The album featured another guest performance from Jon Anderson. The vocalist had been approached by Greg Lake who had relayed Fripp’s interest in having the singer record with Crimson. “I said OK and gave him my number and then about three months later Bob rang me up and said I’m going to record next month,” Anderson remembers. He had no idea what he was going to sing until he turned up at Wessex, and then couldn’t help but smile when he saw the title. “Prince Rupert was the name of a train that would go past our school every Wednesday and I thought it’s so bizarre that he wrote this song which I sang and it had that kind of connection.  Afterwards I told Bob that story, and you know Bob Fripp, he just said ‘Oh. Thank you, Jon. Bye.’” laughs Anderson.



The album’s striking cover was executed by Gini Barris, who as Julie Felix’s housekeeper at the time had a Crimson connection through the folk singer’s managers, David Enthoven and John Gaydon. Commissioned by Peter Sinfield, and with only a set of lyrics to work with, over the next three months Barris seeded her beautiful illuminated lettering design with all kinds of commentaries and allusions upon the world suggested by the lyrics.

Sadly, by the time the album was released the line-up had already split-up following an altercation between Haskell and Fripp ahead of a prospective French tour. He was shortly followed by McCulloch. Not for the first time, Crimson had managed to snatch defeat of sorts from the jaws of victory.



Lizard represents a radically different re-imagining of what King Crimson could be with Fripp the composer finally emerging out from under the shadows cast by the 1969 incarnation. Melody Maker’s Richard Williams praised Crimson for grasping “the concept that rock can be built on scale to rival classical music”, while Sounds’ Steve Peacock declared “I am convinced that Lizard is by far the best thing to come from the fertile brain of Robert Fripp and Peter Sinfield so far...the music, the words, and of course, the excellent cover, make this something quite extraordinary...” The NME’s Nick Logan stated that “Lizard reflects Fripp’s progression towards a welding of rock and jazz, drawing from the most exciting regions of both.”

Although Cirkus and Lady of the Dancing Water appeared on the Islands-era setlist for a short while, Fripp made no attempt to hide his dislike of the album commenting "Lots of ideas, mostly presented simultaneously & very few of which work. Various bits are unsure whether to try & make connection with a unified central theme, or maintain their independence. Mostly, the search for a unified central theme escapes satisfaction & the constituent elements adopt a semblance of neutrality, so as not to attract culpability for their involvement. Labour & labouring, mostly joyless, strive effortfully to present the appearance of cohesion."

While the music excited passionate opinions both for and against over the intervening decades, it was not until Steven Wilson’s remix in 2009 that Fripp was finally reconciled with the album he had created in 1970, noting that  “For the first time I have heard the Music in the music." 

Steven Wilson has a high opinion of the record. “For me Lizard has always been an album that was too big for stereo to contain. 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.”

Looking back, Andy McCulloch offers this view. “Most bands have one or two songs in them and what we do is we regurgitate another form of that song. Whereas Bob was very often going off into stuff that was a completely new world, you know? It takes a lot of talent and courage to do that. People normally play safe...He’d go off and do anything that would push himself.”



The 40th Anniversary Edition (released in 2009) comes with a brand new stereo mix of the album and a truly stunning 5.1 surround sound mix that reveals previously hidden depths and details of some of the most challenging music King Crimson has recorded.

In addition to the 2004 remaster there are three bonus tracks including a previously alternate take of Lady of the Dancing Water, and an early studio run through of Circus.

“The 23-minute title track sounds more like a kind of free-form post-Miles era Gill Evans than anything you might have caught down at the Fulham Greyhound...Not everything comes off but the sense of adventure that drives the whole enterprise is admirable.” Paul McGee, The Word.

“Often described as “jazzy”, Lizard is basically baroque rock, but its mellotron fanfares are mixed with the splintered lines of jazz pianist Keith Tippett and the free-blowing horn section from his sextet.” Mike Barnes, Mojo.

“Lizard...is a flawed and mostly unsatisfying though intermittently brilliant work whose highlight is the lengthy multi-part title track which features then then comparatively unknown Jon Anderson on vocals.” Tommy Udo, Classic Rock presents Prog

You can buy Lizard from Inner Knot (USA) or Burning Shed (UK & Europe).

The following excerpt from the Lizard recording sessions offers listeners an opportunity to hear Indoor Games as it is built up.




Starting with Andy McCulloch’s count in we hear harmony lines from Mel Collins’ alto then baritone sax and the VCS3 synth lines provided by Robert Fripp before his guitar enters. In this format the tiny details which normally become layered into the final mix are heard as though magnified, standing out bright and vivid to the ear.


Extra Berlin 2016 Show Added
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 10, 2015
An extra date has been added to King Crimson’s 2016 European Tour due to demand.  Tickets for the second gig in Berlin on Monday 12th September at the Admiralpalast, Berlin will go on sale tomorrow, Friday 11th December.



The full revised tour is as follows

King Crimson European Tour 2016

Sun 4th Sept    Friars Aylesbury  Friars at the Waterside Theatre UK
Mon 5th Sept    Friars Aylesbury  Friars at the Waterside Theatre UK
Thu 8th Sept   Stuttgart, Beethoven-Saal, Germany 
Sun 11th Sep     Berlin, Admiralpalast, Germany
Mon 12th Sep  Berlin, Admiralpalast, Germany
Wed 14th Sept Prague, Forum Karlin, Czech Republic
Sat 17th Sept, Zabrze, House of Music & Dance, Poland   
Sun 18th Sept,   Zabrze, House of Music & Dance, Poland   
Tue 20th Sept,     Wroclaw, National Forum Of Music, Poland
Wed 21st Sept Wroclaw, National Forum Of Music, Poland
Fri 23rd Sept     Copenhagen, Falkoner, Denmark
Mon 26th Sept    Oslo, Sentrum Scene, Norway
Tue 27th Sept    Oslo, Sentrum Scene, Norway
Wed 28th Sept Oslo, Sentrum Scene, Norway

Tokyo Tonight (including Setlist)
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 10, 2015
King Crimson finished their run of shows in Tokyo tonight as can be see in this photo taken by Chubin Watanabe.



Here's the final Tokyo set list. If you don't want to see it, look away now.

King Crimson setlist
Bunkamura Orchard, Tokyo
December 10th 2015


Peace
Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind) I
Meltdown
Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind) II
Level Five
Epitaph
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
One More Red Nightmare
Vrooom
Easy Money
Hell Hounds Of Krim
Suitable Grounds For The Blues
The Letters
Sailor’s Tale
In The Court of The Crimson King
Starless
Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1
21st Century Schizoid Man



Belew Blows Into Europe
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 10, 2015
Adrian Belew and his power trio will be touring Europe in 2016. Check out Adrian's website for the full details


Gunn On Gabriel
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 10, 2015
Trey Gunn is currently out on tour with The Security Project. In this interview he talks about his interest in Peter Gabriel's work.



Check out The Security Project's US dates here and don't forget to take a listen to and buy Trey's The Waters, They Are Rising album. 

Tokyo Setlist
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Dec 9, 2015
Here's the set list for the Krims in Japan. For those of a nervous disposition who don't want to know the results - look away now.

King Crimson setlist
Bunkamura Orchard, Tokyo
December 8th 2015


Peace
21st Century Schizoid Man
Epitaph
Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind) I
Meltdown
Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind) II
Level Five
Hell Hounds Of Krim
The ConstruKction Of Light
One More Red Nightmare
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
The Letters
Sailor’s Tale
Easy Money
Starless
In The Court of The Crimson King
The Talking Drum
Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 2




King Crimson setlist
Bunkamura Orchard, Tokyo
December 9th 2015


Peace
Pictures Of A City
Epitaph
Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind) I
Meltdown
Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind) II
Level Five
Scarcity of Miracles
Hell Hounds Of Krim
Easy Money
Red
Interlude
The Letters
Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 2
In The Court of The Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man
Devil Dogs Of Tessellation Row
Starless


THRAKKIES THRAKKIES THRAKKIES (Again)
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Dec 9, 2015
Please keep your THRAKKIES coming via competitions@dgmlive.com. In case you've not seen inside, you can take a look at this whistlestop video tour of the THRAK BOX and its contents. 

You can buy THRAK BOX from Inner Knot (US-based customers) or via Burning Shed (UK and Europe)

Per Christian Hansen in Copenhagen didn't just take one snap but several. “Here is a montage that illustrates the excitement when a new King Crimson box arrives – THRaKaRRiVaL”



Joachim Cruyssaert’s daughter Kato indulges her father’s habit of photographing King Crimson box sets and manages to smile while doing it!



Roger, in Fontenay sous Bois, is clearly happy to be happy with what he’s got out of the THRAK BOX.



Rick Mascarini, who got the only THRAK BOX in the world that comes with a figurine on a horse, writes “It arrived!  While spending time home recuperation from a nasty cold & sort throat, I gave disk 1 & 2 a spin and it revived me back to live from the near death of devil bug.”  



Not sure if this is a threat or a cry for help but Jeff in Wisconsin takes things at an odd angle noting “The walls are closing in!The slaughter of the innocents!”


 


Keeling's Otherworld
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Dec 9, 2015
Andrew Keeling, who orchestrated Robert Fripp's The Wine Of Silence album,  has a rock-orientated alter-ego, called Otherworld whose new album is entitled  Five o'clock Sun.



The record features contributions from ex-King Crimson member, David Cross, ex-VdGG sax player, David Jackson and vocalist, Tim Bowness.

You can check out samples and order the album direct on CD or download from Spaceward Records. You can also keep up to speed on all things Keeling via Andrew's blog.  

Guitar Circle Of Europe
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Dec 8, 2015
There are a couple of events happening in the Guitar Circle calendar next year. The Guitar Circle of Europe are holding an introductory course starting Wednesday 13th until Sunday 17th January, near Brandenburg, Germany. Check out the full details here.

For those who’ve experienced Guitar Circle before there is this intermediate course beginning Tuesday 12th until Sunday 17th January.  Check out the full details here.

There’s also an At A Distance course for those experienced Crafties unable to attend but who want to deepen their practice. Full details here.


2015 Tour Box On Sale Now In Japan
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Dec 8, 2015
If you're attending any of the shows in Japan be sure to pick up a copy of the 2015 Tour Box.

Designed to complement the 2014 edition, this all-new collection gathers together a mixture of well-known pieces, rarities and lots of previously unreleased material across its two discs. 

Packaged in DVD-sized fold out digipak style book case, the accompanying booklet features sleeve-notes, photos of memorabilia, full info about the current tour and a number of band and individual photos taken by Tony Levin.



CD 1:

1. Wind extract 1969 In The Court Of The Crimson King recording sessions:
from In The Court Of The Crimson King 40th Anniversary CD/DVD-A

2. Epitaph 2015 - Steven Wilson 2015 instrumental mix:
previously unreleased

3. Catfood - from In The Wake Of Poseidon recording sessions:
previously unreleased on disc

4. Bolero - from Lizard recording sessions/T. Lev overdub:
Frame by Frame boxed set/Lizard 40th anniversary edition CD/DVD-A

5. Islands (extract with Oboe) - from Islands recording sessions:
Islands 40th anniversary edition CD/DVD-A

6. A Peacemaking Stint Unrolls - from Islands recording sessions:
Islands 40th anniversary edition CD/DVD-A

7. LTIA II (2014 rehearsal extract) - 2014 Band rehearsals:
previously unreleased

8. LTIA II - 1974 Asbury Park:
USA CD/DVD-A and Road to Red boxed set

9. Fracture - 1974 Gottingen:
Starless boxed set

10. One More Red Nightmare (guitars extract) - from Red studio sessions:
previously unreleased on disc

11. One More Red Nightmare - 2014 Los Angeles:
Live at The Orpheum

12. Elephant Talk (12" mix) - 12" single version, dubbed from vinyl:
Discipline 40th Anniversary edition CD/DVD-a, previously unreleased on CD

13. Absent Lovers - from Beat studio session:
from forthcoming Beat 40th anniversary edition CD/DVD-A

14. SF soundcheck extract - 2014 San Francisco:
Previously unreleased

15. Larks' III/Sleepless - Three Of A Perfect Pair studio sessions:
from forthcoming Three Of A Perfect Pair 40th anniversary edition CD/DVD-A

CD 2:

1. Jurassic THRAK (edit) - THRAK recording sessions:
from forthcoming THRAK boxed set

2. The Hell Hounds of Krim - 2014 Los Angeles:
from 12" Cyclops Picture Disc EP, previously unreleased

3. VROOOM - Live in London 1995:
from forthcoming THRAK boxed set

4. VROOOM Coda Marine 475 - Live in London 1995:
from forthcoming THRAK boxed set

5. ProjeKction (P4) - 7th Note,1998 San Francisco:
previously only available via mail order CD

6. Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part IV / The ConstruKction Of Light - from The ConstruKction Of Lightrecording sessions:
previously unreleased on CD

7. Sus Tayn Z (P3) - May 2000:
previously unreleased on CD

8. The Power To Believe II (demo) - 2002:
from the forthcoming The Power to Believe 40th anniversary CD/DVD-a

9. The Power To Believe II - 2003:
from Live in Milan

10. Ex Uno Patres (Fripp, Belew, Levin, Mastelotto) - 2004:
previously unreleased on CD

11. The Light of Day - 2010:
Alt take from A Scarcity Of Miracles CD/DVD-a previously unreleased on CD

12. Ba Ba Boom Boom (Harrison, Mastelotto) - 2008:
previously unreleased on CD

13. ATTAKcATHRAK (end edit) - 1996:
from forthcoming THRAK boxed set

14. 21st Century Schizoid Man - 2014 San Francisco:
Previously unreleased, From 12" Cyclops Picture Disc EP and forthcoming USA II album

If you're not in Japan approaching the merch table but would like to grab one of these beauties, then don't worry. You can nab from Inner Knot or Burning Shed. Here's a review of the set as well.


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