“My relationship with King Crimson started fairly early on with the eponymous title track of the first album, which got a fair bit of radio play back in the day. But beyond that, I don’t know if I heard anything until a friend made a point of playing Red for me when I was maybe fifteen. Just the song, not the whole album. It actually frightened me, the intensity of it. No respite anywhere in its six plus minutes, even the quiet parts were wound tight, setting up another roar of visceral instrumental fierceness in the shade of red, that sort of mist you see when your rage gets the worst of you and all you can do really is howl. Though maybe here, it’s the best, because man, what a f***ing band! In retrospect, it’s no great surprise that Robert Fripp shut the operation down almost immediately afterward. There was really nowhere else for King Crimson to go – not for six or seven years anyway. And meanwhile, I had plenty of time to catch up, get educated.” (Philip Random)
It’s 1981 and, after a seven year hiatus, Robert Fripp has decided to reboot the monster known as King Crimson. The new album is called Discipline and it’s clear from the opening seconds of the first track Elephant Talk that it’s all for the good. Tight and modern as the album title suggests, but also dangerous and beautiful in a primal, wild animal sort of way. Special thanks to new guy Adrian Belew‘s guitar athletics. And his vocals aren’t bad either. Not exactly rapping on Elephant Talk. Not singing either. Just arguing, agreeing, babbling, bantering, ballyhooing, chattering, chit-chatting, diatribing … and so on. Which is rather what the world sounded like in those days. As it still does.
(photo found at Youtube)
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with the original 1971 studio recording of Yes’s Perpetual Change. It just doesn’t go as far as strong as gobsmackingly wow!!! as the 1972 live recording that showed up on the triple live set Yessongs. Because they really do set the atmosphere on fire here, one of the last tracks ever recorded with drummer Bill Bruford, so yeah, the classic Yes lineup (my version of it anyway), which does need to be raved about if only for that point maybe halfway through Perpetual Change where the band are effectively playing two completely different songs at the same insane time, and it works, finally blowing off into a feedback overload that quickly segues into a Jon Anderson vocal harmony, and then BAM!!! into an extended outro, the tightest band on the planet at the time (seriously, even Led Zeppelin had to be looking over their shoulders in 1972) bouncing back and forth from improvised bits to insanely abrupt changes, on and on, higher and deeper until the only real flaw, which is the overextended drum solo (not bad, just not necessary). As a musician friend once put it, Perpetual Change is the secret to everything that was great about Yes, because they were perpetual change (up until around 1975 anyway), not just evolving from album to album, but within the songs themselves. Everything was possible and they had the smarts (and the chops) to make it so.” (Philip Random)
It’s 1981 and King Crimson main man Robert Fripp has reformed the band (after better part of seven years in the wilderness) with a whole new sound and Discipline, and the result is thundering (to put it mildly). Thela Hun Gingeet translates as Heat In The Jungle and it concerns an experience that Adrian Belew (the new guy) had while out for a walk with a tape recorder in the still rather mean streets of NYC. Word is, it actually caused stereo systems to catch fire back in the day.
Installment #2 of what we’re calling The Research Series aired Sunday, March-18-2018.
The plan is for a total of forty-nine movies, each forty-nine minutes long, featuring no particular artist, working no particular theme, pursuing no particular agenda beyond boldly going … who knows? Or as Werner Von Braun once put it, “Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” And we definitely have no idea where all this will take us.
002. reSEARCH – liars + rivers
Gram Parsons + Emmylou Harris – love hurts
Van Morrison – you don’t pull no punches but you don’t push the river
Bill Bruford – Sahara of snow [part 1]
George Harrison – in the bed
Canned Heat – on the road again
Tony Wilson – Saturn [fragment]
Rip Rig + Panic – liars [part 2]
Sly + the Family Stone – spaced cowboy
Bourbonese Qualk – boggy creek
John Lee Hooker – doin’ the shout
Young Marble Giants – searching for Mr Right
Crusaders – that’s how I feel
Further installments of the Research Stuff will air most Sundays at approximately 1am (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options usually available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.
As the story goes, Robert Fripp shut down the original King Crimson in 1974, claiming an overall disgust with the way the music industry world was going in those days. Of course, it could be argued that was version seven anyway, so many members having already come and gone from the Crimson court since 1969. But the intervening silence was inarguable. Nothing until 1981 when a fresh line-up kicked into gear with a whole new Discipline, which was maybe starting to lose some of its freshness come 1984’s Three of a Perfect Pair. But not on Side Two. Not Industry. That was what the world actually sounded like in 1984. Everything grinding, droning, hissing, giving off toxic vapors, finally erupting with savage urgency.
To clarify. King Crimson first performed as a unit in early 1969, quickly knocked the world onto its head by more or less inventing so-called progressive rock, then proceeded to do just that for the next five years. They progressed. The line-up was ever mutating, as were the sounds. Only one thing remained unchanged. Robert Fripp remained seated as he played his mellotron and planet fracturing guitar. Asbury Park is a live improv from a show at the Asbury Park Casino on June 28, 1974, one of the last shows from the last King Crimson tour of the 1970s after which Mr. Fripp would shut the whole outfit down because he’d come to despise the industry he was in, and what it was doing to him. Not that he and King Crimson brand wouldn’t return half a decade later. But that is a whole other discipline.
The Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part Thirty-Four of the journey went as follows:
- Pink Floyd – pow R toc H
- Roxy Music – Virginia Plain
- Strawbs – autumn
- Strawbs – hero and heroine
- Al Stewart – Nostradamus
- Genesis – cinema show
- King Crimson – trio
- King Crimson – fracture
- Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
- Sally Oldfield – water bearer
- Sally Oldfield – Songs of the Quendi
- Sally Oldfield – mirrors
Youtube playlist (incomplete and not entirely accurate).
This continues to be Randophonic’s main focus, our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era (presented in countdown form) – 661 records from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part twelve of the journey went as follows:
- Yes – America
- Yes- a venture
- Strawbs – midnight sun
- Renaissance – can you understand?
- Soft Machine – hope for happiness
- Soft Machine – why are we sleeping?
- King Crimson – epitaph
- King Crimson- exiles [live]
- Guru Guru -oxymoron [immer middle]
- Bill Bruford – Sahara of snow [part-1]
- Bill Bruford – fainting in coils
- Vangelis – to the unknown man