|Wilson Talks Lizard
|:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Feb 13, 2012
There's a major interview conducted by Anil Prasad with Steven Wilson over on the ever-informative Innerviews website.
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:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Dec 14, 2015
Writing on 13th December Robert notes “When i opened my computer this morning, I found that WillyFred had sent me a Skype Viddy from Bredonborough. WillyFred feels it's time for me to be home, celebrating Christmas with my family and, more especially, providing an Adoration Of The WillyFred...”
Happy Birthday Trey Gunn
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Dec 13, 2015
Please hang out the bunting and raise a tipple in the direction of Trey Gunn who celebrates his birthday today.
Trey's currently out on tour with The Security Project so if you're at their gig tonight be sure to sing a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday in between numbers.
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Sat., Dec 12, 2015
This dog-approved THRAK snap comes from Brian Arnold who, being fluent in canine lingo, assures me this trio are saying “Play ALL THE THINGS now!”
David Misciagna is similarly endowed with a facility for animal chat that would make Doctor Doolittle envious. Mini the Staffy might look cute but the steely glare of those eyes betrays a more sinister side. “I told my master, David, that if he didn’t by me Uncle Robert’s new box set I was going to leave him a nice warm present on his pillow...Godfather style. The Thrak box arrived today. My master is well trained.”
There appears to be no animals in this shot from Andrei but “Three THRAK and one THRaKaTTaK!” makes up for it.
ATTAKcTHRAK THEaTER! This shot taken by Gregory Bastug makes it look as though THRAK is part of some advanced sonic weaponry. Which, when you think about it, isn’t all that far from the truth.
Finally, at first glance you might think that this snap from Jef in Quebec shows the aftermath of an attack by what scientists now call the Bastug Device. However, Jef in Quebec assures us that the photo in fact portrays “ultimate joy in an unfinished flat!” Which is nice.
Please keep your THRAKKIES coming via email@example.com. In case you’ve not seen inside, you can take a look at this whistlestop video tour of the THRAK BOX and its contents.
You can buy THRAK BOX from Inner Knot (US-based customers) or via Burning Shed (UK and Europe)
On This Date In 1970...
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Dec 11, 2015
On this date 45 years ago King Crimson released their third studio album, Lizard.
Described at the time by one critic as “The abyss where modern jazz and rock meet,”with its clashing styles, whirling improvisations, soaring classical-tinged themes and dramatic showcases, Lizard remains a remarkable album in the Crimson catalogue. Given the ambitious ground it attempted to cover it is perhaps no surprise that it still has the capacity to polarise opinion amongst fans and band members alike.
Recorded in a state of flux following the implosion of the first band, and the release of In The Wake Of Poseidon earlier in the year, the King Crimson that entered Wessex Studios in the September of 1970 was still an uncertain proposition. New recruits, Gordon Haskell and Andy McCulloch, had learned a set of Fripp compositions in the band’s Fulham Palace Road basement rehearsal space. With parts allocated by Fripp rather than developed by the players themselves, the regime involved long hours of the bassist and drummer playing on their own with little sense of what the final shape of the material would be.
Once in Wessex, developing personal tensions between old and new members coupled with technical problems encountered at the studio, rendered this recording a somewhat fraught affair at times. “I remember the recording of Lizard was very hard” recalls McCulloch. “Bob Fripp had a lot of (the music) in his head as to what it was going to sound like, so you’d be working blind in the sense that we’d go and play the bass and drums with a very excited guitar track that wasn’t kept. I suppose it was a guide track. So you’d play around doing stuff, and then after you’d done your bit, then all the stuff would come out of Bob’s mind as to what he was going to put on top of it all.”
Lizard appears to represent a desire to forge a freer rock and jazz vocabulary, a commitment that could be measured by the increased involvement of Keith Tippett in Crimson recordings. Having made no secret of his admiration of Tippett’s music, Fripp formally asked the pianist, along with his wife, Julie Tippetts (nee Driscoll) to not only join the band on a permanent basis but become an equal partner in determining musical direction.
"The terms would have been that I would have had musical input. He knew that I was a strong musical personality and I would have gone in and possibly taken it all in another way with his blessing because we would have been joint bandleaders," recalls Tippett. Though tempted the pianist declined. "I hadn’t long been in London and I’d left Bristol realising that I had to go to London to play with musicians who were more experienced than myself to learn quickly — apart from that I had too much love for the sextet and it would have taken me away from the jazz scene”.
Fripp harnessed two other members of Tippett’s sextet, cornet player, Mark Charig and trombonist Nick Evans, who recalls he and Charig spent two evenings in a booth at Wessex overdubbing on top of Haskell and McCulloch’s basic tracks. “Our parts were added in small sections, maybe four or eight bars at a time and after each snippet was recorded it was checked carefully in the producer’s box to make sure it was exactly what Bob Fripp wanted. It took quite a time to get all my sections down on tape,” says Evans. “During that period of my life I was working with jazz musicians who were very keen on accepting the first take of any recording. You know, ‘capture the moment and maintain its spontaneity as much as possible’. This is NOT the way pop bands operate and I found the stop-start method of working a little unnerving."
The album featured another guest performance from Jon Anderson. The vocalist had been approached by Greg Lake who had relayed Fripp’s interest in having the singer record with Crimson. “I said OK and gave him my number and then about three months later Bob rang me up and said I’m going to record next month,” Anderson remembers. He had no idea what he was going to sing until he turned up at Wessex, and then couldn’t help but smile when he saw the title. “Prince Rupert was the name of a train that would go past our school every Wednesday and I thought it’s so bizarre that he wrote this song which I sang and it had that kind of connection. Afterwards I told Bob that story, and you know Bob Fripp, he just said ‘Oh. Thank you, Jon. Bye.’” laughs Anderson.
The album’s striking cover was executed by Gini Barris, who as Julie Felix’s housekeeper at the time had a Crimson connection through the folk singer’s managers, David Enthoven and John Gaydon. Commissioned by Peter Sinfield, and with only a set of lyrics to work with, over the next three months Barris seeded her beautiful illuminated lettering design with all kinds of commentaries and allusions upon the world suggested by the lyrics.
Sadly, by the time the album was released the line-up had already split-up following an altercation between Haskell and Fripp ahead of a prospective French tour. He was shortly followed by McCulloch. Not for the first time, Crimson had managed to snatch defeat of sorts from the jaws of victory.
Lizard represents a radically different re-imagining of what King Crimson could be with Fripp the composer finally emerging out from under the shadows cast by the 1969 incarnation. Melody Maker’s Richard Williams praised Crimson for grasping “the concept that rock can be built on scale to rival classical music”, while Sounds’ Steve Peacock declared “I am convinced that Lizard is by far the best thing to come from the fertile brain of Robert Fripp and Peter Sinfield so far...the music, the words, and of course, the excellent cover, make this something quite extraordinary...” The NME’s Nick Logan stated that “Lizard reflects Fripp’s progression towards a welding of rock and jazz, drawing from the most exciting regions of both.”
Although Cirkus and Lady of the Dancing Water appeared on the Islands-era setlist for a short while, Fripp made no attempt to hide his dislike of the album commenting "Lots of ideas, mostly presented simultaneously & very few of which work. Various bits are unsure whether to try & make connection with a unified central theme, or maintain their independence. Mostly, the search for a unified central theme escapes satisfaction & the constituent elements adopt a semblance of neutrality, so as not to attract culpability for their involvement. Labour & labouring, mostly joyless, strive effortfully to present the appearance of cohesion."
While the music excited passionate opinions both for and against over the intervening decades, it was not until Steven Wilson’s remix in 2009 that Fripp was finally reconciled with the album he had created in 1970, noting that “For the first time I have heard the Music in the music."
Steven Wilson has a high opinion of the record. “For me Lizard has always been an album that was too big for stereo to contain. I’ve always felt that if presented in the right way, I could make a case for this being the most experimental rock record ever made. It’s extraordinary what they’re doing on this album. In terms of fusing free-jazz with progressive rock for me there’s almost no parallel.”
Looking back, Andy McCulloch offers this view. “Most bands have one or two songs in them and what we do is we regurgitate another form of that song. Whereas Bob was very often going off into stuff that was a completely new world, you know? It takes a lot of talent and courage to do that. People normally play safe...He’d go off and do anything that would push himself.”
The 40th Anniversary Edition (released in 2009) comes with a brand new stereo mix of the album and a truly stunning 5.1 surround sound mix that reveals previously hidden depths and details of some of the most challenging music King Crimson has recorded.
In addition to the 2004 remaster there are three bonus tracks including a previously alternate take of Lady of the Dancing Water, and an early studio run through of Circus.
“The 23-minute title track sounds more like a kind of free-form post-Miles era Gill Evans than anything you might have caught down at the Fulham Greyhound...Not everything comes off but the sense of adventure that drives the whole enterprise is admirable.” Paul McGee, The Word.
“Often described as “jazzy”, Lizard is basically baroque rock, but its mellotron fanfares are mixed with the splintered lines of jazz pianist Keith Tippett and the free-blowing horn section from his sextet.” Mike Barnes, Mojo.
“Lizard...is a flawed and mostly unsatisfying though intermittently brilliant work whose highlight is the lengthy multi-part title track which features then then comparatively unknown Jon Anderson on vocals.” Tommy Udo, Classic Rock presents Prog
You can buy Lizard from Inner Knot (USA) or Burning Shed (UK & Europe).
The following excerpt from the Lizard recording sessions offers listeners an opportunity to hear Indoor Games as it is built up.
Starting with Andy McCulloch’s count in we hear harmony lines from Mel Collins’ alto then baritone sax and the VCS3 synth lines provided by Robert Fripp before his guitar enters. In this format the tiny details which normally become layered into the final mix are heard as though magnified, standing out bright and vivid to the ear.
Extra Berlin 2016 Show Added
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 10, 2015
An extra date has been added to King Crimson’s 2016 European Tour due to demand. Tickets for the second gig in Berlin on Monday 12th September at the Admiralpalast, Berlin will go on sale tomorrow, Friday 11th December.
The full revised tour is as follows
King Crimson European Tour 2016
Sun 4th Sept Friars Aylesbury Friars at the Waterside Theatre UK
Mon 5th Sept Friars Aylesbury Friars at the Waterside Theatre UK
Thu 8th Sept Stuttgart, Beethoven-Saal, Germany
Sun 11th Sep Berlin, Admiralpalast, Germany
Mon 12th Sep Berlin, Admiralpalast, Germany
Wed 14th Sept Prague, Forum Karlin, Czech Republic
Sat 17th Sept, Zabrze, House of Music & Dance, Poland
Sun 18th Sept, Zabrze, House of Music & Dance, Poland
Tue 20th Sept, Wroclaw, National Forum Of Music, Poland
Wed 21st Sept Wroclaw, National Forum Of Music, Poland
Fri 23rd Sept Copenhagen, Falkoner, Denmark
Mon 26th Sept Oslo, Sentrum Scene, Norway
Tue 27th Sept Oslo, Sentrum Scene, Norway
Wed 28th Sept Oslo, Sentrum Scene, Norway
Tokyo Tonight (including Setlist)
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 10, 2015
King Crimson finished their run of shows in Tokyo tonight as can be see in this photo taken by Chubin Watanabe.
Here's the final Tokyo set list. If you don't want to see it, look away now.
King Crimson setlist
Bunkamura Orchard, Tokyo
December 10th 2015
Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind) I
Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind) II
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
One More Red Nightmare
Hell Hounds Of Krim
Suitable Grounds For The Blues
In The Court of The Crimson King
Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1
21st Century Schizoid Man
Gunn On Gabriel
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Dec 10, 2015
Trey Gunn is currently out on tour with The Security Project. In this interview he talks about his interest in Peter Gabriel's work.
Check out The Security Project's US dates here and don't forget to take a listen to and buy Trey's The Waters, They Are Rising album.
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