Thursday 19 January 2006

DGM HQ I awoke from



I awoke from a performance anxiety dream. Not with Crimson, but with a pick-up band supporting. All manner of difficulties: I couldn’t hear myself, almost nothing coming out of the guitar, then the stage curtain closed on the entire stage left (this is a retiring violet, after all). All manner of other concerns continued, problems with the tour manager, etc. etc. The dream carried me through the alarm, so I rose late & anxious. Yow! This was perhaps an early-morning response to an enquiry that arrived last night, related to the upcoming Soundscapes Do Dixie! tour at the end of February. Would RF give a lecture at a nearby record shop while he’s in town doing the Soundscapes? This makes good promotional sense & sells records!

The suggestion hasn’t been thought through. Robert will be in the middle night of 5 consecutive shows, with travelling each day & the performance requiring focus & attention sufficient. How to bolt-on a lecture-visit to a record shop in addition to a hard working day? And when? Before or after the Soundscapes? Is there any conflict of interest between the two appearances?

10.57  ITCOTCK is drifting down from the ceiling above, the floor of SoundWorld II. Alex is loading in a bootleg cassette of a Fillmore East show from 1969 that has been sent to DGM. This may well be a show we don’t have in the archive.

Here below, heroic acts of e-frenzy are underway.

12.29  For anyone who believes life is too short, and would like to experience a sense of stretching duration by, well, a lifetime or two, this is highly recommended To broaden the listening experience, click on the same track several times, and each appear as a repeating echo of the ones before.

12.59  Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton (6-XII-2005) vibrated for uploading.

14.34    SoundWorld II. Alex & Robert are editing last Saturday in Broad Chalke

17.05  The Tone Probing at the church is edited, and most of the performance.

A trusted commentator sent me his impressions of the recital (which is how one local referred to it)…

The performance struck me as being essentially exploratory. Although i know there were four or five segments (during the performance I was counting, but immediately after it ended I forgot) - the way I recall it is as having three - an initial revisiting of the themes you explored during December, first, and at the end what appeared to be a mapping of new sonorities. I realise that I’ve probably got the exact numbers wrong.

Two things struck me about the opening segment - firstly the dissonance that appeared during the "Time" section, and secondly a space that appeared during the Queer Jazz section.

After the Queer Jazz section there was a break between segments.

I took it that the walking between the performance space and the door was related to what you said about "walking through all the property you own once a day". It also appeared to me that this task (of "owning" or "managing" or, now I think of it, "maintaining" a performance space) is the thing that is delegated to the All-Quarters Maintainer.

During the second walk-off I noticed that on the way out you stopped to consider the stained-glass window. I had been looking at it myself and was and am curious about the symbolisms.

As you (literally) pointed out to me, I did drift off during the middle. After the first break came a "Time" section (perhaps a recapitulation of the last December Time theme). 

During the early part of the performance one of the following things happened: someone turned on a light; a light above us that had previously failed came on; the sun came out strongly and began shining through the window behind us; something else that would engender that response.

The first "new" theme (I put it in inverted commas because the newness is a flavour I sensed rather than something analytical or that I can point to), was in the penultimate segment - based on sharper sonorities, almost middle-eastern. Then a break during which I received my impromptu massage (though I expect there had been a silent commentary on my doziness preceding this). I’m very grateful for this as it allowed me to relax for the final segment.

I remember this as being another Queer Jazz followed by another Time section, the QJ coming from a muted horn sound rather than a guitar sound. During the Time section I was struck by connections to a lot of English music - at Shepherd’s Bush what came home to me was the English Pastoral/Vaughn Williams nature of this section (The Lark Ascending particularly). Today I noticed connections to Purcell (in the looping) and Tallis/Byrd. This final section (perhaps because of my newly desomafied state) seemed to be to the right of an equals sign, as if the whole performance was an equation - segment one plus segment two plus segment three plus segment four equals this final segment.

Which is the cerebral summation of this segment.

What also happened during this segment was an acute sharpening of consciousness that is familiar to me from (Guitar Craft) courses. A tremendous relief. I notice that U.. mentions the same thing in his Journal, when he’s talking about looking at the stained glass window. I take this as the presence of Creative or Conscious Energy (this is retrospective cerebralisation).

I was able to let my body go (it may have been the same hideous tense wreck, but didn’t have the same hold on me - I was suddenly aware that up until this point I had been carrying it around, and felt able to put it down on the pew like a bag of shopping and pay attention to other things), and see the church and its inhabitants, as I say with that sharpness and a quality that I refer to as "shiningness".

I confess that when I am in this state I feel the need to drink it in, to become a sponge and soak up as much of it as possible. I say "confess" because I’ve just realised that it’s not rightly my energy, and that I should be doing something with it. An analogy for this feeling would be attending apple-picking and going round finding all the apples that have fallen off the piles of collected apples and putting them in my own bag rather than back onto the pile.

At any rate, I realised that the model of activity I had been using was essentially analytical, and the new model I applied from here on in was to deliberately allow myself to absorb this conscious/creative energy. Active receptivity (?)

The energy is still resident within me to some extent a day later…  What is frustrating is that in this state, notions of "entering another world" become very real, possibly actual, but I feel the need to find words to describe it that do not derive from other people.

It’s not unfamiliar to me, but it’s useful to be able to write about a specific occurrence while it is still within my direct experience rather than from memory. I hope that makes sense…

Thank you for the performance.

This same commentator remarked, on another occasion, regarding the downloadable Soundscapes: it’s not that one is better than another, but that each is what is it is.

If all commentators were this insightful. In comparison, how about this professional review from the Shepherd’s Bush show (a word used lightly, rather than repeat performance) from Dave Ling in Classic Rock Magazine (February 1st. 2006)…

King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp begins tonight’s proceedings with a set of ‘Frippertronics’ – effectively one long instrumental piece played accompanied by just pre-recorded loops.


It might seem just a little picky to point out that I have not played Frippertronics since Easter Sunday 1983 in Toronto, and there were no pre-recorded loops (whether just-recorded or not). The “one long instrumental piece” is all generated in real time. (The review continues with a justly favourable report on Porcupine Tree).

This is one of the difficulties of KC/RF working in the UK & Europe: little connection to our/my work during the past 25ish years; and one of the reasons why disembowelment is a preferable option to mainstream European touring. Jerry Ewing was one of the experienced team of music critics and working musicians that contributed to the ultimate critical insight into a remarkable musical legacy that was the Inside King Crimson DVD. Not only was this release unauthorised but, as it contains unpublished, and therefore unlicensed music on which I have not been approached to grant licenses, the release is illegal. We threatened Pinnacle (the distributor) with legal action, which prevented High Street release in the UK; and had it taken down from Amazon.

Back to DGM: from the Guestbook…

Members Only?:: Posted by Jonathan on January 19, 2006

I have just finished reading the latest update in Robert’s diary regarding the French Promoter and his wishes for the festival in 2007. I respect Robert’s opinion in that he has often felt violated by incidents such as flash photography , has had his wishes ignored by promoters etc and as such understand if he never wishes to tour with KC in Europe again. I also agree that the musician does not owe an audient anything eg. autographs, photos etc. The audient pays for the privilege of hearing music performed live - nothing else. However, the prospect of KC never touring in Europe again made me kind of sad and I wondered if the following idea may be a possibility in the future. I was wondering if there is a possibility that KC could do a small residency somewhere in Europe, but only for members of DGMlive. I suspect that the majority of users of this website are, like me, avid followers of KC and RF and as such would not wish to violate any concert they could enjoy. Maybe this idea is unwieldy and impractical?

Two brief responses:

1.         Long experience suggests that Those Who Love You to Death are those least likely to be satisfied with merely the privilege of hearing music.

2.         Members of DGMlive would be unable to finance even rehearsals in the US, quite apart from getting the band to Europe.

Financial Factoid from the World of Touring Crim: the six-week Euro tour of 2003 grossed c. $1.2 – 1.3 million. Of this, each of the Crims received c. $238 a day  (rough but close figures from the top of my head) + per diems. This suggests that expenses in getting to, and touring, Europe are very high; and that the main incentive of the players was not financial.

So, where is the drive & where lies the satisfaction in touring? For me, that music & the audience & the musicians come together. Euro 2003 suggested that, for KC, this is currently unlikely in Europe. My hunch: a main factor is KC being seen essentially as an historic outfit - why not play material from 1969-74? - whereas in the US KC is regarded as a current band, albeit with history.

I disagree with Jonathan: the musician does owe the audience something - to be present to themselves, the music, the audience & the moment. This is not a responsibility covered by the imperatives of commerce.

Back to Broad Chalke & another report on Saturday, also from a trusted source…

The trip by…  to Broadchalke was a real success. They responded to the Soundscapes very strongly. One lady said it nearly precipitated another nervous breakdown and she almost had to leave in a panic! Another said that listening to them turned her in a "human hot water bottle" - the person next to her confirmed this! Many other good comments… Very positive. So, something stirred!!

17.39  Hugh of the Art Department has arrived. Thursday evening is rehearsal evening for Hugh’s band in Salisbury.

20.33  Bill Rieflin has called from London, dribbling gently after his day’s rehearsals with Robyn Hitchcock. They set off tomorrow to the first show, in Birmingham.

21.10  Broad accents of the Landlordly kind are coming through the wall from the Village Store’s office. This is still an early evening for the proprietor of a village shop.

The third set of Slow Music – Live At The Croc is playing on this side of the wall.

21.23  Some Crimson masters are up for sale on e-Bay. Let us be clear: no one, other than myself, legitimately owns KC master tapes. Therefore, anyone selling KC masters is not entitled to do so.

A pal recently sent me this: BTW, Pete Banks (first Yes guitarist) had his pedal-board stolen in L.A., saw it appear on eBay, and is still trying to recover it. How do people can get away with this sort of thing so blatantly?

In my yesterday-inbox, this:

18/01/2006    eBay@newageoffe   MAKE A REGULAR INC0ME 0N EBAY!!

The e-Pro Auction Success Kit is a collection of the best buying, selling and marketing secrets performed on eBay® today. These techniques are compiled from numerous successul eBay power sellers and can help you earn thousands of dollars per week - quickly and easily.

I find myself wondering which marketing secrets are being used by the character selling KC master tapes.

21.40  I notice on the DGMlive homepage that, on this day one year ago, I awoke from a performance anxiety dream.

21.50  Now to practicing, part of the proper work of the guitarist & a very small part of the life of a professional player.

Venal’s Chamber I…


Venal’s Chamber II…