Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The good Judge Robert presiding... (pt. 2 of 5?)

So last week I started King Crimson. After listening to the first two discs I have (In the Court of the Crimson King & Lizard) I decided that I owed it to Crimson to listen to the complete discography. A phone call and a disc later and, voila, I have the complete studio recordings and assorted live releases. Since I had inadvertently skipped over In The Wake of Poseidon, and I now have the early live discs of Epitaph, I decided to start again. After re-listening to Court at home the other day I got down to some serious Fripping out as it were yesterday. As it happens, with adding in the live material I now have between six and nine discs for each of the four major periods of Crimson. That means that I can listen to each period in a single work day. As a result, I will be publishing a brief post on each period.

Early years ('69~'72)
The live material from this era really points out how jazzy they were at the time. During several of the improvisations one could easily speculate that this was a jazz rock band, particularly during some of the woodwind solos. A lot of the studio material from this time seems hopelessly dated to me. With the notable exception of 21st Century Schiziod Man, there is no doubt that this band was still dealing with the hippie influence. One can almost imagine Fripp in the studio saying "Ok, seriously, when are we going to stop playing this hippie music. Will someone please wake me up when all of you are out of the band and we can play something with balls again?" Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy listening to these discs. There are some delightfully weird bits here and there, and I must admit that I love the sound of a Mellotron (are you listening Santa?) However, as beautiful as a song like Cadence & Cascade may be, it seems rather weak after the fury of Schiziod Man. Additionally, with having the perspective of knowing what lies ahead for Fripp & Co. I have to conclude that King Crimson would probably not be as important to me if this had been their entire output.

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