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Thread: AAJ Review: King Crimson, Heaven & Earth: Live and In the Studio 1997-2008

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: King Crimson, Heaven & Earth: Live and In the Studio 1997-2008



    My review of King Crimson’s Heaven & Earth: Live and In the Studio 1997-2008, today at All About Jazz.

    Yet another year, yet anot characteristically detailed and chronologically contextualized her King Crimson mega-box set.

    Except that 2019 is no typical year. And Heaven & Earth is no typical King Crimson box.

    While Heaven & Earth: Live and in the Studio 1997-2008 completes (well, almost) the series of box sets documenting King Crimson's original commercial recordings (and so much more), it's far from the group's first (or only) release to go along with the current three-drummer incarnation's 50th Anniversary tour, which will span (so far) three continents and thirteen countries.

    The story so far: the 1969-1972 Limited Edition Vinyl (Panegyric) box was released a week after the official 50th anniversary of the group's formation on November 30, 1968. With audiophile 200g vinyl covering that period's four commercial Island Records studio releases and featuring Steven Wilson and Crimson guitarist/co-founder Robert Fripp's 40th Anniversary remixes—from 1969's In the Court of the Crimson King through 1972's Islands—this deluxe box also includes a bonus two-LP set, The Alternative Guide to King Crimson, filled with alternate takes, remixes and other curios culled from the various multimedia 40th Anniversary reissues.

    Next, the 1972-1974 Limited Edition Vinyl (Panegyric) box was released at the beginning of March 2019. Collecting all the commercial studio and live recordings from the Larks' Tongues in Aspic quintet and quartet (and, again, using Wilson and Fripp's 40th Anniversary stereo remixes), this luxury box of 200g vinyl covers releases from 1973's Larks' Tongues in Aspic through the expanded, two-LP version of the group's live swan song, 1975's USA, plus an additional LP of alternate takes and mixes from Larks' Tongues in Aspic, again sourced from the 40th anniversary reissue.

    Third up, the first of three planned King Crimson Collectors Club titles that will bring the series to a close at fifty releases of live/radio shows and rehearsals across the band's history. Released in early April, Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 (DGM Live) adds to the relatively small official discography of live releases, ranging from audience and soundboard recordings to the very occasional multitrack sessions, by the original "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" quintet, with percussionist/drummer Jamie Muir adding an unquantifiable "X factor" to the quartet that would continue on after his departure in early 1973 (Fripp, violinist/keyboardist David Cross, bassist/vocalist John Wetton and drummer/percussionist Bill Bruford). The best-sounding live recording from the quintet to date and drawn from an exceptionally well-restored soundboard recording, it's a major addition to that lineup's canon of live recordings, released over nearly the past thirty years in KCCC, download-only and box set formats.

    Continue reading here…

    [NOTE: The review is, 15,000 words, my longest piece ever; but hey, we're talking 4.5 days of music covering 11 years and multiple groups, plus the results of an extended exchange with Mastelotto about ReConstruKction. I've added chapter headings throughout to break the article up and make it easier, should you understandably wish to break reading the piece up into more than one session.]
    Last edited by jkelman; 1 Week Ago at 10:10 AM.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  2. #2
    Really enjoyed reading that albeit it took longer than the interval in the cricket!

    It makes me determined to somehow listen to all of the bluray content. I love TCoL, it just makes sense to me whilst TPtB never quite hit the mark. Putting it all into a new context is what will make this box set interesting and I need to revisit the latter as a result.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by tallliman View Post
    Really enjoyed reading that albeit it took longer than the interval in the cricket!

    It makes me determined to somehow listen to all of the bluray content. I love TCoL, it just makes sense to me whilst TPtB never quite hit the mark. Putting it all into a new context is what will make this box set interesting and I need to revisit the latter as a result.
    Thanks for toughing it out. Like I said, there's so much material and history to cover, that I couldn't see doing it any differently.
    Cheers!
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  4. #4
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    Great job as always: Interesting stuff about a period of time that I never knew much about.

    I don't get the mega box sets (schoolteacher salary, student loans, etc). I saved for a while to get The Road to Red, but I'd be surprised if I got it together to get any more. This article got me very excited for the Reconstrukction of Light (or whatever its title is). The Double Duo era never interested me very much, but when I was surprised to fall in love with both the Double Trio and the 80s quartet, I decided to dive in with a used copy of Heavy Construkction. I absolutely love that record and was shocked by how strong the TCoL compositions were.

    I might be in the minority of people who prefer TCoL to Power to Believe, but maybe I just need to listen to Elektrik again, as I usually don't "get later Crimson until I hear a live version.

    I'd feel grateful for a separate physical product of the 2008 group. I actually enjoy the Park West stuff quite a bit when I play it. I get that in goes against the image of KC always moving forward--returning to a Double Trio-ish idea of "The 80s, but heavy and crazier" (Except its less heavy and less crazy). The 2008 stuff isn't quite as tight as it could be, but I actually really enjoy many of the arrangements. I didn't think the Double Trio version of Neurotica could be topped, but the 2008 version might be my favorite!

  5. #5
    Profondo Giallo Crystal Plumage's Avatar
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    Thanks for this. I almost read all. Bought TCoL on release day (around this time 19 years ago already!)
    I love this era. May be because I'm a bit younger than most Krim fans? I was 22 when I bought it.
    Anyway, this album was my gateway Crimson album I knew some of their stuff, but never connected with it back then. That really changed.
    HuGo
    ..:: Right, bring in the perverts! ::..
    "Very, very nice," said a man in the crowd,
    When the golden voice appeared.
    She was gold alright, but then so is rust.
    "Such a shame about the beard."

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    Great job as always: Interesting stuff about a period of time that I never knew much about.
    Thanks, man, I appreciate your taking the time to read it!

    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    I don't get the mega box sets (schoolteacher salary, student loans, etc). I saved for a while to get The Road to Red, but I'd be surprised if I got it together to get any more. This article got me very excited for the Reconstrukction of Light (or whatever its title is). The Double Duo era never interested me very much, but when I was surprised to fall in love with both the Double Trio and the 80s quartet, I decided to dive in with a used copy of Heavy Construkction. I absolutely love that record and was shocked by how strong the TCoL compositions were.
    I hear ya. But I'd recommend the two smaller CD/DVD-A releases, and especially The ReConstruKction of Light, as it really is a game-changer.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Crystal Plumage View Post
    Thanks for this. I almost read all. Bought TCoL on release day (around this time 19 years ago already!)
    I love this era. May be because I'm a bit younger than most Krim fans? I was 22 when I bought it.
    Anyway, this album was my gateway Crimson album I knew some of their stuff, but never connected with it back then. That really changed.
    Everyone has a gateway album...but I suspect you'll find ReConstruKction is even better. I always really liked the material on TCoL, though I appreciated it much more when they started playing it live (and especially when Pat began to introduce more acoustic drums as a balance to the electronics). Now, ReConstruKction has significantly elevated in its place in the Crimson canon. I'm sure you'd love it.

    And thanks for reading!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  8. #8
    Great review John. I only got the box yesterday and am looking forward to diving in. Suspect it’ll take a few weeks to work my way through it.

    Keep up the great work.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by pulse01 View Post
    Great review John. I only got the box yesterday and am looking forward to diving in. Suspect it’ll take a few weeks to work my way through it.

    Keep up the great work.
    Thanks!!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  10. #10
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    Good review John - thanks.

    So in case I missed it somewhere they didn't include the video from the Eyes Wide Open DVD correct? It seems a bit odd since they included the shows on video in the 80's and Thrak era boxes.

    My only other reservation is that it seems a bit light on live material from the PtB tours. For me they hit a real peak at that point - I found the shows I saw as powerful as the early 80's concerts.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by taliesin View Post
    Good review John - thanks.

    So in case I missed it somewhere they didn't include the video from the Eyes Wide Open DVD correct? It seems a bit odd since they included the shows on video in the 80's and Thrak era boxes.
    Nope, other than Bootleg TV, no videos. And it's understandable. They had to fit so much Audio on the three Blu Ray disc's that they'd have had to add more discs for video...and that would likely (my guess) have bumped the price beyond what they thought would be reasonable. Plus I think, beyond the two albums, that the big emphasis was on documenting the ProjeKcts. There are live Crimson shows on CD and on one of the BR discs,as well as the 2008 show drawn from four nights in New York, but if you look at where the emphases are, they are (at least imo)

    1. ReConstruKction and, to a slightly lesser extent (unless you have surround; I don't) Power to Believe
    2. David Singleton's Live ConstruKction, in name and execution
    3. The ProjeKcts and associated recordings.

    Everything else is, IMO, icing, albeit very delicious icing !

    Quote Originally Posted by taliesin View Post
    My only other reservation is that it seems a bit light on live material from the PtB tours. For me they hit a real peak at that point - I found the shows I saw as powerful as the early 80's concerts.
    Well, there's New Haven '03 (great show) and, on BR, Elektrik, from Tokyo. Add that to live tracks on Level Five Andi I think they've covered material from TPtB ok.

    Problem is, they can't please everyone, and everyone will, no doubt, have their own personal "what might have beens."
    Me? I'm just grateful that they managed to shoehorn so much music into the box. My physical one hasn't arrived yet (likely this week), but I've got the image of breaking the cellophane and the box exploding!!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  12. #12
    The eons are closing
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    Got mine on Friday...still in cellophane....
    No one plans to take the path that brings you lower

  13. #13
    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Wow, what a write-up. That must have taker forever. I've only been able to skim so far. If you're looking for typo feedback, Tomorrow Never Knew Thela is listed twice as Tomorrow Never Knew Thelma.

  14. #14
    Very very excited to finally get this box once it's available from my local guy This is one of my very favorite eras for the band and it will be wonderful to hear a new version of TCoL and the Live ContruKction, plus all the ProjeKcts and more.

    As for the review...there wasn't really a risk of my NOT buying this one so it didn't necessarily score DGM a sale...but, it's excellent, well-considered and most definitely upped my enthusiasm considerably with considerable background along with pure content coverage. So, kudos and much gratitude for a great read
    Ephemeral Sun - because I gotta do something about these boxes of CDs in the basement: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Wow, what a write-up. That must have taker forever. I've only been able to skim so far. If you're looking for typo feedback, Tomorrow Never Knew Thela is listed twice as Tomorrow Never Knew Thelma.
    One afternoon to do track/personnel listing. Four 6-7 hour sessions over four days to write. One day to trim, tweak and (hopefully) improve. Two days going it over and making final adjustments. So a week, overall. But, as ever, I had a blast doing it!

    And thanks...I'll make that change a little later today. I also made additional adjustments, post-publication, thanks to more input from Pat and. FB friend in Italy. But, barring typos or actual factual errors (yours is likely Apple autocorrect), I'm done with it.

    So thanks for the catch, Dave! And, without tooting my own horn, I'd recommend giving it a proper read, if you've got the time. Pat's generous contributions really made the article, AFAIC..
    Cheers!
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    As for the review...there wasn't really a risk of my NOT buying this one so it didn't necessarily score DGM a sale...but, it's excellent, well-considered and most definitely upped my enthusiasm considerably with considerable background along with pure content coverage. So, kudos and much gratitude for a great read
    While I am, of course, happy to help drive sales to DGM/Panegyric, but it's not my primary objective. Information and context (historical and otherwise) come first...everything else, including my opinion, one a distant second. So I'm glad you enjoyed it, and appreciate your taking the time to read it.
    Cheers!
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  17. #17
    Thank you for this review of epic proportion and detail and especially for the priceless details on late 90s 'prosumer' recording equipment (I've been there myself to some capacity, so I've witnessed some of these procedures...)

    And I also wanted to point out a few small errors that occur in this wonderful text, two of them Italian-related, funnily enough:

    -) it's a moto perpetuo, not a motto perpetuo (it being rather a perpetual motion than an eternal motto) within Fracture
    -) and Fripp called the then new music always Nuovo Metal, not Nuevo. I made sure to check it again with the dgmlive diaries, because that's how I had remembered it (again, nuovo is Italian, and nuevo is Spanish, maybe he went for the former, because of its role in musicology and music theory). Interestingly, google search gives more results on the improper term...
    -) once you write 'fraKctalistion', while it's probably fraKctalisation

    I hope this is not seen as malicious nitpicking, I occasionally work as lector and proofreader, although mostly not with English texts, but a certain compulsive scan of writing is maybe always engaged
    τί ἐστιν ὃ μίαν ἔχον φωνὴν τετράπουν καὶ δίπουν καὶ τρίπουν γίνεται;

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by sphinx View Post
    Thank you for this review of epic proportion and detail and especially for the priceless details on late 90s 'prosumer' recording equipment (I've been there myself to some capacity, so I've witnessed some of these procedures...)
    Thanks, man!

    Quote Originally Posted by sphinx View Post
    And I also wanted to point out a few small errors that occur in this wonderful text, two of them Italian-related, funnily enough:

    -) it's a moto perpetuo, not a motto perpetuo (it being rather a perpetual motion than an eternal motto) within Fracture
    -) and Fripp called the then new music always Nuovo Metal, not Nuevo. I made sure to check it again with the dgmlive diaries, because that's how I had remembered it (again, nuovo is Italian, and nuevo is Spanish, maybe he went for the former, because of its role in musicology and music theory). Interestingly, google search gives more results on the improper term...
    -) once you write 'fraKctalistion', while it's probably fraKctalisation

    I hope this is not seen as malicious nitpicking, I occasionally work as lector and proofreader, although mostly not with English texts, but a certain compulsive scan of writing is maybe always engaged
    Not at all. To answer? D'OH!! Sadly, editing is pretty superficial at all about jazz and, try as I might, with articles this long some small things are bound to be missed...so I absolutely appreciate folks letting me know. I am much happier for the article to be as correct and accurate as it can be, so am grateful for folks who want to pick nits.

    One thing, just FYI: because all about jazz is an American site it adopts American spelling, so weird as it is, if I quote Sid's liners, as an example, I'll spell something like frakctakise that way...but in my text, it changes to fraKctalize. No different than quoting Sid for "colour" but me using "color." And hey, I'm Canadian so am more used to the British spelling. But having been managing editor at all about jazz for almost seven years, I've gotten pretty used to flipping back and forth at will :j

    So thanks...will go fix now. And thanks for the kind words...though all the recording stuff largely thanks to Pat (though, having worked in studios until the end of the '90s, this was not new to me), who was so generous with his time and information.

    Cheers!
    J
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by sphinx View Post
    -) once you write 'fraKctalistion', while it's probably fraKctalisation
    Thanks again for the corrections, they'll be in momentarily. On the above one? Just to let you know that I was working with an early version of the liners in PDF format, and that misspell was in it (I didn't spell check my quotes, copied and pasted from the liners). I'll have to check, when my real box arrives, if they corrected it!

    But thanks again for all of them. Anything that improves my work is very much appreciated!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  20. #20
    That was a very enjoyable read, and it answered some questions I had. Markus Reuter had posted some videos of his mixing work on the ReconstruKction on Facebook, and I was wondering what had happened to that.
    I'll pass on the big box, though. Too much material for me to digest properly. I'll stick to the ReconstruKction (much improved from the original!) and the ProjeKcts stuff I already have.

  21. #21
    "An abbreviated version of its two December 4, 1997 sets—originally released in full in both downloadable form and as a two-CD set by DGM Live in 2005—is also available on a single CD. "

    Was there really a two-CD set from that concert ?

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Nashorn View Post
    That was a very enjoyable read, and it answered some questions I had. Markus Reuter had posted some videos of his mixing work on the ReconstruKction on Facebook, and I was wondering what had happened to that.
    I'll pass on the big box, though. Too much material for me to digest properly. I'll stick to the ReconstruKction (much improved from the original!) and the ProjeKcts stuff I already have.
    Thanks....and no, the big box isn't for everyone...
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by unclemeat View Post
    "An abbreviated version of its two December 4, 1997 sets—originally released in full in both downloadable form and as a two-CD set by DGM Live in 2005—is also available on a single CD. "

    Was there really a two-CD set from that concert ?
    I read it while researching for the box...but can't recall where so it's possible that may be incorrect. I always strive to support my facts with external sources, but they can sometimes be incorrect. On further looking around, it appears to have been a download-only release, so I'll fix that a little later today. All I can say is it's almost impossible, especially without an editor, to catch every single fact, try as I most certainly do. Which is why I value your input and others like Facebook.

    So, thanks again for the catch, much appreciated!
    Cheers,
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  24. #24
    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    https://www.discogs.com/ProjeKct-One...release/712413
    https://www.discogs.com/ProjeKct-One...elease/8904828

    I don't recall there being any physical P1 CD that was derived from a single date. Even if there was, it's now been mooted for me because I have the BluRay!

    So far all I've had a chance to hear from the box were a P6, P1, and P3 show.

  25. #25
    John, I really enjoyed your review. The contributions by Pat are fascinating: it's so interesting getting insider views about the music.

    My box just came in yesterday, it looks like I'll be overdosing on KC for a while. I'm listening to "Live ConstruKction 1" right now, it's really great so far

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