A 16 disc limited edition box set featuring studio and live recordings - many previously unreleased - from King Crimson's mid-1990s double trio line-up…
Another one of those mega King Crimson box sets is due in November. Sailors’ Tales brings together the ‘complete’ 1970-72 King Crimson across 27 discs. This set includes 21 CDs, four blu-ray discs and a pair of audio-only DVDs.
King Crimson evolves, changes, morphs as relentlessly as the Soundscapes which open each concert. Since the 2016 tour of Europe, the band has become a double quartet line-up with Bill Rieflin’s return from sabbatical as keyboard player & Jeremy Stacey’s confirmation as a permanent member/third drummer. This allows for the inclusion of an ever more complex & compelling array of material, far more than can be contained in a single concert. With options for up to three keyboard players in the current line-up – Fripp & Stacey both have setups alongside their respective guitar/drum rigs - the majority of Lizard is performed live for the first time ever, likewise Fallen Angel from Red is making its first ever concert appearance/live recording, Cirkus envelops the listener in sound, the beautiful title track from Islands closes the first set, while staples from the 1980s line-up Indiscipline and Neurotica appear in very different arrangements.
This three-disc set gathers two King Crimson D.G.M. Collectors' Club releases: Live at Cap D'Agde, 1982 and On Broadway: Live in NYC, 1995, respectively. Oddly, the contents within this boxed set are reversed, with the latter title featured on disc one and two and the former on disc three. On Broadway: Live in NYC, 1995 contains a composite of five shows from the double-trio version of King Crimson at the off-Broadway Longacre Theater in New York City. Enthusiasts will find a whole lot to like about this two-hour-plus performance compilation, thanks in part to the flawless sound quality, which devours the endless stream of bootlegs that quickly flooded the underground market shortly after these shows were played…
Prior to this concert, it had been seven months since the Double Trio had last assembled before an audience in Argentina. The first gig of any tour is always a slightly fraught affair; anything that can go wrong probably will. Gear will futz, fingers and feet will lie to their owners and the sound could well be unsound as the entire crew get to grips with the task of presenting nearly two hours of challenging music. Understandably perhaps then, this version of Discipline is not an assertive statement but more a gentle easing in, marking out their territory. A slow burning version of Vrooom sounds more confident, especially on the remorseless spiraling coda, though like Frame By Frame which follows, is not without the occasional wobble.
There are some nights when the energy flows within Crimso and this gig is certainly one of those. Vrooom though to Dinosaur seem to be possessed of a glowering intensity that one wonders how they will be able to sustain such power. The answer is to dial things down a little with the inclusion of an elegant rendition of One Time. B’Boom and Thrak reconnect Crim to some tumultuous forces including Adrian’s patented power-drill noise generator, Levin’s prowling bass and a brief but nonetheless laser-guided solo from Trey Gunn of the kind he would throw about during ProjeKct 2. Within the space of only a few minutes all kinds of musical landscapes are created and regenerated amidst the ever-changing turbulence.
They really enjoyed this one!If you listen carefully at the end of a particularly convincing rendition of LTIA Pt.II you can hear the excitement (or perhaps relief?) of the band at the end of the gig as they congratulate each other and decide to do yet another encore! Thanks to the vagaries of this soundboard mix we get a close-up view of Fripp’s fingerwork on the ever-so-slightly incomplete opener, Discipline. It’s a claustrophobic mix that initially largely excludes the bass and drums (quite a feat when you think about it) but thankfully widens out as the set progresses.