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Thread: The King Crimson gene

  1. #1

    The King Crimson gene

    Like many of you, I have a little more free time on my hands nowadays and that freedom tends to dictate my listening habits. I decided to take a break from "complete band runs" (listen to all the studio albums from an artist) and focus on my favorite band, King Crimson. But not focus by listening necessarily to King Crimson itself.

    The rules: Any album by a musician who had been or, at the time, was currently in King Crimson. The musician must be a key writer or performer on that album. The album can be a solo affair under that musician's name or band project. Only one album under that performer's name or group name (so Bruford will show up on this list multiple times with multiple groups). There must be something that strikes me as Crimson-esque about the music or performance.

    While I wanted to include something like Scary Monsters, it doesn't seem to fit the (arbitrary) criteria, but it would also open up a floodgate of possibilities. Should I also listen to Parallel Lines because Fripp guests on it? Thus, a line was drawn.

    It made sense to organize chronologically. I am currently working my way through the '80s (with a bit of cheating). Here, then, is the first group of albums. Curious if I left something out (I'll get to Exposure . . . ) or if anyone has any recommendations for moving forward.

    1960s and 1970s

    Giles, Giles and Fripp, The Brondesbury Tapes: Indeed, I cheated with my very first selection (this won't be the only cheat). None of these musicians were in Crimson at the time of these recordings. Nevertheless, it was an obvious point to start and includes many Crimson-y moments.

    Emerson, Lake and Palmer, self-titled debut: "Take a Pebble" has always felt a little like a KC song. I've never really felt like Emerson's writing was particularly influenced by Crimson, but "Pebble" fits alongside nicely with early KC tunes like "I Talk to the Wind" and "Cadence and Cascade."

    McDonald and Giles, self-titled: These tunes sound a lot like what GG&F were doing once they added McDonald. Early KC songs like "Drop In" (a GG&F tune to begin with), "Travel Weary Capricorn" and KC's cover of "Get Thy Bearings" could be added to this album and make sense.

    Peter Sinfield, Still: The reasons to not like this album are . . . obvious. But there are a lot of good tunes in here. I quite like Collins' contributions, particularly on "The Night People." Sinfield's version of "Under the Sky" (an old GG&F song) is quite good, too.

    Fripp & Eno, No Pussyfooting: The reasons for inclusion are obvious.

    UK, selt-titled debut: The opportunity to hear Wetton and Bruford work together again is the obvious draw in terms of searching for the KC sound. Not much more needs to be said. We all know what a great album it is.

    Bruford, The Bruford Tapes: I'm rather unfamiliar with the band Bruford. I heard most of the band's work for the first time upon buying the boxset a few years back. "Beelzebub" has some nice Crimson crunch to it.

    I'll post back once I have completed my '80s listening which, for reasons (!), includes Exposure.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  2. #2
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    McDonald & Giles' "Tomorrow's People" and ELP's "Lucky Man" were both rehearsed early in KC's existence, and may even have been performed at their residency at a Newcastle club (as GG&F) in February 1969, at which point they didn't yet have all the songs that later appeared on the debut album ready. Not sure if "Take A Pebble" was already around in some form - maybe it would have been on the 2nd KC album had Lake stayed ?
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    "Either End of August" (or was it "Springtime in Siberia" ?) on Bruford's "Feels Good To Me" was originally written in 1974 and offered to King Crimson (probably in a quite different arrangement), but Fripp turned it down.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    I've never really felt like Emerson's writing was particularly influenced by Crimson, but "Pebble" fits alongside nicely with early KC tunes like "I Talk to the Wind" and "Cadence and Cascade."
    Sure, but that's a Greg Lake song...
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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Bruford, The Bruford Tapes: I'm rather unfamiliar with the band Bruford.
    You should rectify that unfamiliarity immediately!
    There are some bits of Bruford material on The Bruford Tapes that are repurposed National Health pieces--a band that included Bruford for a while, though not on any studio albums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    You should rectify that unfamiliarity immediately!
    There are some bits of Bruford material on The Bruford Tapes that are repurposed National Health pieces--a band that included Bruford for a while, though not on any studio albums.
    More repurposed UK material ("Sahara Of Snow", "Forever Until Sunday") than National Health there, unless you mean the middle section for "Hell's Bells", but that's just one tiny bit (and the NH piece it came from was never recorded in a studio). Bruford's music was primarily written by BB, and apart from the odd exception like "Hell's Bells" and "Land's End", DS contributed additional ideas to BB's sketches rather than the other way round.
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    Soemthing not conected to KC but infected by them. Sounds more like '73 KC than KC themselves


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    McDonald & Giles' "Tomorrow's People" and ELP's "Lucky Man" were both rehearsed early in KC's existence, and may even have been performed at their residency at a Newcastle club (as GG&F) in February 1969
    That's really cool! I'm guessing that if recordings of these rehearsals existed, DGM would've put them out by now.

    Not sure if "Take A Pebble" was already around in some form - maybe it would have been on the 2nd KC album had Lake stayed ?
    It definitely has a KC feel to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    "Either End of August" (or was it "Springtime in Siberia" ?) on Bruford's "Feels Good To Me" was originally written in 1974 and offered to King Crimson (probably in a quite different arrangement), but Fripp turned it down.
    More things I didn't know! Sid Smith's KC book is sitting on my coffee table. I guess I should make a more concerted effort to work through it.

    Quote Originally Posted by pmrviana View Post
    Sure, but that's a Greg Lake song...
    Oh, yeah. Sloppy wording. I suppose I meant there isn't much in the ELP catalogue that feels particularly Crimson-ish outside of this song, maybe some others bits and pieces on later albums. That fuzz bass on "The Barbarian," though, always makes me think of how Lake played "Schizoid" and "Court" live. Very fuzzy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    You should rectify that unfamiliarity immediately!
    There are some bits of Bruford material on The Bruford Tapes that are repurposed National Health pieces--a band that included Bruford for a while, though not on any studio albums.
    I've certainly been enjoying Bruford, particularly Gradually Going Tornado (though I suspect that's not the most popular of Bruford band albums).

    National Health's Missing Pieces is, of course, an essential Canterbury album (hell, it's just an essential album), and I've enjoyed it for many years. I've caught bits and pieces of N.H. tunes in some of the Bruford material. I'm sure sustained scrutiny will produce greater rewards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Curious if I left something out (I'll get to Exposure . . . ) or if anyone has any recommendations for moving forward.
    I always group Exposure with Peter Gabriel's second album and Daryl Hall's Sacred Songs album. Fripp is obviously integral to these albums and they feel like they fit together to me. Even "NYCNY" from Sacred Songs sounds like an early version of "NY3" from Exposure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    McDonald & Giles' "Tomorrow's People" and ELP's "Lucky Man" were both rehearsed early in KC's existence, and may even have been performed at their residency at a Newcastle club (as GG&F) in February 1969, at which point they didn't yet have all the songs that later appeared on the debut album ready. Not sure if "Take A Pebble" was already around in some form - maybe it would have been on the 2nd KC album had Lake stayed ?
    Lake wrote Lucky Man as a child (around the age of 12) and it was the first thing he ever wrote. So that song was around some time
    before KC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheH View Post
    Lake wrote Lucky Man as a child (around the age of 12) and it was the first thing he ever wrote. So that song was around some time
    before KC.
    I know, but as is also well known, he didn't offer it to ELP until they found they lacked one more track to fill out the 1st LP and Lake suggested it, which wasn't the plan initially. In King Crimson's case, it doesn't appear to have been on the table from the start, although ultimately it didn't make the setlist. Another early inclusion was "Erudite Eyes" by GG&F, likely played at early gigs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Polmico
    That's really cool! I'm guessing that if recordings of these rehearsals existed, DGM would've put them out by now.
    Not so sure. Only a few short minutes of "Lizard" (non-) tour rehearsals were released, and the tape is probably longer. I wouldn't expect Fripp to release all the rehearsal recordings he has in his archives - that's not supposed to be for public consumption unless there's something really unique happening. I would concur that, if recordings of those early numbers exist, they should be released. Maybe there's hope with the forthcoming boxed set ?
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  12. #12
    Don't overlook anything Trey Gunn has been involved in. I really like his TU stuff with Pat Mastelotto. For modern KC-related stuff, check out Julie Slick's work.

  13. #13
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    Trey Gunn Band - Live encounter gets a lot of spins in Casa Mudshark

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    Awesome live album!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    Trey Gunn Band - Live encounter gets a lot of spins in Casa Mudshark
    Yes that's a good one. I find these days I get far more mileage from KC offshoots than from the mothership. Over time I've worn my ears out on all KC proper, except maybe the TCOL lineup live. Some of those improvs are killer. Not all, but at least you know they were always putting it all out there and going for it.

    My latest KC-related listening is Roppongi by Stick Men. I bought it during the last Bandcamp sale. SM seem to have the adventurous spirit intact that I used to love about KC.

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    (You'll probably need to boost your volume)

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    My latest KC-related listening is Roppongi by Stick Men. I bought it during the last Bandcamp sale. SM seem to have the adventurous spirit intact that I used to love about KC.
    Also check out Panamerica, Midori and Unleashed -- you won't be sorry.

    In the next couple of weeks they have a new live album coming out with guest Gary Husband on keyboards, likely better known as a drummer who's worked with Holdsworth, Trower and others.

    Linking to the artwork. Not sure if it'll work...

    The description of the album from Leonardo is "The new album by Stick Men, "Owari". A 'Starless and Bible Black' for modern times, over one hour of live fury, reassembled as a studio record.

    Recorded at the Nagoya Blue Note with special guest Gary Husband during the "one show world tour" that was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic."
    Last edited by Dave (in MA); 2 Weeks Ago at 11:22 PM.

  18. #18
    Here are the next batch of albums. I'm pretty sure I left some things off. I don't have any of the Frippertronic albums nor any League of Crafty Guitarists, but it still feels like I've overlooked something.

    1980s

    Robert Fripp, Exposure: This albums has always felt like both a summary of what Fripp was working on during his post-Crimson return to music, but, at the same time, pointing toward a direction forward. I own three different versions of this album: the original EG CD and the two-disc version released by DGM (released, if memory serves, on 6 June 2006). I wound up listening to the original 1979 edition included on the DGM version. It was great to hear "Breathless" live with Crimson. Darryl Hall wound up playing his version of "NY3" on one of his house shows (without Fripp) and somewhere I have PG's live version of "Here Comes the Flood" complete with the guitar stylings of one Dusty Rhodes.

    Robert Fripp / The League of Gentlemen, God Save the King: The interplay between Fripp and Andrews presages what Fripp and Belew would be doing in Discipline. That Fripp saw this as a dance band is both laughable and wonderfully inspired. Why haven't these two albums, Fripp's God Save the King/Under Heavy Manners and the entire LoG album, been properly re-released? Seems like an oversight. Oh well. I think I'll wind up spinning the live LoG album soon, too.

    Summers / Fripp, I Advance Masked: Doesn't quite sound like what Crimson or The Police were doing in 1982, but still sounds very much like Summers and Fripp. Far superior to the follow-up which, to my surprise, I don't own. Looks like Bewitched is very much OOP, so I don't suppose I'll have the chance to rectify that any time soon.

    Adrian Belew, Lone Rhino: I'm going to cheat a lot with Belew and listen to multiple albums from him throughout this little experiment. For my money, few things Belew has done have topped this one. Some carefully crafted pop tunes and wild guitar explorations. Not much in the way of "that sounds like a Crimson tune," but a lot of Crimson-like moments. I wound up listening to Twang Bar King by accident (I've got the two-fer version of these albums) and was struck by how much that album sounds like what Belew was doing with his Flux series. It's definitely not as good as the debut, never hitting the heights of songs like "The Man in the Moon" and "Lone Rhinoceros."

    Moraz-Bruford, Live in Tokyo: There are moments where I absolutely love this band. Then there are moments where I wonder when will this song be over. The acoustic debut is probably my favorite, and I'm glad Bruford explored that sound again later in his career with Michael Bortslap. Are there Crimson-y moments? Certainly in some of Bruford's drumming, but I can't be bothered to remember the names of any of these tunes. I probably need to give these releases more attention.

    Bill Bruford's Earthworks, self-titled: I suppose maybe something like "Thud" or perhaps "Pressure" have a bit of a Crimson sound to them, but the real winner on this album for me is "Up North." The horn and sax weaving notes around Bruford's chordal drums is just something I love. I recently purchased the Earthworks box set after having really only explored the first incarnation of the band (the Bellamy/Bates band). I've been happily digging in.

    David Torn, Cloud about Mercury: I couldn't leave this off. Bruford's electronic kit never sounded better. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this CD since I purchased it twenty-five years ago. It's got a great mood to it. Very much a late night album. Does it sound like Crimson? Sort of?

    Well, that was it. On to the 90s and, boy howdy, there are some real gems coming up.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  19. #19
    Yep. Here it is:

    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post

    (You'll probably need to boost your volume)
    That's quite good. I remember when that album came out, and, for whatever reason, never picking it up. I guess I will have to fix that. Looks like it's on Bandcamp.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Also check out Panamerica, Midori and Unleashed -- you won't be sorry.

    In the next couple of weeks they have a new live album coming out with guest Gary Husband on keyboards, likely better known as a drummer who's worked with Holdsworth, Trower and others.
    Stick Men have been amazingly prolific. Somehow, though, I've only seen them live once, and that about a decade ago.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  22. #22
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    I wound up listening to Twang Bar King by accident (I've got the two-fer version of these albums) and was struck by how much that album sounds like what Belew was doing with his Flux series. It's definitely not as good as the debut, never hitting the heights of songs like "The Man in the Moon" and "Lone Rhinoceros."
    I think if I had to name one favorite Adrian song of all time it would be "The Rail Song."

    But back to the early days: since my very favorite Crimson gene is the jazzy allele as exemplified on Lizard, I would break your rule about restricting it to core Crimson members and give the nod to the late Keith Tippett and his albums featuring Marc Charig and Nick Evans such as You Are Here...I Am There and Dedicated to You but You Weren't Listening, which also link to the Soft Machine gene, not to mention the magnificent, sprawling Centipede Septober Energy album.
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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    That's quite good. I remember when that album came out, and, for whatever reason, never picking it up. I guess I will have to fix that. Looks like it's on Bandcamp.
    Ko and Ra have another project that predates KoMaRa, with a different drummer, called The Blessed Beat. They've been Stick Men opening acts a few times, so I guess that might be how Mastelotto hooked up with them.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    I think if I had to name one favorite Adrian song of all time it would be "The Rail Song."
    That and Ballet For A Blue Whale are probably my favorites.

    With regards to Belew, I also rather love his contributions to Bowie's Stage live album, particularly the 2005 redux version.

    Another couple great records that Fripp was involved in during the 80's were the two albums he did with Andy Summers. I particularly like the second one, Parade.

    As a side note, I watched a bit of the Asia In Asia concert on Youtube. That's the Asia show they did at the Budokan in Tokyo in 1983, with Lake replacing Wetton. Pretty good performanc,e I always thought. The version I watched, someone edited Time Again (which absent from the official video release) back into the concert.

    And I also have to give a metnion to Bruford/Levin Upper Extremities, which was essentially a reconvening of the band that played on David Torn's Cloud About Mercury, but with a trumpeter named Chris Botti replacing Mark Isham. They put out one studio album, and a double live. The first time I went to NYC was to see them perform at the Knitting Factory, in 98. Only time I've ever seen Torn perform live. Fantastic performance!

  25. #25
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    When the Cloud About Mercury band toured the US, Isham could not make it, so he was replaced by Michael White. Levin was actually a replacement suggested by Bruford to stand in for Mick Karn, who was the bassist Torn originally had in mind, but he was unavailable at the time. Karn was able to make the tour, though. Later on White did a Torn-produced record called Lonely Universe, co-led with drummer Michael Lambert plus Torn and Karn.

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