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Thrak On A Plate
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., Feb 18, 2012

My thanks to Adam Aronson for sending me this picture of his recently acquired personalised number plate.

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Bowness Charts
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 30, 2014
Abandoned Dancehall Dreams by Tim Bowness, which features prominent contributions from King Crimson’s Pat Mastelotto and Andrew Keeling, has entered the Rock Top 40 section of the official UK album charts at #18.

You can grab the album here and read my take on it over on the blog.

On This Date 40 Years Ago
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., Jun 28, 2014
On this date 40 years ago King Crimson played to a half-empty Casino at Asbury Park on a wet and windy night as part of the final leg of a tour that was meant to break them commercially in the States, but ended instead breaking up the band. 

Image courtesy of: Dave Reininger

A few days after this gig they returned to England, recorded Red and then King Crimson was in Fripp’s words at the time "completely over for ever and ever.”

With its contents drawn largely from this gig, a posthumously released USA, garnered critical applause and brickbats in roughly equal measure.  Even the normally Crim-sceptic Rolling Stone cited the fade on Easy Money as perplexing and frustrating.

As life moved on, with Fripp heading into retreat, Wetton and Bruford both off to too many bands to mention and David Cross en route towards sessions and eventually academia, USA was finally deleted and long forgotten. 

Except it wasn’t.

Spooling forward a few years to the internet age it became evident that those who held this period of the band in high esteem saw USA and this particular concert as a kind of Holy Grail.

It was a regular topic on message boards and news groups who called for the album to be released on CD and the tracks restored to their imagined pre-edited glory.

When, finally reissued in 2002 as part of King Crimson’s 30th anniversary editions, although tracks from the rest of Casino gig concert had been added, somewhat perversely Fripp decided against undoing the edits rendered in 1975.

Though its release was roundly welcomed it was surely a frustrating and bittersweet moment for fans looking forward to hearing what happened next on Asbury Park or Easy Money

Image courtesy of: Mike Dowd

For that they would have to wait until November 2005 and the launch of DGMLive.  It was no surprise given the clamour for it over the years that the very first download on this site was for 28th June, 1974.  

Presented uncut for the very first time using unreleased mixes from the multitracks, and without the added Eddie Jobson overdubs, the power of this gig is tangible.  Despite the internal politics and tensions of the period, the band taps into a ferocious energy that never stops burning. Wetton is especially inventive, infusing the material with a brutal force.

At the other end of the sonic spectrum Fripp’s sparkling clarity produces a consistently powerful performance that must rank amongst his very best.

And what about those edits Fripp and Wettton had made in 1975? Although it’s nice finally to have the full version, some (myself included) would grudgingly accept that the cut on Asbury Park and the fade-out on Easy Money were probably right in terms of the dynamics of the original album release. 

From the grumbling rasp of LTIApt2 through to the ecstatic demands for an encore, this is a classic Crimson show in every respect. Indispensable to fans and worth every bit of the attention the show has received over the years. 

Even if concerts live on forever sometimes the venues which housed them don’t. This was the state of the casino after its closure in 2005.

Head over here to see some more of Mike Black’s photos.

What are your thoughts on this concert? What about the edits - right decision or wrong move? Get onto the guestbook and let us know.

The Road To Red Nominated For Award
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Jun 27, 2014
The Road To Red, the multi-disc box set documenting King Crimson's final American tour of 1974, has been nominated for an award at the 2014 Progressive Music Awards.

The box set has been nominated in the Grand Design category of the awards organised by Prog magazine.

If you'd like to see King Crimson and The Road To Red win this year then you'll need to register at the awards website and do the Crims proud. 

Here's the full list of runners and riders in the Grand Design category:

King Crimson - The Road To Red

Dream Theater – Limited Edition Collectors Box Set

ELP – Brain Salad Surgery Deluxe Box Set 

Rush – Rush 40th Box Set 

Rick Wakeman – Journey To The Centre Of The Earth Box Set 

Pink Floyd – The Division Bell Deluxe Set 

Fish – Feast Of Consequences Box Set 

Cynic - Kindly Bent To Free Us Deluxe Book Set 

Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus Deluxe Edition Hardback Book 

Transatlantic - Kaliedoscope Deluxe Edition Box Set

Happy Birthday Ian McDonald
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Jun 25, 2014
Please send your birthday wishes to Ian McDonald, founding member of King Crimson.

It's pretty difficult to imagine King Crimson '69 without Ian's multi-instrumental skills and gift for composition and arrangements, so please take a moment and share your thoughts on Ian's contribution to Crimso over on the guestbook. 

The Road To Red At Home...39
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Jun 24, 2014
My thanks to John Slywka for sending this snap in. John explains "It was taken at home on 2nd January at home in Chicago, the sky was clear and sunny although the temp was 10F degrees. The inspiration and photo happened quickly (to avoid frostbite), a tribute to the original USA album cover."

The Road To Red
can be obtained here.

Adrian Belew On Tour
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Jun 24, 2014
The Adrian Belew Power Trio featuring Julie Slick on bass and Tobias Ralph on drums are undertaking a 40 date US tour starting in October. Check out Adrian's website for all the tour dates. 

Gabrels Goes For Discipline
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 23, 2014
Ex-Bowie guitarist was asked to pick out some of his favourite "guitar albums." Here's his take on Discipline

On This Date Nine Years Ago
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 23, 2014
Robert Fripp played a stunning concert at the The Society For Ethical Culture in New York on this date nine years ago. Fripp's own verdict of the concert was "A good show for me, with new ideas. A very generous audience..."

You can download the full concert here.

Giles, Giles & Lunch
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 23, 2014
My thanks to Pat Mastelotto who spotted this sign in Auckland where The Crimson ProjeKCt are playing...

It Was On This Date In 1982
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Jun 18, 2014
Beat, the ninth studio album by King Crimson was released on June 18th 1982. For the first time in Crimson's history, the same line-up had made two consecutive albums, and although they went on to release a third in 1984, recording Beat all but broke the band apart.

Looking back on this extreme example of difficult second album syndrome, Belew is unequivocal in his judgement. "Beat was the most awful record-making experience of my life and one I would never choose to repeat."

Things had come to a head during the recording of Requiem when Belew returned to the studio alone and overdubbed some further guitar parts.  Then Fripp followed suit, the two guitarists seemingly vying for position. "I seem to recall that Adrian was less than thrilled about this" said Tony Levin. Far away from home and under pressure to come up with lyrics and melodies, Belew pointedly told Fripp to leave the studio. Leaving for Wimborne and visibly upset, Fripp played no further part in the recording, leaving Belew and producer Rhett Davies to mix the rest of the tracks alone.  

When remastering the album in 2001, Fripp offered this take on the album “At the time (1982) Bill & Adrian thought that Beat was better than Discipline. For me, this is an indication of how far the band had already drifted from its original vision. I believe Ade changed his mind; I'm not sure what Bill's view would be now. The group broke up at the end of Beat, as it did during the Nashville rehearsals (1997). I had nothing to do with the mixing of Beat, nor did I feel able to promote it. Somehow we absorbed the fact, and then kept going.”

Speaking of the relative brevity of the album Bill Bruford explained "In our creative processes the junk got scrapped and the only bits that we could all agree on as being remotely effective went forward. As soon as that quota was fulfilled — being 35 or 40 minutes for an album — then you were gone.  Done.  Finished.  Nobody wanted to stay another minute."

Drawing upon the writing of Kerouac, Ginsberg and the iconography of the Beat generation in general, upon it’s release Beat was the object of much suspicion and outright hostility from the UK music press, with Record Mirror being fairly typical. “Here we are in 1982 and the hippest of the hip (among Talking Heads circles anyway) King Crimson have made an album about the movement. And it’s a miserable effort. The essence of the Beat Movement was that it should be spontaneous, free and exciting. King Crimson seem to think that they should be churning out carefully constructed guitar phrases with Adrian Belew screaming with a calculated passion over the top...Perhaps the most meaningful number is the instrumental Sartori In Tangier, simply because it doesn’t feature the silly overworked vocals... Beat is a wasted effort that would be better off not just in another era but another planet.”

The Melody Maker reckoned “For sweet and sour contrast Sartori In Tangier takes a lot of beating, and is a far better instrumental than Requiem which resurrects the fiddly, pretentious discordance that for me was always the worst watercolour in Crimson’s palate.”

American reviewers were far more interested with this album. Rolling Stone’s Chip Stern awarded the album 3 and 1/2 stars, observing that "Crimson creates a new kind of electronic string music that achieves an orchestral density without resorting to ersatz art-rock bombast...King Crimson may never rope in a pop audience like the Police and Asia have, but they stand a good chance of attracting a following of disaffected listeners who want more from rock than a party"

Stereo Review cconcluded that "Beat retains much of the flavour of its immediate predecessor, Discipline but it seems less frenzied. Belew, Fripp and Co. have taken the distinctive sound developed for the more experimental Discipline and applied it successfully here to more conventional subjects. The excellent results suggest that the King Crimson may be set for a long reign.”

The album with a brand new stereo and surround sound mix by Steven Wilson is due for release in October this year. In the meantime, what’s your verdict? Is Beat ripe for rediscovery or something best left alone?

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