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iTony eBook?
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Feb 16, 2012

My thanks to the mighty Vargan for alerting me to this item from Tony's website. "I have the opportunity to re-release my photo book, Crimson Chronicles in digital format (for iPad). It will feature all the photos, but also a lot of extras, including other shots that didn't make it to the original book. So, that's got me digging through my files for photos, itineraries, tour passes, and music I can use for that release."

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Mr.Mister's Monday Selection
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Dec 7, 2015
Here's a piece on the "lost" Mr Mister album, Pull, which Pat Mastelotto recorded in the '90s but which had to wait until 2010 to see the light of day. 

New Video From Tokyo
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Dec 6, 2015
Thanks to Trev Wilkins for sending these two videos from King Crimson’s rehearsal rooms in Tokyo. First up is a teaser of the team talking The Talking Drum for a walk in Tokyo. If that doesn’t get you all excited then how about a stonking rendition of Suitable Grounds For The Blues here. 

Meanwhile, for those folks on Facebook, you can take a look at Pat Mastelotto's silent movie-style tour of the King Crimson rehearsal space.

Hot News From Tokyo!
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., Dec 5, 2015
News just in from Robert in Tokyo this morning.

“In the KC rehearsal studio today, a new piece, written on Friday morning, presented this Saturday morning c. 10.55, werned & twerned, now ready for a premier presentation to our Japanese audiences from Monday. Entitled: Crimson Sensibility-Pulping Bone-Crushing Slab Of Terror - And Joy! aka Radical Action Part Two...”

Meanwhile as we wait to have our sensibilities pulped and our bones crunched,  here’s the latest video of the team in Tokyo a-movin’ and a-groovin’ thanks to the steady hand of Road Dog Wilkins. 

Extra Norway 2016 Show
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Dec 4, 2015
An extra date has been added to King Crimson’s appearance in Norway next year. Tickets for the extra show on Wednesday 28th September at Norway’s Sentrum Scene will go on sale via Ticketmaster on Saturday 5th December at 9.00 CET

Tickets for the band’s two Friars Aylesbury shows also go on sale Saturday 5th December at 10.00 a.m.

The revised 2016 tour dates are as follows

King Crimson 2016 European Tour

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
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

On This Date 44 Years Ago
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 3, 2015
King Crimson released their fourth studio album, Islands on December 3rd, 1971.

Recorded at Command Studios, largely because it was cheap and could be had at short notice, the tracks were laid down in a series of guerilla-style raids in between Crimson’s  gigs around the UK.  The bulk of Islands was recorded in this way during September, with most of the overdubbing and mixing completed in early October. “It is difficult to convey the level of exhaustion during this last week” explains Fripp.  “I’d get home about 3-4 in the morning from the studio, pull out a pencil and write orchestral parts for Song Of The Gulls, before getting to bed anywhere between six and eight. Up around ten to leave for the studio for noon. The final night began around 18:00 and never ended for me — Peter bailed in the early hours and I carried on. Richard Williams came in to listen to the playback/run-through the following late morning, then the van arrived after lunch. I got in, fell asleep, we drove to the first show of the tour, and I woke up shortly before we arrived.”

The final night that Fripp refers to was the same evening that overdubbing on Sailor’s Tale was finished. “The solo was, and is, from some other world” notes Fripp. “Technically, the right hand could only have been developed by someone familiar with the banjo. My connection to this was through Don Strike (his old guitar tutor in Bournemouth). Other references would include Sonny Sharrock (notably with Herbie Mann) and the idea of Peter Townshend’s flailing. And maybe a subversion/perversion of early Scotty Moore, with echo delay, at the Sun sessions. But none of this seems relevant somehow. Late at night, faced with a solo to be played, for which there was no solo available, something happened: a young guitar player was confronted by necessity. And then something remarkable happened…”

There are many stand-out moments on this curiously schizophrenic album; Formentera Lady’s laid-back sunny dreamscapes (Peter Sinfield’s lyrics inspired by his recent holidays in the Balearic islands); the free-jazz tussle within The Letters’ melodrama; the skewed, mutant blues guitar licks and raucous sax of Ladies of the Road; the genteel classical music climes of Song of the Gulls; the emotional reverie of the title track. 

Arguably, the most stylistically diverse KC release to date, it features some fine singing from Boz, including heroically singing into a studio fire bucket for Ladies Of The Road complete with a raging hangover. There’s also superb jazzy flourishes as well as understated and detailed throughout from Ian Wallace. Mel Collins also displays both sides of his musical personality with moments that are both tender and brutal.

If Lizard represented a wild party between the progressive strand of rock music and the UK jazz scene, Islands, for the most part, was more akin to a more gentle, laid-back kind of communion between those two worlds. 

Though he’s woefully under used on Formentera Lady, Harry Miller was one of the most gifted bassists of his generation who at the time of this recording was founding his own independent record label, Ogun. Along with Keith Tippett’s delicate additions on the title track comes his cornet player, Mark Charig, whose free-flowing and impassioned blasts, over the top of Fripp’s folksy harmonium, lends a poignant warmth to the stirring coda of one of Fripp’s most beautiful melodies.

However, it’s Sailor’s Tale which arguably overshadows everything here. The solo makes a break with the symphonic and jazz-inspired leanings of previous albums, clawing its way into a spikier, fractious metal-edged territory. It’s the sound of Fripp hammering out a new map of where he wanted to explore next.

Upon its release the album netted a good reaction from the music press of the day though there were some notes of caution as well. Sounds' Steve Peacock lauded the album for its "rare sense of ease and grace" and hailed it as a "Great Leap Forward.” One unnamed critic was enthusiastic in the extreme. “Despite the shoddy packaging, this is one of the most extraordinary albums ever to emerge out of the general idiom of rock. It’s impossible to describe the warm, lambent feeling obtained by a juxtaposition of Mark Charig’s cornet over a pedal harmonium on the title track’s long, gradual climax, or the breathtaking rightness of Fripp’s splintery chorded solo on “A Sailor’s Tale.” And it’s not pretentious and it’s not self-indulgent.”

However, the Melody Maker’s verdict was less certain. “Islands is altogether different from their former work. Where their preceding albums had a dominant strain of almost overbearing intensity, which matched the dark imagery of the lyrics, this is more muted and soft.”, concluding, “This isn’t the master album that Fripp threatens to produce, but the day can’t be far off.” For his part, self-confessed Crimso aficionado Nick Logan, writing in the NME, observed “Islands confirms a growing belief that Crimso have evolved into a skillful but somehow cold and dispassionate band. Warmth is what is lacking.”

Having previously been responsible for commissioning other artists to produce album covers for the band, Islands saw Peter Sinfield provide the artwork directly.

In the UK the album was presented in an unmarked single sleeve with a photograph of the Trifid Nebula in the constellation of Sagittarius. The inner sleeve was a fragile cream coloured gatefold with delicate islands created by Sinfield's patented method of food dye on blotting paper on the outside, and a collage of five individual portraits and three group shots of the band in concert. This was the first time the faces of the band had ever appeared on an album sleeve.

On its release in the USA, the inner gatefold was used as the outer cover. “The change of cover for the US was because the UK cover was considered so feeble.” explained Fripp. “The cover artist for the UK cover was Peter. Peter’s ‘move onstage’ through use of the VCS3 now expanded to include designing the cover as well. If this works, fine. But Peter’s cover wasn’t striking, and wasn’t in the same league as the other Crimson covers. The Nebula really wasn’t much of a cover either, because it hadn’t been chosen as a cover."

When it came to remixing the album as part of the 40th Anniversary Series in 2010, the multi-track tapes yielded many extra takes and a revelatory missing-link piece that would become Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part I and parts of Lament.

Perhaps the greatest surprise regarding Islands however comes from the inclusion of Sailor’s Tale and The Letters in the current setlist. It’s a fair bet that when Robert Fripp and Mel Collins left Command Studios in the autumn of 1971 they never thought they’d be playing those numbers live some 44 years later. 

:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 3, 2015
Time for another crop of Thrakkies. Any ideas on what the collective noun for these might be? A thump of Thrakkies? A B’Boom of Thrakkies? Answers on a postcard please. First up today, Robert Wright-Stasko says “After 20 years, I got my upgrade to Maximum Vrooom!”

"Me and my brand new box" offers a presumably happy Francesco Buscemi peeping over the great wall of THRAK BOX, so big it can be seen from space.


"It’s huge!" shouts occasional TED talker and all-round entertainer, George Hrab with incontrovertible photographic evidence that puny humans are dwarfed by the THRAK BOX’s monolithic immensity...

Jonathan Sindelman pauses from the keyboards to let us know he’s “Just received the THRAK box after much anticipation!”

Finally, Sugarmouse writes that he’s "Happy with what I have to be happy with" although, to be honest, it’s hard to tell from this stern expression...

Keep ’em coming. If you’ve not got your THRAK BOX order now to beat the Xmas rush. Available from Inner Knot for US-based folks and Burning Shed for Europe.

Vancouver & Victoria Pix
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Dec 2, 2015
Tony Levin has posted up another gallery of photographs from the band's visit to Vancouver and Victoria. You can take a peek here. 

No Phone Zone
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Dec 2, 2015
My thanks to Adrian Reynolds for sending in this item explaining how comedian Dave Chappelle is getting around the problem of mobile phones ruining his shows. 

What's In A Name?
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Dec 2, 2015
The need to place bands into a generic description can be something of a vexed issue. At least one of the guitarists in King Crimson is on record as disliking the term prog rock being applied to the band. Occasional guestbook contributor, rzachol, sent in this news item about the band's dates in Poland next year: "In Polish media KC is called "avant-garde rock" - much more adequate term than "prog" IMHO."

On This Date 18 Years Ago
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Dec 1, 2015

ProjeKct One played a four-night residency at London’s Jazz Cafe.

The fraKctalisation of King Crimson into smaller research and development groupings marked the start of the next stage in the band’s evolution which would eventually see it move from the Double Trio to a Double Duo formation.

All four nights of the ProjeKct residency are available to download as a bundle or as individual concerts. Check them out here. 

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