King Crimson

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Matt Wilson
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King Crimson

Postby Matt Wilson » 25 Oct 2021, 18:17

Conventional wisdom tells us these guys begat prog in the same way Black Sabbath started metal, or the Allmans began Southern rock, I guess. All fine, of course, I'm not going to argue with these critical assertions of received wisdom. In the Court of the Crimson King is certainly the finest progressive rock album of 1969, and enough bands took their cue from it to establish Crimso's reputation as influencers. I can find previous-to-'69 LPs from other bands which fit the prog definition (I'm thinking of the second album by The Nice right now), but I'm happy to go along with the first KC record as ground zero for '70s prog if you are. These guys are awesome, really. Take the weakest seventies Crimson platter (Islands?), and it's still pretty great, right?

And Fripp has to be my favorite prog guitarist by some distance. Awe-inspiring in a live setting - he could play rings around most ax-wielders in any rock genre (jazz, I'm not so sure of), and the musicians he played with were almost all at the top of their field as well. Bruford, for instance, is my fave prog drummer. Then there's the decision to quit recording for years after the Red record. This kept them from making inferior albums in the second half of the seventies. With no Love Beach in their catalog, the quality control in the group's discography is second to none through the eighties at least. With the recent high placing of the band in our prog poll, this seems like a good time to examine the '70s and '80s period of King Crimson.

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In the Court of the Crimson King 1969
The big bang of prog, and to this day the band's most popular album. I mean it's perfect like the best records by Yes or Genesis, or any group in the genre I can think of. Maybe my fave use of the mellotron too. Sinfield's lyrics are sublime, the music magisterial in a way Genesis could only dream of. Hell, even the LP cover is iconic!

Robert Fripp – electric and acoustic guitars, production
Michael Giles – drums, percussion, backing vocals, production
Greg Lake – lead vocals, bass guitar, production
Ian McDonald – saxophone, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, Mellotron, harpsichord, piano, organ, vibraphone, backing vocals, production
Peter Sinfield – lyrics, illumination, production

1. "21st Century Schizoid Man" (Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, Greg Lake, Michael Giles, Peter Sinfield) 7:24
Weird, industrial sounds begin the track before the blitzkrieg erupts through your speakers like some sort of dark Gabriel blowing his horn through a megaphone in your face. Is this the best song KC ever did? Christ - it very well may be. In your fucking face with all the horns, guitar, syncopated rhythms and Greg Lake's modified voice. A bit of fusion, pre-punk arrogance, and the best-ever announcement of a new musical subdivision of rock music. It's PERFECT!

"The lyrics of "21st Century Schizoid Man" were written by Peter Sinfield and consist chiefly of disconnected phrases which present a series of images. All three verses follow a set pattern in presenting these images. The song criticizes the Vietnam War with the lyrics "Politicians' funeral pyre/Innocence raped with napalm fire". The line "Cat's foot, iron claw" is a reference to the French fable The Monkey and the Cat; while "death seed" in the final verse alludes to what Sinfield calls the "harvest of bad things" brought about by Agent Orange. The second line is a single image, often more specific than the first two, and the third line approaches an actual sentence. The fourth and last line of each verse is the song's title. Before a live performance of the song on 15 December 1969, heard on the live album Epitaph, Robert Fripp remarked that the song was dedicated to "an American political personality whom we all know and love dearly. His name is Spiro Agnew."

"Clocking at nearly seven and a half minutes, the song is notable for its heavily distorted vocals, sung by Greg Lake, and its instrumental middle section, called "Mirrors". Most of the song is in either 4/4 or 6/4 time, save for the end of the song, which culminates in two bursts of noisy, abstract free jazz inspired by Duke Ellington Orchestra. Fripp explained his guitar solo to Guitar Player magazine in 1974: "It's all picked down-up. The basis of the picking technique is to strike down on the on-beat and up on the off-beat. Then one must learn to reverse that. I'll generally use a downstroke on the down-beat except where I wish to accent a phrase in a particular way or create a certain kind of tension by confusing accents, in which case I might begin a run on the upstroke." The song encompasses the heavy metal, jazz-rock and progressive rock genres, and is considered to be an influence on the development of progressive metal. The dissonant and almost atonal solo, was rated number 82 in Guitar World's list of the Top 100 Greatest Guitar Solos in 2008. Louder Sound ranked the solo at No. 56 in its "100 greatest guitar solos in rock" poll." - Wiki

2. "I Talk to the Wind" (Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield) 6:04
And right away the feel changes to this beautiful, serene number by McDonald and Sinfield which feels like poetry set to music (it probably was). There's almost a Moody Blues vibe to some of the softer tunes here, which the mellotron further accentuates. What a one-two punch to begin the proceedings!

Wikipedia: "Starting immediately after the cacophony that ends "21st Century Schizoid Man", the mood of this song is a stark contrast; it is serene, simple and peaceful. Ian McDonald's flute begins the song, and is one of the lead instruments throughout. He also plays a classical-inspired solo in the middle of the song as a "C" section and a longer one at the end as a coda.

These themes would be revisited by the band, notably on their second album, In the Wake of Poseidon. "Pictures of a City", with a similar mood as "21st Century Schizoid Man", would be followed by "Cadence and Cascade", another calm song, and the second album's title track also mirrors "Epitaph" in some aspects as well, both of which end side one.

This song is the only song on In the Court of the Crimson King that does not have at least one separately titled section."

3. "Epitaph" (Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, Greg Lake, Michael Giles, Peter Sinfield) 8:49
And then we come to this - sublime in every way. The blueprint for every romantic song Greg Lake would subsequently record, but none of them can touch it. Mammoth both as a KC tune, and as a prog classic. Blast this if you can!

"The song is noted for its heavy use of the Mellotron, and as with the first track, "21st Century Schizoid Man", the song's lyrics have a distinctly dystopian feel to them. The song's title was used as the name for a live album of recordings done by the original King Crimson, Epitaph.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer would later incorporate an excerpt from this song after the "Battlefield" portion of the live version of their song "Tarkus", from the Tarkus album, as documented in the live album Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen. "Stripes" from Cage's album Hell's Winter samples a middle part of the song throughout its duration.

Epitaph Records also took its name from the song." - Wiki

Image Image

4. "Moonchild" (Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, Greg Lake, Michael Giles, Peter Sinfield) 12:13
Another bee-you-tiful tune. Ethereal, it takes you to another place (like so much of this album does). The cut does break down during the "jam" which takes up most of its duration though. This failure to engage (me, anyway) in no way keeps this from being a five-star classic LP folks. Just saying...

Wikipedia - "The first section, "The Dream", is a mellotron-driven ballad, but after two and a half minutes it changes to a completely free-form instrumental improvisation by the band (called "The Illusion"), which lasts until the end of the song. Robert Fripp plays a snippet of "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top" (from Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!") in this section. In the 2009 remastered version of the album, the track was edited by Fripp and colleague Steven Wilson, with around 2.30 minutes of the original improvisation (the reference by Fripp to "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top") being removed. This issue of the album does, however, offer the original version as a bonus track.

The song contains drummer Michael Giles performing a unique alternation between the ride cymbals, which was praised by music critics and writers. The song was described as a "space jam."

5. "The Court of the Crimson King" (Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield) 9:26
As gorgeous as "Epitath," as epic as "21st Century Schizoid Man." This might be the opportune time to mention Lake's singing: It's fantastic. I've always rated him highly, and I can't imagine any singer doing these tracks better. Crimson never worked with another singer even remotely as good again. This is a better album than anything Van Der Graaf ever did. Hell, it's better than anything most prog or progressive bands ever did for that matter.

"The track is dominated by a distinct riff, adapted from Samuel Barber's "Essay for Orchestra" (1938), performed on the Mellotron. The main part of the song is split up into four stanzas, divided by an instrumental section called "The Return of the Fire Witch." The song climaxes at seven minutes, but continues with a little reprise, called "The Dance of the Puppets," before ending on an abrupt and free time scale. The music was composed by Ian McDonald, and the lyrics were written by Peter Sinfield."

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it's weird how carlsson has managed to get wilson over a barrel and then persuade him to let the rest of the PROG goons perform anal chugs on him in said position.

my point is that wilson has sold his arse cheaply. it's embarrassing to read.

-skope

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Re: King Crimson

Postby C » 25 Oct 2021, 18:45

With the recent high placing of the band in our prog poll, this seems like a good time to examine the '70s and '80s period of King Crimson.


Good lad!

The debut album is one of the best albums of all time.

Sheer brilliance throughout. Great playing by all but those tubs....!

From the opening industrial growl to the cacophony and abruptness of the reprise

Also I love every second of Moonchild- it emerges me in a cloud of happiness!

Even looking at the cover [inside and out] makes the hairs on my neck stand up!

Great review Matt of a fantastic album




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DarknessFish wrote:Rother's picture quiz is cool, but I'm losing the will when you end up trying to guess albums by The Pineapple Thief.

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Re: King Crimson

Postby robertff » 25 Oct 2021, 19:38

I had just written the paragraph below on Reap Corner, following C's NP posting of ItCotCK, before seeing this thread on the very same:


Definitely prog, although prog hadn't even become a term in 1969, they would have come under progressive at the time. Latterly, however, with the evolution and emergence of the term prog, this album became defined as one of the first really prog albums, if not the very first. An enormous achievement which impacted hugely upon the musical landscape.

Shame they never acquired a vocalist as good as Greg Lake after the second album.


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Re: King Crimson

Postby Matt Wilson » 25 Oct 2021, 20:20

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In the Wake of Poseidon 1970
Almost as good, really. I've referred to this as "Son of Crimson King" many times, and for good reason. From here on, Fripp would never allow himself to repeat the formula of the previous record again. We'll let that slide though, because if you love the debut, you should at least like this follow up. Though the band had fallen apart, Robert had managed to recruit most of them back for the recordings here:

King Crimson
Robert Fripp – guitars, Mellotron (2, 4, 7), celesta (3), Hohner pianet (7), devices, production
Peter Sinfield – lyrics, production

Former King Crimson personnel
Michael Giles – drums (2-4, 6, 7)
Greg Lake – vocals (1, 2, 4, 6, 8)

Future King Crimson personnel
Mel Collins – saxophones (2), flute (3)
Gordon Haskell – vocals (3)

Additional personnel
Peter Giles – bass guitar
Keith Tippett – piano (3, 6, 7)

All tracks are written by Robert Fripp and Peter Sinfield, except where noted.

1. "Peace – A Beginning" 0:51
The first of the three "Peace" pieces. Greg sings in a soft timbre which functions as an intro to the LP proper. Wiki - "The album opens with an a cappella piece called "Peace – A Beginning", which is reprised instrumentally in the middle of the album and vocally again at the end.

2. "Pictures of a City" 7:57
This track barrels in in much the same fashion as "21st Century Schizoid Man" did before. A similar stop-and-go structure demonstrates Fripp's intention to replicate the success of the former tune. "The strongly jazz fusion-influenced "Pictures of a City" was originally performed live, often extended to over ten minutes and was called "A Man, a City". An example of such a performance can be found on the live compilation album Epitaph." - Wiki

Honestly, it kicks ass, and had it been on a more celebrated album like Larks' Tongues or Red, it would be considered classic. Hell, maybe it is now, I dunno.

3. "Cadence and Cascade" 4:35
Another beautiful and somber cut, much like "I Talk to the Wind" earlier, except like "Pictures of a City," it's not quite as good. Gordon Haskell is the vocalist here, not Greg, and you do notice it. I still love it, of course. Nice flute by Mel Collins.

Wikipedia: "In the Wake of Poseidon is the second studio album by English progressive rock group King Crimson, released in May 1970 by Island Records in Europe, Atlantic Records in the United States, and Vertigo Records in New Zealand. The album was recorded during instability in the band, with several personnel changes, but features a very similar style and sequence to their first album, In the Court of the Crimson King. As with their first album, the mood of In the Wake of Poseidon often and quickly changes from serene to chaotic, reflecting the versatile musical aspects of progressive rock. To date the album is their highest-charting in the UK, reaching number 4. It has been well received by critics."

4. "In the Wake of Poseidon" 8:24
Ian McDonald isn't around, so Fripp handles the mellotron now, and it's very suggestive of "Epitath" of course, keeping in line with the sequencing on Crimson King. It's great, obviously, but I'm glad the band went in a different direction for Lizard, because continuing to reproduce the sounds of 1969 would not be conducive to anyone's idea of 'progressive.'

"Ian McDonald and Michael Giles left the band following their first American tour in 1969. Greg Lake was the next member to leave, after being approached by Keith Emerson to join what would become Emerson, Lake & Palmer in early 1970. This left Robert Fripp as the only remaining musician in the band, taking on part of the keyboard-playing role in addition to guitar.

Lake agreed to sing on the recordings for In the Wake of Poseidon (negotiating to receive King Crimson's PA equipment as payment). Eventually, he ended up singing on the band's early 1970 single "Cat Food" (the flip side was "Groon") and on all but one of the album's vocal tracks. The exception was "Cadence and Cascade", which was sung by Fripp's old schoolfriend and teenage bandmate Gordon Haskell. There does exist however, an early mix of the song with Lake singing a guide vocal which was unearthed and featured on the DGM site as a download. At one point, the band considered hiring the then-unknown Elton John to be the album's singer, but decided against it. Other former members and associates returned – as session players only – for the Poseidon recordings, with all bass parts being handled by Peter Giles and Michael Giles drumming. Mel Collins (formerly of the band Circus) contributed saxophones and flute. Another key performer was jazz pianist Keith Tippett." - Wikipedia

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5. "Peace – A Theme" (Robert Fripp) 1:15
Perhaps my fave of the three "Peaces." Gentle acoustic guitar gives us a rare look at Robert on the instrument. An even better into to side two than "Peace – A Beginning" was for side one.

Wikipedia - "With the album on sale, Fripp and Peter Sinfield remained in the awkward position of having King Crimson material and releases available, but not having a band to play it. Fripp persuaded Gordon Haskell to join permanently as singer and bass player, and recruited drummer Andy McCulloch, another Dorset musician moving in the West London progressive rock circle, who had previously been a member of Shy Limbs (alongside Greg Lake, who recommended him to Fripp) and Manfred Mann's Earth Band."

6. "Cat Food" (Robert Fripp, Peter Sinfield, Ian McDonald) 4:52
Yeah, I love this one. Weird choice for a single, but I would have dug it had I ever heard this on the airwaves. Funky in an English way, proggy and jazzy at the same time.

"Robert Christgau rated the album higher than the debut, describing it as "more muddled conceptually than In the Court of the Crimson King" but commenting that "they're not afraid to be harsh, they command a range of styles, and their dynamics jolt rather than sledgehammer".

In his contemporary review, AllMusic's Bruce Eder praised the album, saying that it was better produced than their debut, but he also said that it "doesn't tread enough new ground to precisely rival In the Court of the Crimson King". "The Mellotron, taken over by Fripp after McDonald's departure", he continued, "still remains the band's signature". He also praised a 24-bit digitally remastered edition released in March 2000." - Wiki

7. "The Devil's Triangle" I. "Merday Morn" II. "Hand of Sceiron" III. "Garden of Worm" (Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald) 11:30
The record's longest track is, unfortunately, my least fave. There's just not enough going on to hold my interest. The bolero beat needs more variation to sustain its over-eleven-minute duration and without words, one simply has to concentrate on the music. I don't skip it though, so I guess there's that. Lots of mellotron and increasing tension are hallmarks I suppose. All atmosphere with subtle dynamics.

Wikipedia: "The longest track on the album is a chaotic instrumental piece called "The Devil’s Triangle". This was adapted from the 1969 band's live arrangement of Gustav Holst's "Mars: Bringer of War" (from his The Planets suite) which can be heard on Epitaph (where it is titled merely "Mars"). "The Devil's Triangle" employs a different staccato riff than the one from "Mars". In 1971, a brief excerpt from "The Devil’s Triangle" was featured in "The Mind of Evil", the second serial of the eighth season of the BBC television series Doctor Who. Also, the track includes part of the chorus from "The Court of the Crimson King", the title track from the band's first album, using a studio technique known as xenochrony."

8. "Peace – An End" 1:54
Vocals again, and it sounds much the same as the beginning of the album, but more coherent. A nice ending to a fine LP.

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And if you're looking at that LP cover and want more info, here's Wiki again:

"The work is called The 12 Archetypes or The 12 Faces of Humankind. The colour pictures were painted by Tammo De Jongh in 1967.

The twelve faces in the picture are as follows:

The Fool (Fire and Water): The laughing man with a wispy beard.
The Actress (Water and Fire): The Egyptian girl with long pearl earrings and many pearl necklaces around her neck, she has tears in her eyes.
The Observer (Air and Earth): A scientist type person with round spectacles pushed up above his brow, mostly bald head with white hair at the sides; his left hand is held up to his chin, he looks thoughtful.
The Old Woman (Earth and Air): A woman with much wrinkled face wrapped up against the cold.
The Warrior (Fire and Earth): A dark and powerful warrior's face in blacks and reds. He wears a steel helmet, broad square face, open mouth with square teeth and a full black beard.
The Slave (Earth and Fire): A black African with large gold earrings and a ring through her nose; the lips are full and pink, the eyes half-closed, sultry and sensuous; the expression is warm and friendly.
The Child (Water and Air): A picture of innocence; a girl with delicate sweet smile and butterfly shaped bows at each side in her long golden hair; her eyes are large and watery and she has a delicate sweet smile on her mouth. She wears a gold chain, on the end of which is a small golden key.
The Patriarch (Air and Water): An old philosopher, with a long face and long white hair and long white beard and moustache; white bushy eyebrows; all around are shapes like flowers or snowflakes; the brow is furrowed upwards from the nose in a fan-like fashion.
The Logician (Air and Fire): A scientist or wizard type man with long face, dark hair and long dark beard; he appears to hold a long stick or wand with his right hand and his left is held aloft and surrounded by stars.
The Joker (Fire and Air): The picture in bright reds and yellows is of a smiling twinkle-eyed Harlequin with his typical gold-stuccoed, triangular hat.
The Enchantress (Water and Earth): A sad girl with watery eyes ; her long dark hair is blown sideways across her face and brow from right to left.
Mother Nature (Earth and Water): Lying asleep in the long grass; their face in silhouette is viewed from the left side and all around are the flowers and butterflies.
it's weird how carlsson has managed to get wilson over a barrel and then persuade him to let the rest of the PROG goons perform anal chugs on him in said position.

my point is that wilson has sold his arse cheaply. it's embarrassing to read.

-skope

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Re: King Crimson

Postby C » 25 Oct 2021, 21:37

robertff wrote:Definitely prog, although prog hadn't even become a term in 1969, they would have come under progressive at the time.


I wish folk over on Prog Magazine FB forum understood this




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DarknessFish wrote:Rother's picture quiz is cool, but I'm losing the will when you end up trying to guess albums by The Pineapple Thief.

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Re: King Crimson

Postby C » 25 Oct 2021, 21:39

Poseidon. A seminally robust record.

Often criticised as a clone of the first album but that is nonsense

So much delightful music to enjoy.

Full of music.

Fantastic




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DarknessFish wrote:Rother's picture quiz is cool, but I'm losing the will when you end up trying to guess albums by The Pineapple Thief.

John_K wrote:In my 50s I've become an Apprentice Prog Goon, starting with the big-hitters, and working my way to BBT...

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Re: King Crimson

Postby Jimbly » 25 Oct 2021, 22:50

every album has some stellar moments even Earthbound.
So Long Kid, Take A Bow.

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Re: King Crimson

Postby Matt Wilson » 25 Oct 2021, 23:31

Jimbly wrote:every album has some stellar moments even Earthbound.


Oh, Earthbound is great - it's just a shitty recording.
it's weird how carlsson has managed to get wilson over a barrel and then persuade him to let the rest of the PROG goons perform anal chugs on him in said position.

my point is that wilson has sold his arse cheaply. it's embarrassing to read.

-skope

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Re: King Crimson

Postby slightbreeze » 25 Oct 2021, 23:52

Apparently, Fripp is naturally a right handed guitarist, but taught himself to play left handed. The mind boggles. "In the Court" is, of course, magnificent. "In the wake" is an average mirror image of the debut. The cover is appalling, even worse than Foxtrot

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Re: King Crimson

Postby Hugh » 26 Oct 2021, 07:02

slightbreeze wrote:Apparently, Fripp is naturally a right handed guitarist, but taught himself to play left handed. The mind boggles. "In the Court" is, of course, magnificent. "In the wake" is an average mirror image of the debut. The cover is appalling, even worse than Foxtrot


Is he not left handed but plays right handed?

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Re: King Crimson

Postby slightbreeze » 26 Oct 2021, 07:58

Hugh wrote:
slightbreeze wrote:Apparently, Fripp is naturally a right handed guitarist, but taught himself to play left handed. The mind boggles. "In the Court" is, of course, magnificent. "In the wake" is an average mirror image of the debut. The cover is appalling, even worse than Foxtrot


Is he not left handed but plays right handed?


You could be right...or left :D Damn, I'm left handed and the world is just one big mirror image. You should see me trying to implement instructions for DIY

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Re: King Crimson

Postby robertff » 26 Oct 2021, 08:20

Enjoyed/enjoy the first album far more than the second, which I find really grating to listen to in parts. The good bits of the second are very, very good the not so good bits I find jarring to say the least and whatever C. says it did follow the same formula as the first - sorry C.

I stopped buying King Crimson albums at this point, not starting buying again until some considerable time later.


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Re: King Crimson

Postby Matt Wilson » 26 Oct 2021, 16:23

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Lizard 1970
Second album of the year (they cranked them out in those days), but the first to demonstrate a new direction with a mostly new band. I don't know if I prefer Lizard to Poseidon, both scratch different itches on different days. If these are lesser '70s Crimson LPs, then KC were surely great because I still maintain that they are among the best prog LPs of 1970. Fripp and Sinfield are still the main architects of the songs. Wiki: "Lizard is the third studio album by British progressive rock band King Crimson, released in December 1970 by Island Records in the UK, and in January 1971 by Atlantic Records in the United States and Canada. It was the second consecutive King Crimson album recorded by transitional line-ups of the group that did not perform live, following In the Wake of Poseidon. This is the only album by the band to feature singer and bass guitarist Gordon Haskell (apart from his appearance singing "Cadence and Cascade" on the previous album) and drummer Andy McCulloch as official members of the band."

Robert Fripp – guitar, Mellotron (1, 2, 5), EMS VCS 3 (2), Hammond organ (2), devices, production, remixing (7)
Peter Sinfield – lyrics, EMS VCS 3 (2, 3), pictures, sleeve conception, production
Mel Collins – saxophone, flute
Gordon Haskell – bass guitar, vocals
Andy McCulloch – drums

Additional musicians
Keith Tippett – acoustic and electric pianos
Robin Miller – oboe, English horn
Mark Charig – cornet
Nick Evans – trombone
Jon Anderson – vocals (5-a)

All songs written by Robert Fripp and Peter Sinfield.

1. "Cirkus" (including "Entry of the Chameleons") 6:27
Beautiful tinkling keys beneath Haskell's vocals come in before Fripp's massive riff envelops the listener. This sounds nothing like the music on the two preceding records. There's still the mellotron of course, and some nice Collins flute, but it's a whole new Crimson we're getting here, and it sounds wonderful.

"Haskell was previously a classmate of Robert Fripp at Queen Elizabeth's grammar school in Wimborne near Bournemouth, the pair having subsequently played together in the local band The League of Gentlemen. Haskell later contributed vocals to the King Crimson track "Cadence and Cascade" on In the Wake of Poseidon, after Greg Lake left the band to join Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Fripp asked Haskell to become an official member of King Crimson for the recording of Lizard. Another supporting musician on In the Wake of Poseidon, saxophonist/flautist Mel Collins was also asked to become a full-time member, as was drummer Andy McCulloch, who replaced Michael Giles. The group was then augmented with session musicians, including another In the Wake of Poseidon alumnus, the noted jazz pianist Keith Tippett, together with Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, and brass/woodwind players Robin Miller, Mark Charig, and Nick Evans." - Wikipedia

2. "Indoor Games" 5:37
Another lovely stop-and-go melody, but this time not guitar-based. Fripp's take on progressive music has always been interesting. It sounds like nothing else. This is one more excellent track in the King Crimson repertoire.

Wiki: "Since the album is more jazz-inflected sounding than many of the band's other works and many of its tracks idiosyncratic, responses towards the album have been varied since its release. Music critic Robert Christgau rated the album a B−, saying that the "jazziness" of the album projected a "certain cerebral majesty" but criticized Peter Sinfield's lyrics, qualifying them as "overwrought".

3. "Happy Family" 4:22
Yeah, love this one too. Weird sounds open the track which is supposedly about the Beatles, but since Sinfield is in surreal mode, it's hard to tell by reading the words. The Wilson 5.1 mix is outstanding by the way - but then all of his Crimson work is. Awesome musicianship too. Hell, I might as well add that to all these songs.

Wiki - "In his retrospective review, AllMusic's Dave Lynch described it as, "Seamlessly blending rock, jazz, and classical in a way that few albums have successfully achieved, Lizard is epic, intimate, cacophonic, and subtle by turn – and infused with the dark moods first heard when "21st Century Schizoid Man" and "Epitaph" reached listeners' ears the previous year." Classic Rock reviewer described Lizard as "a decidedly Miles Davis-influenced hodgepodge of classical and jazz influences brought to their logical, near-chaotic end" and defined its music "mind-bending, unclassifiable creative stuff."

Robert Fripp has been very critical of the album, calling it "unlistenable" and lovers of it as "very strange". However, he has revised his opinion upon listening to Steven Wilson's new surround sound mix of the album for the 40th Anniversary reissue, proclaiming "For the first time I have heard the Music in the music."

4. "Lady of the Dancing Water" 2:47
The shortest piece on the disc is another wondrous ballad which KC saw fit to include on all their albums at this time. A pastoral, flute inflected number which is over before you know it.

Wikipedia - "Haskell and McCulloch had an unhappy experience recording Lizard, finding it difficult to connect with the material, especially Haskell as a devotee of soul and Motown music. During rehearsals for a prospective tour following the album's completion, Haskell left King Crimson. He sought legal redress for the next 19 years because he believed he had been cheated out of royalties owed him for the album. Shortly after Haskell left the group, McCulloch did likewise. The press release drafted by Sinfield to promote Lizard wryly quoted Max Ehrmann's poem "Desiderata", which contains advice on how to chart a true course through confusion.

Collins, on the other hand, remained in King Crimson with Fripp and Sinfield for the recording of the group's next album, Islands. Haskell was replaced with Boz Burrell on bass guitar and vocals, while McCulloch was replaced with his sometime housemate Ian Wallace. The Islands line-up of the group would finally give some of the Lizard material a live airing, with "Cirkus" and "Lady of the Dancing Water" becoming part of King Crimson's touring repertoire. "Cirkus" would also later become part of the touring repertoire of the 21st Century Schizoid Band, whose members included Mel Collins and Jakko Jakszyk.

In 2016, for the band's biggest European tour since 1974, "Cirkus" was included in the repertoire, as well as "Dawn Song", which is part of the "Lizard" suite and was played live for the first time ever. For the 2017 North American tour, "Dawn Song" was expanded to the entire "Battle of Glass Tears" section (adding "Last Skirmish" and "Prince Rupert's Lament", neither of which had ever been performed live). The "Bolero" section was added to the live repertoire for the band's 2018 European tour."

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5. "Lizard" a. "Prince Rupert Awakes" b. "Bolero – The Peacock's Tale"
c. "The Battle of Glass Tears" I "Dawn Song" II "Last Skirmish"
III "Prince Rupert's Lament" d. "Big Top" 23:25
In many ways, the most impressive thing here, and unlike the longest track on the last LP, I dig it! This is proper prog, folks. A side-long, ever-changing suite of smaller tunes melted together, which even has Jon Anderson singing the first part! I don't think Yes had recorded something this progressive by the end of 1970. Wiki says that "In 2011, PopMatters named the title track at #13 in the list "The 25 Best Progressive Rock Songs of All Time."

And if you're tripping on that gorgeous LP cover: "Lizard's outside cover art is by Gini Barris, who was commissioned to produce it by Peter Sinfield. The inside cover consists of the song lyrics and credits printed over a marbled pattern, credited to Koraz Wallpapers, a company run by Barris' boyfriend at the time.

The album's outside cover consists of the words 'King Crimson' spelled out in ornate medieval lettering, the word 'King' on the back cover and the word 'Crimson' on the front cover, with each letter incorporating one or two discrete images. These images in turn represent Sinfield's lyrics from the album – the images in the word 'King' representing the lyrics of the various sections and subsections of track 5, "Lizard"; while the images in the word 'Crimson' represent the lyrics of tracks 1–4. Whereas the images representing "Lizard" are medieval in content – depicting Prince Rupert, his environs (including a peacock), and the Battle of Glass Tears – the images representing the other four tracks juxtapose medieval and contemporary scenes. The image around the letter 'i' in 'Crimson', for example, depicts the Beatles, corresponding with their pseudonymous appearance in the lyrics to "Happy Family". Around the "n" on the front cover, there is a depiction of Rupert the Bear piloting a yellow aeroplane.

In his book Prog Rock FAQ, Will Romano called Barris' work "one of the era's most beautifully strange pieces of album cover artwork". In an interview with Romano, Barris said that Lizard was "one of my first jobs" since studying graphics at the Central School of Art and Design in London. She contacted Sinfield after hearing he needed an artist to produce a cover for Lizard. When she suggested creating medieval miniatures, a passion of hers, Sinfield "went for it" and commissioned her to do the job. Barris recalled that she did not hear the music until after the album's release, but worked from the lyrics Sinfield had given her. She cited the Lindisfarne Gospel and Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry illuminated manuscripts as inspiration for her work." - Wikipedia

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it's weird how carlsson has managed to get wilson over a barrel and then persuade him to let the rest of the PROG goons perform anal chugs on him in said position.

my point is that wilson has sold his arse cheaply. it's embarrassing to read.

-skope

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Jimbly
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Re: King Crimson

Postby Jimbly » 26 Oct 2021, 17:07

Hugh wrote:
slightbreeze wrote:Apparently, Fripp is naturally a right handed guitarist, but taught himself to play left handed. The mind boggles. "In the Court" is, of course, magnificent. "In the wake" is an average mirror image of the debut. The cover is appalling, even worse than Foxtrot


Is he not left handed but plays right handed?


The Brother is left handed and plays right handed as well.
So Long Kid, Take A Bow.

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Re: King Crimson

Postby Hightea » 26 Oct 2021, 17:17

great write up Matt of the first three KC albums. In my eyes all three wonderful albums although 2 and 3 have its off moments.

"Epitaph, Robert Fripp remarked that the song was dedicated to "an American political personality whom we all know and love dearly. His name is Spiro Agnew." - had no idea

I understand how people take Wake as sort of Court lite. Although it sounds similar I've always thought it seemed like a more mellow album with more atmospheric sounds. The lack of Ian McDonald and only Mel on two tunes, changed the dynamic.
I've always been a big fan of side one of Lizard. Quite a change from the first two albums.

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Re: King Crimson

Postby Hightea » 26 Oct 2021, 17:19

Jimbly wrote:
Hugh wrote:
slightbreeze wrote:Apparently, Fripp is naturally a right handed guitarist, but taught himself to play left handed. The mind boggles. "In the Court" is, of course, magnificent. "In the wake" is an average mirror image of the debut. The cover is appalling, even worse than Foxtrot


Is he not left handed but plays right handed?


The Brother is left handed and plays right handed as well.


Fripp is left handed.

interesting list
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/articles/features/10_famous_left-handed_guitarists_who_play_right-handed-40457

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Re: King Crimson

Postby C » 26 Oct 2021, 17:25

Great write up of Lizard.

Another corker of an album.

Again, Keith Tippett's contributions add great significance




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Re: King Crimson

Postby slightbreeze » 26 Oct 2021, 17:46

"Lizard" is a great album, a brave album in terms of musical direction. So far, then, Court 10/10, Lizard 8/10 and Poseidon 5/10

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Re: King Crimson

Postby robertff » 26 Oct 2021, 19:05

After a very long hiatus Lizard was my re-entry purchase point with King Crimson, mainly because it was cheap and I really liked the cover, the album itself isn't too shabby.



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Re: King Crimson

Postby Matt Wilson » 03 Nov 2021, 15:27

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McDonald and Giles 1970
Actually released right before Lizard, this curious little record isn't bad at all. Kind've sounds like a cross between Beatles-type folk rock and lengthy prog. There's not a duff track here, but it's no classic either. Not very Crimsonesque, but you can definitely tell it's Michael Giles drumming - as it pretty much sounds exactly like what he did on In the Court of... I'm not going to make any grandiose claims for this LP, but if you're interested in early KC, in particular the first two albums (though McDonald doesn't appear on Poseidon), you might want to check this out.

Wiki - "McDonald and Giles is an album of music released by British musicians Ian McDonald and Michael Giles in 1970. The album was first issued on Island Records (ILPS 9126) in the UK and Cotillion Records (SD 9042), a division of Atlantic Records, in the US. (The album was released on Atlantic itself in several countries.) The album was recorded at Island Studios between May and July 1970. Although McDonald and Giles remains popular among King Crimson fans, its commercial success was limited. The duo did not record a second album."

Ian McDonald – guitar, piano, organ, saxes, flute, clarinet, zither, vocals and sundries
Michael Giles – drums, percussion (including milk bottle, handsaw, lip whistle and nutbox), vocals
Peter Giles – bass guitar
Steve Winwood – organ, and piano solo on "Turnham Green"
Michael Blakesley – trombone on "Tomorrow's People"

1. "Suite in C" (Ian McDonald) – 11:14 including "Turnham Green" "Here I Am" And many more
Impressive cut with lots of proggy elements in terms of different sections all being stitched together to form a coherent whole. It begins with vocals almost like Greg Lake's in "21st Century Schizoid Man," but far less intense. The Beatles influence is everywhere, from the harmonies to the vocal timbre. All very pleasant in that post psych way that certain musicians were still clinging to at the time. Fine as either background music or something to pay attention to.

"Suite in C" was written by Ian McDonald in Detroit, Los Angeles and Earls Court between December 1969 and February 1970. Ian McDonald and Michael Giles were members of the original King Crimson line-up, and were featured performers on the band's debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King (1969). Both left the group at the end of its first United States tour in 1969, although Giles appeared on the second King Crimson album, In the Wake of Poseidon (1970), as a session musician. Two other King Crimson members also worked on McDonald and Giles: Peter Giles and Peter Sinfield." - Wikipedia

2. "Flight of the Ibis" (Ian McDonald, BP Fallon) – 3:11
Again I use the word 'pleasant' to describe this music as there's none of Crimson's in-your-face aggression to be found (not that there was too much of that on the first two albums). Short, and with a "Cadence and Cascade" feel - so I guess one could claim this is sort of like KC.

Wiki: "The music on McDonald and Giles contains many of the pastoral and musically complex elements of King Crimson, while generally avoiding that band's darker tendencies. The song "Flight of the Ibis" has a melody and rhythm similar to King Crimson's "Cadence and Cascade," with different lyrics. The album contains a guest appearance by Steve Winwood, playing organ and piano on "Turnham Green." Winwood's group Traffic were working on John Barleycorn Must Die at Island Studios at the same time."

Also: “Flight of the Ibis” shares similarities to “Cadence & Cascade” on In The Wake of Poseidon in melody and, indeed, “Ibis” had the “Cadence & Cascade” lyric at one point. When McDonald left the band he took his music with him, while Sinfield retained the lyric. Fripp composed a song that used the lyric and had some similarities to “Ibis” in terms of structure, melody and chord progression to provide enough material for the second King Crimson album."

3. "Is She Waiting?" (Ian McDonald) – 2:36
Shortest cut here and the most folk-rock sounding to my ears. There's kind of a druggy haze to much of this album and the psych coloring on the LP cover adds to the ambiance. Wiki - "Is She Waiting?" was written in Earls Court in the summer of 1969, between King Crimson gigs."

4. "Tomorrow's People - The Children of Today" (Michael Giles) – 7:00
Perhaps my fave thing on this album. I don't know which guy is singing most of the songs but this sounds like a different voice than the one heard previously. A lot of work went into the production as you can hear horns on these cuts. Great drum break! Nice flute as well.

"Tomorrow's People" was written by Michael Giles in 1967, and expanded and arranged in 1970. The song was dedicated to Tina and Mandy, his children. Michael Giles' drum solo in "Tomorrow's People – The Children of Today" has been sampled by a number of rap and hip-hop artists, most notably the Beastie Boys, on the track "Body Movin'" from the album Hello Nasty." - Wikipedia

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5. "Birdman" (McDonald, Peter Sinfield) – 21:22 involving; "The Inventor's Dream (O.U.A.T.)" "The Workshop" "Wishbone Ascension" "Birdman Flies!" "Wings in the Sunset" "Birdman – The Reflection"
Their 'big' number, interesting but not much more than that. Lots of good sections but perhaps with the feel that they're stretching it out to fill the second side of the LP. Still, I guess with the proper stimulants, I'm thinking one could summon up some enthusiasm for this lengthy piece. LOL.

Wikipedia: "Birdman" was mostly written in the spring of 1968, apart from the Flying bit which was done in 1970. Original idea by Peter Sinfield. "Wishbone Ascension" was performed live by King Crimson in 1969 as a part of the once performed live prog epic "Trees", which also included Fripp's penned "Pictures Of A City." The transition to the bridge part appear in both "Wishbone Ascension" and "Pictures Of A City"

Image
it's weird how carlsson has managed to get wilson over a barrel and then persuade him to let the rest of the PROG goons perform anal chugs on him in said position.

my point is that wilson has sold his arse cheaply. it's embarrassing to read.

-skope