|McDonald & Shakespeare
|:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Feb 14, 2012
My thanks to Brian Thomson for sending me the news that Ian McDonald will be providing the music at an all-star benefit reading of Hamlet in New York this month.
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On This Date 42 Years Ago...
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 9, 2014
The first live King Crimson album, Earthbound was released in 1972.
In April the UK music press reported that Fripp was sifting through tapes for 'a live in the USA release', suggesting ominously that the resulting release would be “almost certainly the last from the band”. Truth be told this wasn’t much of a rumour as that incarnation of King Crimson had already announced it was splitting in January but there was real doubt in the air as to whether Fripp would keep the name going in some shape or form.
At the time a press report had teamed Fripp and Jon Hiseman (along with bassist Mark Clarke) as a likely trio to emerge phoenix-like from Crimso’s ashes, as Mel, Boz and Ian continued to tour in the States with Alexis Korner and Peter Thorup as Snape.
Historically Earthbound has drawn flack over the years for the distorted lo-fi quality of its sound - indeed Atlantic Records refused to release it because of their concerns at the rough sounding quality. However, at the time, released on Island Records’ budget HELP label for £1.35 (that’s equivalent to over £15 in today’s money), reviewers took a rather upbeat tone in addressing the album’s qualities sonic and otherwise.
“King’s last fling” was the Melody Maker’s headline and Richard Williams, with typical perception said “The impression you get is that the band is like a catherine wheel: bright and flashing but ephemeral and held together only by centrifugal force...the rough sound quality serves to add an extra dimension of immediacy which many have found lacking in Crimson’s oh-so-carefully constructed studio albums...what we have here, essentially, is a blowing album...”
Under the banner “THE LAST CRIMSON, Tony Tyler at the NME wrote “This is very possibly the last King Crimson album and, as Fripp’s already done everything in the studio that could be done with this band, it’s fitting that Earthbound should be live...The main recommendation of this record is to Crimso heads who’ve never acquired the earlier stuff. The very existence of Earthbound is a subtle comment on the entire Crimso thing, and it encapsulates past and recent past pretty well. It’s good value and it shows why King Crimson have a part in musical history. It should be bought.”
Upon its release the album sold well and found itself in the unlikely company in the Mid-Price album charts, gaining the No.1 spot over the likes of Jim Reeves, Mantovani and the Pipes And Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Until the establishment of the King Crimson Collectors’ Club in 1998 (and later with DGMLive), the reputation of the Islands-era line-up rested on one studio album and the unwieldy density of Earthbound. Following the issuing of numerous live recordings through the Club, a more balanced assessment of the group has been possible (see 2002's Ladies Of The Road 2-disc compilation).
In his sleevenotes to the Live At Jacksonville 1972 KCCC release, Fripp wrote: "Improvisation has played an important, even critical role, in all Crims. This live Crimson was more a jamming than improvising outfit." Wallace takes umbrage at this description, which implicitly downgrades the band. Responding to the criticism in his notes for the KCCC release Live At Summit Studios, Ian Wallace argued: "I think we improvised rather well, improvisation being the creation of a fresh vocabulary of notes and tones over a previously constructed format. Just like jazz musicians would play the 'head' of a standard and then solo around the chord sequence."
While undoubtedly appearing brutish and crude in comparison to its studio-based predecessors, Earthbound does contain some inspirational performances. Fripp's solo in 21CSM is among his best of the period and the incomparable roar of Collin's sax work on Groon is nothing short of rapturous. Indeed, the cathartic nature of Groon is further evidenced by Wallace's ferocious drum solo which twists and turns like an injured animal. The track closes in an astonishing and blistering display of barely controlled feedback, as though Fripp was somehow attempting to close the lid on this particular Pandora's box of sonic terror.
In the years after its release, Fripp actively lobbied to have the album deleted, which suggests he regarded Earthbound as a lapse of judgement. Arguably one of the first official bootlegs, over the years fans lobbied for its re-release.
Fripp wryly observed: "Once anything is released it never goes away. And if it does, it will return." In 2002, as part of the 30th Anniversary series, it finally made it onto compact disc.
All sixteen gigs on the final Earthbound tour are available to download either as a bundle for $66.00 FLAC or as individual gigs.
So, how do you feel about Earthbound - something to treasure or something best left well alone? Share your thoughts over on the guestbook.
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Jun 8, 2014
Here's a video of the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists VIII performing a KC toe-tapper, Coda Marine 475.
Happy Birthday Jakko
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Jun 8, 2014
Jakko Jakszyk celebrates his birthday today. Sometimes finding the right birthday gift for a person can be difficult but judging by Jakko's comment on twitter this morning, there's no such worries today: @JakkoJ If you asked me as a teen what my p'fect B'day would be? Attending a King Crimson rehearsal. Guess what I do today?
Robert's New Career Move
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., Jun 7, 2014
My thanks to Antonion for sending in the following contribution.
Re: Your recent news item about favourite headlines carrying news of KC's return to the frontline - This news item is my personal favourite. Almost fell on the floor laughing at the sight of Uncle Bobby as a...lead vocalist!
King Crimson 2014 Tour On Sale Today
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Jun 6, 2014
When music appears which only King Crimson can play then,
sooner or later, King Crimson appears to play the music.
King Crimson returns to active service in the front line on September 9, 2014 with 17 US performances, the first since 2008.
Born on January 13, 1969 in the basement of the Fulham Palace Cafe, London, this is the eighth incarnation of King Crimson, with:
Gavin Harrison (drums), Bill Rieflin (drums), Pat Mastelotto (drums), Tony Levin (bass and vocals), Mel Collins (Sax, flute), Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals), and Robert Fripp (guitar).
In his DGM Diary for September 6, 2013, when King Crimson’s return to live performance was announced to an outbreak of media frenzy, fan adoration and spontaneous outpourings of affection, Fripp wrote:
At 18.55 King Crimson VIII moved to its next stage of actualization
This is a very different reformation to what has gone before: seven players, four English and three American, with three drummers.
The Point Of Crim-Seeing was of a conventional Back Line reconfigured as the Front Line.
The Seven-Headed Beast of Crim is in Go! mode.
King Crimson 2014 dates and venues
Tickets go on sale Friday June 6th 12.00 EST
Available via venues listed and Ticketmaster
Tue 9 Sep Albany, NY The Egg
Wed 10 Sep Albany, NY The Egg
Fri 12 Sep Philadelphia, PA Verizon Hall
Sat 13 Sep Philadelphia, PA Verizon Hall
Mon 15 Sep Boston, MA Colonial Theatre
Tue 16 Sep Boston, MA Colonial Theatre
Thu 18 Sep New York, NY Best Buy
Fri 19 Sep New York, NY Best Buy
Sat 20 Sep New York, NY Best Buy
Tue 23 Sep Madison, WI Barrymore Theatre
Thu 25 Sep Chicago, IL The Vic Theatre
Fri 26 Sep Chicago, IL The Vic Theatre
Tue 30 Sep Los Angeles, CA Orpheum Theatre
Wed 01 Oct Los Angeles, CA Orpheum Theatre
Fri 03 Oct San Francisco, CA The Warfield
Sat 04 Oct San Francisco, CA The Warfield
Mon 06 Oct Seattle, WA Moore Theater
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