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P2 At Albany Again
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Feb 20, 2012

My thanks to J Eric Smith for sending in this marvelous review of P2 playing Albany. You can hear the gig that Eric is writing about here.



Eric writes "I was a music critic (for better or worse) in Albany, New York for many years. My wife and I recently relocated to Des Moines, Iowa, and as part of launching a web presence in my new home community, I have been reviewing old archives of my work for items that might lend themselves to new purposes. I found a ProjeKCt Two live review (copied below) while digging through old floppy discs and files, and thought I would share it here, since I have not seen many other formal newsprint reviews from that era posted here. It was a lovely show, one that I still cite as one of my all-time favorite live performances.

****************************

ProjeKct Two
Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany, New York, May 8, 1998
Copyright 1998, J. Eric Smith (Originally appeared in Metroland, The Alternative Newsweekly of Northeastern New York)

"OK, now we’ve played everything we don’t know,so we can play something that we actually do know," announced electronic drummer Adrian Belew at the end of ProjeKct Two’s second all-instrumental, all-improvised set. Belew, 10-string Warr guitarist Trey Gunn and electric six-string guitarist Robert Fripp then encored with King Crimson’s "Vrooom," an angular number originally created by Fripp, Belew, Gunn and their Crimson bandmates Tony Levin, Bill Bruford and Pat Mastelotto.
 
As nice as it was to hear "Vrooom," the true value of the encore was to place the evening’s improvisational extravaganza in context by providing a single sample of how ProjeKct Two sounded when tackling a fully developed and structured instrumental piece. Frankly speaking, the encore paled in comparison to the 90 minutes of music preceding it, as its rehearsed complexities and nuances were nowhere near as impressive as the knotty, towering sound collages that ProjeKct Two created on the fly as the rapt audience watched and listened.
 
Fripp, Belew and Gunn were watching and listening to each other as well, and much of the thrill of this concert came from witnessing the interactions between these deeply talented musicians who have played together long enough to anticipate each other’s thoughts, sometimes before they eve realize that they’ve had them. Belew or Fripp typically opened each number with a drum or guitar pattern that the other musicians would would investigate, mount and ride, sometimes to loud and uplifting summits, sometimes to quiet, scary grottoes, sometimes back to the point at which they started. It was actually harrowing to experience in many cases, as the trio careened just on this side of control as they rode, the looks on their faces indicating that it was just as thrilling (and frightening) for them as it was their audience.
 
As important as technical prowess was to the concert’s success, mention must also be made of ProjeKct Two’s technological proficiancy. Belew was playing the latest generation of Roland virtual drums, allowing him to create a seemingly infinite number of sonic assaults as he clattered and rattled along with a look-Ma-I’ve-got drums grin on his face. (Understandable, given that he’s normally a guitarist.) Gunn matched Belew’s rhythmic and textural intensity as he tapped, stroked and and beat the touchboard of his Warr guitar.
 
Fripp spun out any number of his trademark spine-tingling sustained guitar lines but also used the treatment technology he has developed over the years via his Soundscape and Frippertronic performance experiments to create a wealth of tones and intonations. At times, the bands’ sounds were so far skewed from what your eyes were reporting to your brain that it was almost psychologically easier to look at the floor and imagine that Fripp was playing cluster chords on some beaten-up jazz-hall piano while Gunn blew on a baritone sax and Belew kept time by tapping on whisky bottles and ashtrays. Crazy, man, crazy.
 
All told, ProjeKct Two’s concert was a magnificent one, and I must confess to feeling great relief in being able to report that. Why? Because Robert Fripp’s written and recorded works have done more to shape both how I listen to and how I think about music than have any other artist’s over the last two decades, although I never actually stood in the same space with Fripp until last Friday. So imagine the potential for debilitating disappointment at this show, and then imagine the transcendent relief and joy when it didn’t come to pass. It literally moved me to tears. And how often can a wordless concert do that?"
 


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Happy Birthday Peter Giles
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Jun 17, 2014
Bassist with Giles, Giles & Fripp, King Crimson, McDonald & Giles and 21st Century Schizoid Man celebrates his birthday today.



Peter was behind the invaluable archive release The Brondesbury Tapes, which perhaps more adequately explains the transitional process from GG&F to King Crimson more fully than The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp.



The Road To Red At Home 37 & 38
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Jun 17, 2014
Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more The Road To Red At Home pics, last week we received a couple of fresh ones which will be going up on the site in the next few days.

These two however were found lurking in an old shoe box left over from last Christmas. First up is a splendid array from Diderot DeBritto in Brazil...



and perhaps channeling the back cover of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma, Andy Puntis lays his set out for all to see....




The Road To Red is still available and can be purchased here.




Well Bugger My Russet
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 16, 2014
This round of King Crimson rehearsals came to an end at the weekend. Here's a round-up of some of the snaps nabbed by the team, including this one taken by Trev Wilkins from Tony Levin's website, which might just be my favourite picture of any KC incarnation...



The next round of full-band King Crimson rehearsals takes place next month. In the meantime here's a selection from Friday 13th...















From Saturday 14th...

















Rendezvous With ToPaRaMa
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Jun 16, 2014
Pat Mastelotto and his colleague in Crimson ProjeKCt, Tobias Ralph have an album out. Entitled ToPaRaMa you can find out more details here


Dear Mr Eliot
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Jun 15, 2014
Jakko Jakszyk's musical fantasy Dear Mr Eliot: When Groucho Met Tom is now available on BBC iPlayer for the next six days. For listeners outside of the UK it's possible to download the show as a podcast.  Yesterday's edition of The Guardian ran a very favourable preview of the piece and you can read an interview with Jakko in The Independent for more details about the background to it. You can also hear Lenny Henry, who stars as Groucho, talking about the piece in Radio 4's Loose Ends show. Jakko was scheduled to be interviewed as well for the show on Friday but in the end decided to keep on Crimsonising with the rest of the KC team. 


Sylvian & Fripp Reissued
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Jun 13, 2014
Sylvian & Fripp’s The First Day and the David Sylvian-mixed edition of the live album, Damage are being reissued. 






The albums are straight forward reissues for the Panegyric label rather than remixes or enhanced CD/DVD-A packages.

In this extract taken from an illuminating article by Paul Tingen in 1994, David Sylvian reveals the background to the recording of The First Day.

"Then, in the spring of 1993, came The First Day, a collaboration with Robert Fripp which took his fans and the press aback -- this was definitely not the Sylvian of old. The album was unusally aggressive and hard-hitting, featuring the wild, distorted and full-frontal antics of Robert Fripp on electric guitar, funky and gutsy rhythms courtesy of drummer Jerry Marotta and stick player Trey Gunn, and seriously direct and sometimes disturbing lyrics by Sylvian. He comments: "Making this album was definitely a cathartic experience, both for Robert and myself. It comes out of traumatic experiences, but it also resolves them. In the end healing takes place. In working on this album I really surfaced from the experiences of the previous years and managed to move on. It was a turning point for both of us." The two men had worked together before on Sylvian’s second solo album, Gone To Earth, in 1986 and plans they had made at the time for a further collaboration only started to come to fruition when Sylvian was asked to do a tour of Japan in 1992. Sylvian: "Robert approached me in late 1991 about whether I wanted to join a new King Crimson he was forming. Though very flattered, I decided that I didn’t feel equipped to take on the whole baggage and history that comes with being a member of King Crimson. So instead we took the offer of the tour as an opportunity to write material for an album."
The First Day was recorded between December 1992 and March 1993 at studios in New York and New Orleans, with help from Jerry Marotta on drums, and with David Bottrill behind the mixing desk. The latter two had both worked extensively with Peter Gabriel; Sylvian explains that he chose Bottrill to get away from the dry, silken sound of his long-standing recording partner Steve Nye, and achieve a more up-front rocky sound. "I had a desire to go into another sonic area. I love the warmth and beauty of the tones that Steve gets. Steve also used to give me a lot of feedback on the way I arranged things. But as I have continued to develop, it just seemed natural to move away. We’d exhausted our relationship to some degree. We might work together again, but for now I enjoy working with different engineers and co-producers."

As a result, Sylvian went into the studio with a new engineer, pre-improvised material, a new outlook on life and a new musical partner. It’s not surprising that the results turned out unlike anything he’d done before. He remembers: "In the end, three pieces were directly culled from live-performances, ’Jean The Birdman’, ’Firepower’ and ’20th Century Dreaming’, although the latter two were greatly extended and transformed in the studio. Once we had recorded these three pieces, we faced the choice of adding some ballads or making a more dynamic album. We decided that the album should be more confrontational, so we put the quieter pieces aside for the time being, and will maybe record them on a second joint album."

An interesting aspect of The First Day is that it combines the two previously rather disparate approaches to making music that Sylvian favoured -- the tightly arranged and the loosely improvised. For Sylvian, this was a step forward: "Improvisations are particularly important in collaborative work, because what’s important there is the relationship between the musicians involved. Improvisation allows that to come into focus, how you react to each other in the spur of the moment. I enjoyed working in that way with Holger Czukay and Rain Tree Crow. It means that you’re not bringing your own limitations in terms of structure and songwriting into the studio with you.
"On the other hand, what feels good whilst you improvise isn’t always going to be interesting for other people to listen to. So we spent a lot of time working on pieces and developing them. It was a challenge to make them work for other people. Neither of us had thought of putting on a piece like ’Darshan’, which is 18 minutes of rhythmically repetitive music with jazz-type improvisations going on throughout. So there was a lot of re-structuring going on in that piece, whilst at the same time I tried not to weaken the live performance that gave it its power in the first place. It was a way of combining Robert’s and my approach to recording music, and a challenge that I enjoyed."

Last December, Sylvian had a triumphant return to the London stage when he played two concerts with Fripp at the Royal Albert Hall, no less. The concert was a world away from the dark introversion of his 1988 concerts. Though never an entertainer, Sylvian (whose gear for the occasion included a Steinberger guitar, Yamaha KX88 MIDI controller, Roland JD990, Korg Wavestation A/D, M1R, Zoom 9030, Akai S1100 and Kurzweil 1200Pro1) looked relaxed and in his element. Musically the concert was close to a revelation. The First Day was an interesting album, but somehow marred by a certain ’monochrome’ mood and sound, as well as crudeness of some of the material. It may have fulfilled a cathartic function for Fripp and Sylvian and contained some excellent music, but it didn’t quite make an altogether satisfying listening experience for me. At the Royal Albert Hall though, Fripp, Sylvian and Gunn, with help from drummer Pat Mastelotto and eminent guitarist Michael Brook, put down one of the best live shows of 1993. What hadn’t always worked on the album suddenly came to life and caught fire. And some elegant and deeply moving ballads by Sylvian proved enough counterpoint for the heavier pieces. A live album with material taken from the last world tour has been mixed by Bottrill and Fripp, and will be released this summer."






King Crimson Rising Up
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Jun 13, 2014
Some more photographs from yesterday's rehearsals at Elstree...


















Mel's Live Album In Cologne
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Jun 13, 2014
My thanks to Ulrich Spiegel who sent in the following item of information on a live album Mel Collins’ is involved with next week.

Saxplayer Mel Collins will come to Cologne to record live album with GOLDMAN

BLUE SHELL in COLOGNE, GERMANY
GOLDMAN
Wednesday. 18.06. + Thursday 19.06.2014
Entry 20h | Begin 21h

Thomas Kessler (Dissidenten, Nighthawks)
Helmut Zerlett (The Unknown Cases, Harald Schmidt Show Bandleader)
Konstantin Wienstroer
Dj Heli
Goldman
Mel Collins


More Photos Please
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Jun 12, 2014
Tony Levin updated his blog on the Crimso rehearsals including yesterday's photoshoot with Scarlet Page.



Happy Birthday John Wetton
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Jun 12, 2014
Currently hard at work with Asia, John Wetton celebrates his birthday today.



What are your favourite Wetton moments in Crimson? Share your thoughts over on the guestbook please.

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