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One mans opinion of King Crimson.

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One mans opinion of King Crimson.

Postby Krimzep on Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:07 pm

Here is a page I happened upon that I felt may be of some small interest for you fellow crims.

I guess this guy has a Blog? he has written what he thinks about all of Kc's work and has rebuttals from his blog readers. I've pasted "some" of the text as its all to large to post the whole thing. click the link if you want to read more than whats visible.

http://www.markprindle.com/kingc.htm#starless


His name is Robert Fripp. Get the shit out of your ears. He may be an egotistical prick, but he's made some good music here or there. Mr. Fripp is an avante-garde guitarist who has led his main band King Crimson through a number of different types of music throughout the last three decades, from psychedelic dreampop to go-nowhere crap music to nightmarish rock to free jazz improv noodlings to tight-as-a-thistle complicated 80s guitar pop right on through to whatever the heck they're doing today, all while having no qualms replacing the entire band several times and retaining the name! Might as well, when you're Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrobert Fripp!


Reader Comments

Ah, how nice it is to see KC on this page - the prog geekiness polygon is now closer to completeness.
I'm not a huge fan of these guys, by any means. However, my brother absolutely loves them, and over the years his enthusiasm has at least somewhat rubbed off on me. A little bit.

Fripp annoys me, though. My brother treats him like a god, and it's really annoying to hear him constantly quoting Robert as if it was scripture. I mean, I respect Fripp VERY much as a guitarist (he's not exactly my favorite guitarist, but in my mind he's almost undoubtedly the best and most complete guitarist on the face of the earth), but as a person ... ehn. My brother defends his often boorish behavior, saying that he is merely the latest in a long line of British eccentrics. My opinion, though, is that he has become so obsessed with pushing the boundaries of art that he's managed to pretty much lose most of what makes us human.

But many people like that. Using my brother as an example, KC appeals mostly to those who feel that the emotional resonance of music is absolutely irrelevant, that only panty-wastes would possibly care about the emotional impact of a song.

On the other hand, taken as what it is (music for the ears), it's still quite interesting at times. I can't stand their live improvs (though my brother worships them), but the compositions are often very interesting from a technical standpoint.


I really don't think you should let your low opinion of Fripp colour your opinion of the band's musical output. I'll take your word for it that he indeed WAS a complete asshole, but this really doesn't come across while listening to them, apart from in their aimless prog improvisations and the 'revolving door' band structure (Yes were guilty of this as well you know). All the other bands you've reviewed have been reviewed on their musical worth, why can't King Crimson?

Mark!: It's a pleasure 2 argue w/ U a little. 1: KC & The Sunshine Band did a lot of really great, life-affirming stuff, e.g.: "Starless," "Fracture," "Frame By Frame," "Sleepless" (w/ that great Adrian Belew line about Cing submarines in his ceiling), "The Great Deceiver," "Epitaph," "Schizoid Man," etc. All lite, pleasant, early morning wake up music, I'm sure U'll agree.
2: If U've got a spare $60+, check out Fripp's 4-CD mid-70s live set, THE GREAT DECEIVER. The band w/ Bruford & Wetton was Good, & fans in2 their angrier, darker, heavier stuff will find the set well worth the $$$. "Fracture," "Larks 1 & 2," "Talking Drum," "Doctor Diamond" R all brilliant, &, most important, REALLY NOISY!

3: The 70s 2-record import YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO KC also has a lot of good stuff on it (tho not "Great Deceiver" or "Fracture") & at the time I bot it (about 1978) I thot it was the best $13 I'd ever spent on an album. Really opened my ears....

4: Bob Fripp IS a little stuck up, but on the GREAT DECEIVER set U'll hear his speaking voice. He's a little ... effeminate. Sounds like an Ivy League college English teacher. Very proper. Ever read any of his writing in Musician magazine? He Xpresses himself very clearly. Also, he sposedly sent a ton of letters to EG Records in the early 80s when they went bankrupt & took some of his $$$ down with them -- those letters would likely B real revealing. More samples of Fripp's writing R in DECEIVER, the FRAME BY FRAME box set & YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE....

Nice 2 C U reviewing again.

In The Court Of The Crimson King - Atlantic 1969.
Rating = 9

NOTE FROM 2007: I HAD ORIGINALLY GIVEN THIS ONE THE 10, BECAUSE IT'S SO FULLY REALIZED AND ALL OF THE SONGS HAVE MULTIPLE PARTS AND LA-DEE-DA, BUT AFTER YEARS OF LIVING A LIE, I'M FINALLY WILLING TO ADMIT THAT RED SIMPLY KICKS MY ASS MORE.

They certainly started on a high note! This one lil' debut release encompasses EVERY facet about King Crimson that was ever great -- the brain-screaming acid rock of "21st Century Schizoid Man," the gorgeous Moody Blues melancholia of "I Talk To The Wind," the mellotron driven nightmare vision of "Epitaph," the free jazz noodle dicking of "Moonchild," all coming together into a fitting finale with the brain-screamingly gorgeous visionary dicking of the title track. The production is strong and full of late 60s hippie darkness and depth (the fuzzed-vocals in "Schizoid" are a bit hard on the ears but that's the point - the song is supposed to wake you and shake you), the vocals are the best they would ever be on ANY King Crimson album (thank you Mr. Greg Lake before you ran off to start your OWN overblown art rock band!) and the instrumentation is endlessly interesting (harpsichord! flute! others!), all even within the context of what other bands could have easily turned into normal rock songs (KC made 'em special with the talented guitar noodlings of the ol' Fripp ship!).

Did you enjoy the way I used FOUR separate parenthetical phrases in that last sentence? What time's my hand job?

Unfortunately, two of the main reasons that this album ruled so much asp - classically trained multi-instrumentalist Ian MacDonald and drummer/arranger Michael Giles - couldn't deal with being away from home for months at a time so they quit after the band's first American tour. :7( So much for King Crimson ruling ass for much longer!

Reader Comments

Well, yeah, of course it's a ten. It really says something that this album manages to be so unanimously lauded even though Fripp, in all of his maniacal delusions, decided to make ten minutes of it a bunch of boring dinky keyboard noodling that doesn't go anywhere ("Moonchild"). It's because the other four tracks are genius - "Schizoid Man" is a noise-rock classic, and basically the only reason that the word "rock" is included in the term "progressive rock." "I Talk To The Wind" is probably the most beautiful song they ever made (though it's kind of hard to hear after your ears have been blown out by "Schizoid"). "Epitaph" is a smooth-playing, dramatic masterpiece. The title track is grandiose and spectacular, like so many Genesis compositions that would follow in its footsteps.
So yeah, it's a great album - but how come the songs are given multiple "parts" in the tracklisting? All of them stick to basically one melody the whole way through, and I don't hear any serious lyrical shifts in any of the songs. That's Fripp for you.


First of all, the songwriting was not the product of Fripp on this album, but rather of Ian McDonald (wizard of mellotrons and winds).
And yeah, it's a friggin' fabulous album ... but Moonchild is just so dumb. Sure, all three epics are in my top ten Crimson songs (yeah, Epitaph is my favorite KC song, what's it to you), but Moonchild just sucks beyond words.

I'd give it a solid 9, but no more.


Anybody who denies this record a 10, or at least a very high nine (I can understand that 'Moonchild' really irks people - hey, it irks ME), should simply stay away from progressive rock, as it's prog-rock epitomised. Not the first prog-rock ever made - the Nice actually beat KC to it, but arguably the genre's Sgt Pepper. As for Mike's comment: no way could the Moody Blues ever sound like that, even if they had never touched pot in all of their life. They simply didn't have the astounding chops of this band. Can you imagine Graeme Edge keeping up the tempo on 'Schizoid Man'? And if 'Schizoid Man' isn't the insane screaming evil song everybody says it is, then what IS the insane screaming evil song? Something by Slayer? The guys kicked off the song at the very top of the Sixties' recording possibilities. It's like saying that Chuck Berry's rock'n'rolls are tepid and sissy because his guitar didn't have the Ramones' chainsaw buzz sound.

The obvious candidate for the 10, and possibly the best prog album full stop (or 'period' as you Americans say). I agree with every word you've written here. I'm one of those rare weirdoes who enjoys 'Moonchild' all the way through.

Tend to agree with Rich here. My tolerance for noodly jams is really, really low. The title track, as well as "Schizoid" and "Wind" are grand. Thanks to mark for indicating that much of what follows isn't worth my time. Of course, Cut The Crap is the greatest album ever, so what does he know?

You know, In the court of the crimson king is an amazing album for the beginning alone, even if you're not a huge airy soft psych fan. It's the only one by them I own and on other releases I've not found a rock based psych sound like 21st century schizoid man. This is similar to stuff I've found by Spirit or many other psych bands of the time in this respect. If anyone out there has ideas about more rock based psych stuff along the lines of Electric Prunes or early Love, or perhaps some suggested pickups for more of the same with King Crimson, email me with suggestions.

While black sabbath was one of the first of the "eeries" to record(and by far, outstanding),lets not forget that king crimson recorded in the court of the crimson king in 1969....another eerie wonder.

Technical note. The reason there are separate song titles (songs within songs) on this record is because in those days the artists got paid royalty rates dependent on the number of "songs" per album side. The record company was "bluffed" into paying more for less. Unfortunately this set a trend for ludicrous era to follow, when bands like Yes would- oh, hell just look at some of their song titles!
a)
I may be one of the few people left alive who remember when this album came out. It was shortly after Led Zeppelins first album, which was the hippest, heaviest record I ever heard up to that point. Court made that album sound like the Archies. (Really showing my age) Simply put, Court is a masterpiece. When I first heard it my reaction was; ' Well, this changes EVERYTHING!' It still holds up -- the songs, the playing, the mood, the message. Music like this comes along every 100 years or so. And yeah, Moonchild is weak. But everyhing else is raging brilliance. If you can't see that, or hear that, you just don't get it.

It's a classic, though far more reminiscent of the Moody Blues or early Pink Floyd than of later KC. "Moonchild" is not THAT bad, but because it is so far below the level of the rest of the album (and so freaking long!), it manages to drag the overall quality down quite a bit. I'm sorry, but when almost a quarter of the album sucks, it doesn't deserve a 10. Additionally, "21st Century Schizoid Man" blew me away when I first heard it, but it's not wearing on me particularly well. I still like it, but right now "Epitaph" and the title track seem like the strongest efforts to me.
I see this as a high 8.


I found this album on vinyl at one of those old junk shops for a buck. So of course it was mauled and scratched and dusty... but what a sound! I mean... those scratches do wonders to filth up the rockers, adding cool crunch to '21st Century Schizoid Man' (referenced by Bad Religion in '21st Century Digital Boy')... and distancing the dreamier bits. This record sounds like trashing your garage then having tea in your garden, strolling into the forest and going to sleep and dreaming the answer to the question: What sort of genre cross-pollination happens through an obsession with death?

the entire album can be described in one word "masterpiece"...

Yes, congratulations, no major argument from me about your review.

"The wall on which the prophets wrote is cracking at the seams." Blech.
Parts of 21st really remind me of Facelift, but it isn't weird enough to get incredibly boring in its horn-harmonies like the Softies could. The song is pretty scary for 69 in some ways, but it may be just the distorted vocals that trick me.

At times their sounds combine for a real unqiue and identifiably Crimson sound, where you don't know what instrument the attack on the riffs is coming from. This is very nice indeed.

Giles' drums aren't very scary(or good); they sound so thin and papery, and his four standard fills are so ubiquitous they get really tiresome. The contributions of McDonald and Lake are professional, if not particularly mind-blowing, and Fripp is near his least boring with this record. At least he doesn't use a single diminshed or whole tone scale inappropriately. Yick.

Yes, Moonchild is very very very very very boring and a real blemish to the album, skip it.

Uh, maybe a 9. Maybe not, though. There's a lot not to like. The geeky prog part of me says 9, ignoring Moonchild(and who doesn't).


A high nine for this one. It's maybe the first prog-rock album. It's maybe not. I don't care. What I know is that has "21st Century Schizoid Man", my ALL-TIME favourite prog-rock song. Amazing. Amazing. AMAZING! Especially the woodwinds! "Epitaph" and "In The Court Of The Crimson King" are great epics in its own right. I also like "I Talk To The Wind", but "Moonchild" is too long and pointless. I'm sorry Mr. Fripp, but you could record a more structured jam. All in all, a classic, not only in the progressive genre, but in music. And what a freaking cover! Brilliance. Buy it now, I said NOW!

Yeah, I'd have to agree that this one's a 10. This was my favorite album until I heard "Red" by the same band. It's pretty much flawless, aside from the fact that the "searing" lead work by Fripp people rave about is absent. He just sustains notes forever and ever, thinking of which fret he should put his finger on next. In addition, Ian McDonald's double-tracked sax solo dangerously teeters toward "wankfest" territory. If you wanna hear Fripp and McDonald do some really ripping solos, check out the "Epitaph" boxset. People often complain about "Moonchild", but I have to say, it's fucking underrated. The supposed "wankfest" after the initial "song" is one of the coolest KC improvs ever, giving the band a chance to show off their chops (although it's a little redundant on an album overflowing with such displays). Sure, it may be unfocused, and it may turn into dissonant nonsense towards the end, but the breathtaking "call-response" interplay between instruments is one of those showy-offy things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside (the atmosphere alone is worth it). Fripp always talks about how much better the band was live than on the albums, but tracks like "I Talk to the Wind" and "In the Court of the Crimson King" sound much better in the studio than on the live discs put out by Fripp's DGM label, especially "Wind". Not only does it have much better (read: moodier) pacing and more restrained drumming, but also beautiful flute harmonies and gentle piano chords that are absent from the live renditions heard on Fripp's "Collector's Club" releases.
I remember the first time I listened to this all the way through. It was my sophomore year, and I had just recently discovered "prog" rock. I'd been into Italian horror film soundtrack gods Goblin since I was a wee tot (12 or 13), but I was just now getting into other prog groups (usually the really heavy ones like Atomic Rooster.) Every time I brought up prog, I'd hear the name "King Crimson", and I knew my dad had one of their CD's somewhere. I grabbed it one morning before school, and it was this day I had I.S.S. (in school suspension). See, my school was not like other schools, so you got your own little isolation room to be in whenever you were punished for being a typical teen ager. I turned out the lights, closed the door, got my CD player, put on headphones, laid down, and soaked this album up like a sponge. I absolutely loved it, although it took me awhile to get into "21st Century Schizoid Man" (I never fully appreciated it until I heard it live on the "Epitaph" boxset). I must say, I had never listened to anything so INTENSELY before. I put 100% of my being into those songs, concentrating, and picking apart every song time and again throughout that day with the same intensity.

A final note: The huge, sweeping mellotron "swoosh" right before the flute solo in "Epitaph" is probably the closest thing to a musical orgasm I've ever heard. Believe that.


For me, this finely-produced debut Lp was like a glossy, shiny brand new car. (It kind of came out on the market like that, I think.) Lots of show and good initial acceleration. But after driving it just a few times, it doesn't seem to run as good anymore. No more fun...the novelty had quickly worn off. The music on this album is DEAD, in both sound and in spirit.
I believe that the best music can be listened to for years and years, with the same amount (or more) pleasure. This album could not achieve that. I can probably get more pleasure out of resurrecting Disco 45s. The title track on this album, for example, is just the same dead tones over-and-over-and-over-and-over for what, 9 minutes or more? Perhaps the frenetic instrumental portion of "21st Century..." I could maybe enjoy one or two more times. But the rest is merely decayed gloss.
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Krimzep
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