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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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On This Date 41 Years Ago
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Apr 29, 2015
King Crimson stepped out onto the stage at Pennsylvania's Stanley Theatre 41 years ago and played a blinder of a set before a lively crowd. My thanks to Stan Kos for sending in this photograph of the building today, now known as The Benedum Centre For The Performing Arts.



Back in 1974,  Keith Webber was at thee gig and recalls "KC shared the bill with Robin Trower. Both groups put on a great show. Bill Bruford was amazing. Fripp didn't seem like a happy-camper due to the audience being so loud on a couple of songs. Wetton was alright but didn't compare or come close to Lake's vocals on original 1969 King Crimson songs they did that night."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offered this review: "King Crimson managed to sell out the Stanley Theatre with ease, putting on at least the second best show of the week. King Crimson, the grandaddy of progressive rock, put out albums five years ago that the rest of the world is just catching up to now, and spawned either by influence or ex-members most of the progressive stuff flying through the airwaves now.

The show was basically an aural experience, without the benefit or frills of dramatic visuals, and it featured even more free-form, synthesized way-out warpings than is usually associated with Crimson. The show ranged from the ethereal to some heavy undulating electronics, sharpened by David Cross' violin and John Wetton's choking vocals. The act had an outer space feel to it, underlined by a sometimes hard use of synthesizers."


By way of highlighting the unrelenting glamour of life on the road at the time, here's Robert's diary for the day.

(The day began in Columbus, Ohio).

Arose, with difficulty, 10.20  D.E. 'phoned from N. York: he'll stay there to work instead of joining us in Pittsburgh. Exercises and pack.

11.15 Restaurant. Stamp mail. JW joins.
11.40 Practise.
Room: crimson carpet; red patterns on curtains & bed covers; fawn walls; 2 pictures of antique cars.
12.10 Lobby.
12.45 Airport. BB rushes off & leaves DC with cases (as I do!). DC gives him the word. I begin to go through security at the wrong gate.
13.20 Take-off.
13.55 Land at Pittsburgh. Taxis to Hilton.
14.40 Shave.
15.15 Sleep.
15.30 Awoke & shower.
16.00 Snack & coffee. Uptight for leaving early - snap at Dik.
16.30 Lobby. Taxis to gig. Buy "Old Straight Track" opp. in cheap bookshop. Change strings & lose little screwdriver. Snap at Dik. Barbara told me yesterday she carried a ouijii board in the back of her car; crashing by predetermination. Today she offered me her board.
New music at soundcheck. I have doubts.
18.30 Return to hotel. Barbara cut my hair short.
19.40 Practise.
20.00 Prepare.
20.20 Lobby.

Recording for the King Biscuit hour. I played v. badly. Brought down - couldn't talk to anyone. Back to hotel with Barbara & PW. I walked to White Tower & had a big cheeseburger & coffee. KC went by in car as I was returning. In lobby JW asked if I was OK. I said it was the gig. DE 'phoned as I entered my room: 1.30. I told him I refused to do any recording for radio or tv where veto didn't exist. Watched end of "Charge of the Light Brigade" with Errol Flynn and "Mission Impossible" on tv.

2.40 Retired.

Dream: With BB & DC at a kind of volley ball game. I climb off the floor to join BB with the spectators & am in danger of falling into a swimming pool over the polystyrene fence.

Notes:
_____

1.JW = John Wetton, DC = David Cross, BB = Bill Bruford.

2. Managers are seemingly always able to travel to capital cities, or exotic locations, but prove too busy by far to visit the Pforzheim Jahnhalle.

3. Barbara was a friend of Peter Walmsley.

You can download the entire concert here.

Frippertronics Revolution
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Apr 27, 2015
Robert Fripp's 1979 concert in Cleveland Ohio's  Record Revolution is now available to download. If you're a fan of this extraordinary sound then this concert is a must-have.



You can purchase the concert here.

This is also probably a good opportunity to point to this interesting piece on the world of live looping by German guitarist, Michael Peters.

Jumping The Grooveshark?
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Apr 27, 2015
Here's an update on the current situation facing Grooveshark, who you will recall were found by a judge last year to been involved in illegally uploading music for download to which they had no agreement with owners to do so.


Crimson!
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Apr 27, 2015
The London premiere of Crimson! with Gwilym Simcock and the Delta Saxophone Quartet will take place at St John's Smith Square - Friday 1 May 19.30. The programme details are as follows.

Dedicated to You
A set drawn from the Delta Saxophone Quartet's ground breaking album 'Dedicated to you' featuring the music of  Soft Machine.

Crimson!
New work for saxophone quartet & jazz piano by Gwilym Simcock

A Kind of Red (Gwilym Simcock)
Coda: Marine 475 (Belew, Bruford, Fripp, Gunn, Levin, Mastelotto from the album Vroom Vroom 1995/6)
The Night Watch (Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-Jones from the album The Night Watch 1973)
Dinosaur ( Belew, Bruford, Fripp, Gunn, Levin, Mastelotto from the album Thrak 1995)
Two Hands ( Adrian Belew, Margaret Belew, Bruford, Fripp, Levin from the album Beat 1982)
The Great Deceiver ( Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-Jones from the album The Great Deceiver: Live 1973-74)
Gwilym Simcock - piano
The Delta Saxophone Quartet
Graeme Blevins - soprano sax
Pete Whyman - alto sax
Tim Holmes - ten sax
Chris Caldwell - bari sax


21st Century Orchestra, Man...
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Apr 26, 2015
King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man has been worked over by an orchestra on a new album, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays Prog Rock Classics. Gavin Harrison added drums and Govan Guthrie, from Steven Wilson's band spanked the plank. You can listen to the results of this orchestral collaboration and find out more by clicking here.


Pat's New Project: KoMaRA
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Apr 26, 2015
Pat Mastelotto has another new album currently percolating ahead of its release in a couple of months. KoMaRa is a new venture consisting of guitarist David Kollar, Mastelotto, and trumpeter Paolo Raineri. The trio played a series of dates together in 2014 and after scouring through the live tapes, an album is due out at the end of June. Check out the KoMaRa website for samples and this teaser video.


Keeling's Out Of The Blue(s)
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Apr 26, 2015
Andrew Keeling’s work for soprano sax and piano, Out Of The Blue(s), is being performed at the CCA in Glasgow next Thursday, 30th April. For more details about the programme, check out the McKenzie Sawers video.


Down To A Tee
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Apr 24, 2015
There are a new range of official King Crimson T-shirts available.  Check out the range over at Burning Shed. 


Happy Birthday David Cross
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Apr 23, 2015
Please raise a glass of something convivial in the direction of ex-King Crimson violinist and keyboard player, David Cross, who celebrates his birthday today.



David is holding a very special launch gig for his forthcoming album, Starless Starlight in London next month.



King Crimson on iTunes
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Apr 23, 2015
There are now eight King Crimson albums available on iTunes.



Recent additions to the catalogue include In The Wake Of Poseidon, Lizard, Islands, and Starless And Bible Black.
All the albums come with bonus tracks, a  digital booklet and have been mastered specifically for the digital format. Check out the King Crimson iTunes store here. (link opens iTunes)







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