King Crimson / PROGRESSIVE/ ART/ PSYCHEDELIC

Red-KING CRIMSON-1974


To celebrate the crossing of the 10,000 views mark today, I shall review? Praise? Point out? some albums that have shaped the way I perceive music. When I started listening to rock music, some of the first artists I encountered were King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Rush, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, etc, basically the albums from the 1969-1980 era.

Out of all these King Crimson were the most fascinating without a doubt. Visceral, frightening, sad, ethereal and frustrating. After a point of time I started looking at King Crimson not as a mere band but as an idea; the idea being that of ruthless innovation and experimentation, listeners be fucked. After all, only guitar player and songwriter extraordinaire Robert Fripp has been involved with every release and at all stages of the Kings history. The rest is a revolving door of drummers, bassists, vocalists, and keyboardists etc.

Red has to be, without a doubt, the most consistently amazing albums that have ever been made, not a shadow of a doubt about it. While people were still digesting the rude, crude and extremely entertaining bluesy hard rock of Sabbath on Paranoid, King Crimson were already playing metal which would later be known as progressive in most circles. The heaviness that had manifested itself previously on Larks Tongues in Aspic is even more fleshed out on Red, especially on the title track and One More Red Nightmare. We have the obligatory 8 minute wank-er-thon called Providence, but apart from that the whole album is brilliant, every damn second of it. I can recall most of the sections and passages in my mind’s music player, and when that happens, it means that this one takes a place in my Top 5. The reason that this stuff is so awesome compared to most of early Crimson (Starless and Bible Black, Islands) is that it is so carefully and meticulously constructed, even though it might threaten to turn into a loose jam on some occasions, you enjoy those moments too instead of sitting around and wondering what the hell Fripp was thinking of.

The balladry that Crimson has always displayed on tracks like Epitaph and I Talk to the Wind (from the 1969 debut In Court of the Crimson King) is on full display and even more tragic on my favourite track Fallen Angel. However the 12 minute epic closer just might be a tad better, where the songwriting chops of these excellent artists are brought to a head. Starless consists of a solo consisting of only one note, played and built perseveringly and insistently by Fripp, creating a bubble of tension which you will not experience in rock music. The release, when it comes, is perhaps the best moment on the whole King Crimson discography. The Bill Bruford just out does himself on this album, bringing a very jazzy feel to the rhythm section. If you are a fan of his drumming with Yes, then you’ll have an orgasm with the display he puts on here. If there is someone out there who still hasn’t got this one………..

And that is the bottomline.

Baba T

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2 thoughts on “Red-KING CRIMSON-1974

  1. Wonderful Review of a top notch album by one of the best bands ever(they may very well be my favorite band) . You are one lucky chap to start listening to rock with these giants. i heard King Crimson much after i started listening to rock as frankly they are pitifully unpopular as compared to their prowess. However its bands like these that change the way one perceives music. After The awesome debut album, RED was the most accessible album to me & totally blew me away(particularly Starless). Its fascinating that this album was so good despite the conditions it was recorded in(just before the inevitable break up as Fripp thought the world was coming to an end). However i am surprised you left out John Wetton(incredibly aggressive bass lines & pretty good vocals). In fact Wetton was the one who wrote Starless for the Starless & Bibleback album but was rejected by Fripp & Bruford who later reused it for this album. The Wetton/Bruford Rhythm Sections(Equivalent to a flying brick wall according to Fripp) & the leads of fripp..simply unmatched. Personally this was the best incarnation of KC for me & one of the best albums bettered only by perhaps Larks Tongue in Aspic.

  2. Yep you are right. John Wetton is pretty amazing on the bass here. There is not much you can say about albums like these. I have no idea what Fripp thinks of in his spare time, though I do know that he is a pretty good candidate for the loony bin.

    Red remains my personal favourite, ahead of Larks Tongue in Aspic. Perhaps I don’t find that one as intense and emotional as this.

    Thanks again for visiting and commenting!! Cheers!!

    -Baba T

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