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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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The Road To Red
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Aug 16, 2013
Here's a preview of the advert for The Road To Red that will be shortly appearing in selected periodicals...

Don't forget you can pre-order your copy from Inner Knot and Burning Shed.

Tippett Reviewed
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Aug 16, 2013
There's a great review of the first date of Keith Tippett's three-night residency at The Vortex jazz club in London over on Richard Williams' blog. Tippett was of course a studio-only member of King Crimson for Poseidon, Lizard and Islands.

You can listen to Keith talking about the residency in the LondonJazz podcast and get your lugs around Tippett's latest collaboration with ex-Michael Giles MAD Band members Daniel Pennie and AD Chivers here. 

LTIA Vinyl
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Aug 15, 2013
Larks' Tongues In Aspic is released on vinyl next month.

You can order this classic platter directly from Inner Knot and Burning Shed.

A Pint Of Red
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Aug 15, 2013
The glass is always more than half full over at Inner Knot with this special pint glass.

You can find out more about it here.

Paging Tom Phillips
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Aug 15, 2013
Tom Phillips, the artist whose work graces the front, back and interior of King Crimson's Starless And Bible Black has a new variation of his ongoing graphic work A Humument. You can now listen to the artist reading from A Humument via this very snazzy limited edition USB.

The enigmatic phrase which is on the back cover of Starless And Bible Black originates from page 222 of the work. Click on this link to see the original page of the Victorian novel upon which Phillips bases his graphic interventions and enhancements. You can find out more about the origins of this remarkable work by visiting the official site.

Phillips also used the phrase as a title for a 2005 collage.

A Humument
is available in several different editions and as an app

Sid's Picks
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Aug 12, 2013
Every now and then I'm asked what my favourite concerts and tracks are from the DGMLive archive. With so many to choose from that's a pretty tall order. However, were you to press me on this question here's what I'd come up with today (mind, you might get a different selection if you ask me tomorrow!).

In chronological order rather than in any weighting for favourites we have...

King Crimson April 13, 1971, Zoom Club  Frankfurt, Germany

The second ever gig of this incarnation and they are really hitting their stride.
This early period is especially interesting as they are finding out what they're about. In a way they were hemmed by the pre-existing repertoire and you get a sense of them being let off the leash in the new numbers.

King Crimson June 23, 1973  Richards Club Atlanta, Georgia.
There's so many gigs from this line-up that demand attention but this outing finds the band on terrific form. Whenever I hear this I'm blown away by the energy this quartet had at their fingertips. Definitely something in the air with this one.

The League of Gentlemen,
September 21, 1980, Royal Exeter  Bournemouth

Hands down my favourite gig of this boppin' outfit. Regardless of the lo-fi origins this gig has the juice. If you buy one LoG gig then buy this one.

King Crimson May 07, 1981 Polytechnic  Manchester, England

What I love about this period in the band is that not everything is quite nailed down. There's a degree of experimentation at work and this combined with the band's inate confidence about what they were doing makes for a powerful blend. A great show despite the lowly bootleg origins.

Robert Fripp August 02, 1981, Washington Square Church New York, NY,

Fripp was really onto something with these performances. This is the evening performance where he manages to make music that sounds sweet and yet is infused with something that almost feels infernal at times.

Robert Fripp October 11, 1997 Mud Island Ampitheatre Memphis

Fripp was never going to be the most popular of opening acts on the G3 tour but it's amazing how some of the most sublime music comes out of potentially adverse circumstances. Mike Keneally joins Fripp for some impromptu soloing here - adding to this show's appeal.

Project Four October 24, 1998 Fox Theatre  Boulder

I was at this gig working the merch table and it remains for me one of the very best gigs of that short tour. In some respects Seizure was the King Crimson track that got away and I don't think it was ever bettered than here on the second night in Boulder. Bags of atmosphere at this gig.

King Crimson November 14, 2003 Ulster Performing Arts Centre Kingston

Savage is the word I used back in 2006 when this show first went live and savage is the word I would still use to describe it. Some gigs are good, some gigs are very good and some gigs just go somewhere else entirely. This show has everything I love about King Crimson.

Robert Fripp August 25, 2006  Jaani kirik  Viljandi, Estonia

Although some of the concerts in Estonia were presented on the Churchscapes album, my preferred method of engaging with these soundscapes is to hear the whole thing from start to finish. Fripp explores some remarkable places.
Sparkling with a melody line that slowly ascends and falls, surrounded by a gentle carillon of bells, it offers a travelogue of the soul; recounting the beauty and the desolation, the despair and the hope that it’s possible to witness in a lifetime. Highly Recommended.

And the tenth one is... well what would you nominate and why? Answers to the guestbook please.

Pat Mastelotto's Gone Berserk!
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Aug 11, 2013
There's a chance to win a copy of the latest album from Berserk! - which features contributions from Pat Mastelotto.

All you need to do is to drop an email with the header BERSERK! to competitions@dgmlive.com along with your name and your postal address.

You can find out more about the album here and you can also read my take on the platter over on the blog.

USA Pre-order
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Aug 9, 2013
USA was originally issued in 1975 and marked the final statement by the band's incendiary mid-1970s incarnation and is now the ninth release in the King Crimson 40th Anniversary series.

The CD features a completely new stereo album mix of the full concert by Robert Fripp & David Singleton, while the DVD features High Resolution Stereo mixes (24bit/96khz) of all three editions of this album/concert.

Presented as double digi-pack format in a slipcase with Sid Smith sleeve notes, rare photos and archive material.

Pre-order for 14th October release from Inner Knot or Burning Shed.

USA was recorded towards the end of King Crimson's final US tour of the 70s in June 1974. It was issued as an epitaph for the band in Spring 1975 as a single album - at a time when doubles or even triple live albums were more considered the norm for live releases.

Deleted towards the end of the vinyl era in the mid-80s, it remained unreleased in the CD era until the expanded edition was finally issued in October 2002. In common with much of Crimson's output, it was not well received at the time by critics, though its critical reputation grew immeasurably in the intervening years to the point where a review of the 21st Century Guide to King Crimson boxed set in 2004 identified the album as the point, "...where Fripp maps out the guitar blueprint for the entire post-punk movement."

If that claim sounds somewhat exaggerated, a casual listen to the opening minutes of the album where the ethereal 'walk on...' tape of Fripp & Eno's No Pussyfooting gives way to the sonic assault of Larks' II - provides ample evidence to back up the claim. It's also worth noting the audience response to the band - especially at the end of Starless, a piece that had yet to be recorded in the studio at that point.

The reputation of the 1972/1974 King Crimson line-ups is now revered by critics and fans alike, with the material so sought after that it can justify a full 21 CD/DVD/2 Blu-Ray collection of the US/Canadian tours of Spring/Summer 1974.

Drawn from that release & presented in the King Crimson 40th Anniversary series format, the USA CD/DVD features a previously unreleased mix of the Asbury Park concert that formed the bulk of the original album, while the DVD features Hi-Res stereo versions of that mix, Ronan Chris Murphy's mix of the concert (issued on CD in 2006) & the expanded version of the original vinyl album as issued in 2002.

Uniquely, of the releases in this series, USA is presented in Hi-Resolution stereo only - not 5.1 Surround - as Robert Fripp decided that the live power of the quartet is best experienced in stereo sound.

:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Aug 9, 2013
Larks' Tongues in Aspic - The Complete Recordings has been nominated for yet another reward. The multi-disc box set is up for Classic Rock magazine's Reissue of the Year award. Please pop over to the site and vote for the Crims!

This also seems like a timely reminder to say that the same box set has also been nominated for Prog magazine's Grand Design Award There's only another week to go for this one so if you haven't voted yet, please get over there and fly the Larks' Tongue flag.

Road To Red Layaway Plan
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Aug 8, 2013
Inner Knot are offering an interest-free layaway plan for The Road To Red Box Set.

For more details please contact mailorderdgm@aol.com.

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