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Thursday, August 28, 2008


Roger Fripp emerged from the 70's undaunted by the swing of public taste away from Progressive Rock, indeed, he may well be the only Prog artist to emerge from the 70's at all. I do not accept what Yes and Genesis did in the eighties as Progressive Rock, but Fripp stuck to his guns, and his time signatures.

That is not to say that King Crimson did not roll with the times entirely. Another overhaul was at hand, another line up change, like so many before, but ultimately different in that this time the roster would last three albums, three remarkable albums.

The sounds changed, but the vibe did not. All of Fripp's compositions are derivative of a singular mode, some crazy scale I can't name, certain intervals and certain time signatures. That's what he does.

In the mid 70's Fripp became disillusioned, refused to tour, and King Crimson disbanded. The time off apparently did him well, and in 1981 the new King Crimson was unveiled in the form of the 'Discipline' album.

Other than Fripp, Bill Bruford (drums) was the only returning member of the old band. In rounding out the line up Fripp chose well. Indeed, those choices made all the difference.

The addition of Adrian Belew (guitar, vocals) brought King Crimson what it needed to survive, a writing partner for Fripp, and in Belew he found one who was capable of providing hooks within the strict Frippian compositional code. It's Belew's vocal melodies that provided accessibility far beyond what the band had delivered in the past, that and editing. Gone were the album side long songs. 'Discipline' features an unheard of total of 7 songs. Belew's guitar playing was a great addition as well, his arsenal of unorthodox noises contrasted nicely with Fripp's precise and intricate patterns, which he could drop in line with seamlessly as well, building mind blowing harmony parts.

To that end, Tony Levin (bass, stick) was a perfect fit. A major part of the 'new' King Crimson sound was the Chapman Stick, a fret tapping instrument that Levin would use to add a third layer of harmony to the intricate arpeggios that are a staple of the King Crimson sound.

Over the course of three albums, 'Discipline' (1981), 'Beat' (1982), and 'Three of a Perfect Pair' (1984), the four members of King Crimson would create some wonderful music, each adding his stamp, but creating a sum greater than its parts.

An incredible live show too. Belew's next band, The Bears, was like a glorious, train-wreck of "the Beatles meet Crimson". http://www.thebearsmusic.com/
I'm sorry, I stopped reading after "Robert Fripp..."

Hey, this dude Eric writes about heavy metal, but he wrote about seeing Fripp live.

Also, email me your address so I can send you this Prog Rock CD I got from Classic Rock Magazine. You won't be sorry.
King Crimson, Robert Fripp,... (yawn) I'm sorry, where were we?
Coming from an NSYNC fan and an AFI fan, well, not alot of cred there.....
I probably listen to the handfull of NSYNC tunes I have as much as you listen to the yawnfest that is King Crimson...
BTW, You've been missed here at your blog...
Clearly the NSYNC, handfull or not, has fogged your brain and you no longer have any clue about what good music is.
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