Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

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Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Ghost of Mayfield Lodge on Wed 21 Apr 2010, 4:05 pm

Hello, admin (as you are most likely the only one going to be reading this even though, knowing you, you're probably just going to skim it over and start making more crappy hitler parodies to feed your gross nazi fetish) and welcome to a musical essay I wrote on a band I listen to. I hope I can turn people's interests into something more in the artsy fartsy vein. Stay tuned as I'm soon going to review this british prick's albums in addition to writing a fat ass essay. NOT THAT ANYONE HERE CARES!



King Crimson is not a band. King Crimson is a guy. While they started out as a semi-democratic entity, by the time they had more or less invented progressive rock with their debut in 1969, everyone who had anything to do with that album and was not named Robert Fripp left, leaving ol’ Fripperlips, by default, as the unquestioned, tyrannical leader of King Crimson. And he ran with it. After leading his band of replacement hacks into ass-poor jazz-noodling suckitude within two short years, he fired everyone. Then he reformed the band two years later as a frighteningly mean and powerful prog-metal force (and the singular influence for Tool and other like-minded bands), but dissolved them two years later. Then he reformed the band again in the early eighties as a hyper-complicated, Talking Heads-influenced new wave-prog hybrid, but dissolved them three years later. Then he reformed the band again in the mid-nineties as not-at-all interesting amalgamation/self-cannibalization of the two previous incarnations, and continues to record and tour with that version to this day.

Therefore, any discussion of “King Crimson” as a whole begins and ends with a discussion of Robert Fripp, and any discussion of their music must be localized within the different versions of his band, about which I will go into detail during the reviews. Also, the only thing I will say about the band’s “lineup” is that it originally consisted of Fripp on guitar, Ian McDonald on saxes, flutes, mellotrons, and other assorted doohickies, Greg Lake (before he went off to make an ass of himself for the remainder of his career) on bass and vocals, and Michael Giles on drums. Obviously, the lineup changes of this band are far too numerous to bother with in the intro, and, again, they don’t matter, because the story here is Fripp, and my mixed feelings toward the guy. On the one hand, he was, and is, a total douche. He insults his fans when they ask him for his autograph, is almost obsessive-compulsive about not having his picture taken, sits hunched over in a chair while performing and does not move, and will gladly spend an hour of your time, both on record and at a concert you paid to attend, wanking about and producing hideous, unlistenable, “avant-garde” noise. To make a gross oversimplification, he’s an asshole who think he’s better than anyone else and doesn’t give a crap.

However, sometimes it’s good to be an asshole, and one thing you will never find in the winding, twisting mess that is the King Crimson catalog is pandering. Robert Fripp makes the music he wants to make, and simply does not care what you (or I…especially I) think. This may (and often does) include non-musical wank nothingness, but it also may occasionally include some of the most groundbreaking, startling music ever put to tape, especially if you’re talking about the ’73-’74 band, which just rules my ass all the way to next week. See, Robert Fripp is a fantastically talented guitarist, capable of lightning fast, technically jawdropping arpeggios on the one hand and fat, menacing riffing on the other. He just has his, you know...tendencies. And he can’t write songs either (at all), so other people generally have to do that for him. The quality of King Crimson music, essentially, depends on three things, all of equal importance: the talent and creativity of his current sidemen (Boz Burrell or John Wetton? Ian Wallace or Bill Bruford?), how forward-thinking his band is at the time (are they ahead of their time, with the times, or behind the times? King Crimson has been all three), and how much of a douche Fripp feels like being (should I focus my talents on creating something memorable, or should I just jerk off for an hour?). All three of these things differ wildly from era to era, and the third differs wildly not only from album to album, but often from song to song on the same album.

Needless to say, King Crimson’s recording career is frustrating and inconsistent. The potential of the band is often very, very high, but the actual results are there only infrequently and, after all is said and done, there are a mere four King Crimson albums (In the Court of the Crimson King, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Red, Absent Lovers) that I would say are necessities. If you want to dig deeper, be my guest, but bear in mind you’ll only be getting weaker versions of and/or variations on songs and themes present on those four records. Crim has also released too many live albums to even count, but I’ve taken the easy way out, purchased the only one deemed necessary by the majority (Absent Lovers), and fucked the rest because I’m deathly poor. If you want me to review Earthbound or VROOM VROOM or Epitaph or THRaKaTTaK or The Night Watch or B’Boom or USA or Heavy ConstruKction or The Great Deceiver or Robert Fripp’s Taking a Two-Hour crap Onstage and Recording it for Posterity (Whoever Posterity is), send it to me, because frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.

Coming soon: A review of In the Court of the Crimson King an Observation by King Crimson, truly the whitest title you could ever give to an album.




Last edited by Cletus Awreetus Awrightus on Wed 21 Apr 2010, 7:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Administrator on Wed 21 Apr 2010, 4:28 pm

brb, going to kill Robert Fripp.

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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Ghost of Mayfield Lodge on Wed 21 Apr 2010, 4:48 pm

aww fripperlips aint that bad if you offer him a free gay sodomy service and then pay him for it.

and anyway his music can be mind blowing if he wants it to.
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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Pokémoneinstein on Wed 21 Apr 2010, 6:57 pm

Cletus Awreetus Awrightus wrote:aww fripperlips aint that bad if you offer him a free gay ... blowing.
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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Pokémoneinstein on Wed 21 Apr 2010, 6:57 pm

Pokémoneinstein wrote:
Cletus Awreetus Awrightus wrote:aww fripperlips aint that bad if you offer him a free gay ... blowing.

Don't mind me, I'm just practicing watering things down.
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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Ghost of Mayfield Lodge on Wed 21 Apr 2010, 7:03 pm

heh, you of all people? i don't mind but did the admin put you up to this?

Not to mention I think there are several instances in my essay that probably need a good "watering down" lol
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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Administrator on Wed 21 Apr 2010, 9:31 pm

No, I didn't put Pokemoneinstein up to it, he did it himself.

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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Ghost of Mayfield Lodge on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 9:47 pm

Presenting my review for King Crimson's psuedo-eponymous debut in 1969: In The Court of the Crimson King. Site peoples, please read this as i aspire to be a starving artist in the future. PLEASE IT TOOK TWO BLOODY MOTHER FUCKING HOURS TO WRITE THIS, LORDY LORD!

Also, stingy people who want to listen to this album but dont want to buy it, you can easily find all the songs on good ol' youtube.







I once said “21st Century Schizoid Man” was my favorite Crimson song ever. Sure, the song rules, but I hadn’t even heard any material from the ’73-’74 band yet, which is like saying what your favorite Rolling Stones song is without hearing anything from between 1968 and 1972. It’s simply idiotic and irresponsible. And so here we are, and it’s not like my opinion regarding ICOCK (Oh, I’m so mature…) has changed any since I wrote the old review. It’s still the same as every other web reviewer on the planet. The record more or less invented many of the conventions of the early-70’s progressive rock scene, and holds up today better than 99% of that genre’s albums. Four-fifths of it, ranging from mean proto-noise rock to flute-tinged ballad loveliness to gorgeous, affecting mellotron epics, is absolutely brilliant and should be heard by every single person on this planet who gives even half a crap about good rock music. One-fifth (or one quarter, if you go by time taken up instead of number of songs) is utterly unlistenable bullshit, and provides your first glimpse of the fact that Robert Fripp is a giant douche who gets off on ruining even his most brilliant albums with long stretches of go-nowhere dicking that no one with fully functioning ears will ever want to hear. End of review. Now, I’m gonna go have another Newcastle.







OK, so I drank the last one like an hour ago, I guess. I might as well write a longer review now, eh? OK. So what strikes me about this record, in relation to the rest of the King Crimson catalog, is the songs. With few exceptions, Robert Fripp simply cannot write good songs, or at least traditional songs centered around vocal melodies and hooks. He’ll churn one out every now and then, but it’s a rare occasion indeed (and it’s probably a good bet to assume someone else wrote the melody, anyway), and so the fact that every track on this record, excepting the aforementioned go-nowhere dicking, contains a superb hook is very, very interesting. But it’s understandable, see? Because Fripp didn’t actually write any of it! He’s just another member of the band at this point, and it’s not until later that his name becomes synonymous with King Crimson. Ian McDonald (later of…Foreigner! Yee-hah!) plays all the horns, woodwinds, and mellotrons on this record and, apparently, has a huge hand in the songwriting (though you wouldn’t know it from Foreigner’s songs). Even though Emerson, Lake, and Palmer suck a fat one, Greg Lake has a fantastic voice, is a superb bass player, and can write a mean ballad when called upon. Fripp just plays guitar, and is definitely not as responsible as those two aforementioned helpers for the melodical tastiness found here. He probably had more to do with it than drummer Michael Giles, sure, but Ian and Greg wrote these songs, and anyone who says otherwise hasn’t listened to Lizard.

And WHAT songs they are! “21st Century Schizoid Man,” after beginning the record with 30 seconds of “machine starting up” sounds that Tool have totally ripped off like five times, is an absolutely mean noise-rock guitar/sax/mellotron piece of hibbity-jibbity that totally kicks my ass with its Greg Lake fuzzed-out distorto-vocals before going into a mid-song instrumental section that shows just how vibrant and alive progressive rock could be when practiced by talented individuals and constructed with sharpness, clarity, purpose, and care. The song rocks viciously, and is still my favorite King Crimson moment when one doesn’t count the ’73-’74 band (who just totally fucking rule). The following “I Talk to the Wind” is just as pretty as “Schizoid” is frightening, and finds Greg Lake showing just how great of a singer he really is, and why it sucks that he spent the rest of his career with Keith EMERSON and his bullshit wanka-keyboards. The flute-playing in this song (Ian McDonald!) is just stunning, and though Crimson tried to rewrite the tune numerous times in their career, they (or, rather, Fripp) never really succeeded. Side one then closes out with the stirring “Epitaph,” another showcase for Lake’s wonderful vocals and McDonald’s expert touches (the mellotrons in this song are excellent). The song is definitely dark, but the sheer power of the band makes it a thoroughly moving experience nonetheless, and Lake’s “CONFUSION...will be my epitaph!” line gets me every time. Then the album shoves a giant cheese grater up your ass for ten minutes before the album’s title track, another brilliantly constructed, dark mellotron epic that’s just as good as, if not better than “Epitaph,” finishes everyone off on a high note (“AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!”), but not so high that you forget about the first half of side 2, and how you want those ten minutes of your life back.

Because good fucking GOD does “Moonchild” suck. I know I’m not really breaking any new ground here by saying “Moonchild” is a pathetic pile of baboon droppings, but I don’t know if the intensity of its sucking has yet to be fully discussed. After about ninety seconds of quiet decentness that fools you into thinking the track might be an actual song, it quickly degenerates into absolute nothingness, the kind of nothingness that, by minute 8, has you questioning your will to live. You know what it sounds like? It sounds like Robert Fripp was alone in the studio one night, after Ian McDonald had left the Mellotron plugged in, and he just, like, got drunk and hit the keys randomly with a stick for ten minutes, and accidentally left the “record” button on as well. Then, as a joke, he decided to stick his drunken stick-bashing onto the record between “Epitaph” and the title track precisely because he’s a giant asshole who wanted to assert creative control over the group even though McDonald and Lake had written most of the worthwhile material. “Moonchild” is such an extraordinary waste of time I can’t even discuss it. If and when you purchase this album on my glowing recommendation (because the rest of it is fucking AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!), just skip it. Please. You can spend those ten minutes making a donation to the tsunami relief fund. Or the RNC. Whatever floats your boat.

And so, because I can’t end a review of one of the 5-10 greatest progressive rock albums of all time with a 200 word discussion of the badness of “Moonchild,” let me reiterate once again that this album is an absolute necessity for anyone with even a passing interest in the genre. It’s alternately mean and pretty, mellow and bombastic, solemn and stirring. It basically contains everything that can be good about progressive rock. Except for “Moonchild.”
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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Administrator on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 10:12 pm

Good music Wink

You actually write music reviews from your own respective views..

Nice job.

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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Ghost of Mayfield Lodge on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 10:19 pm

Ooops! Forgot to give this a grade! I bestow upon this album an A-!

Btw, admin, did you click the youtube vid yet? Another comparison I could make to this musik are The Legend of Zelda games! Quite frankly, it sounds like that kind of music with medieval lyrics! In fact, the title track (posted here) sounds like it came right from The Twilight Princess.
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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Administrator on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 10:21 pm

Go head and do it, if you want.

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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Ghost of Mayfield Lodge on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 10:25 pm

ya it was already posted! click it! click it! click the youtube video!
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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Administrator on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 10:26 pm

no I meant the part about it sounding like something from Twilight Princess.

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Re: Musical essay on King Crimson and album reviews

Post  Ghost of Mayfield Lodge on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 10:30 pm

lol the whole thing sounds like some evil theme in the twilight princess or any zelda game! in fact, its actually a song written about the good ol' prince of darkness, Satan!

King Crimson=Satan! YAY SATAN! cheers
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