Wednesday, December 10, 2008
King Crimson - Red (1974)
Is this another King Crimson masterpiece?! You bet your motherfucking sack it is mah boi!
This is a true masterpiece and one of King Crimson's best. Without a doubt, "Starless" might be one of my favorite songs ever. Here's some great info on this masterpiece.
(Review from progreviews.com, vintageprog.com, wikipedia)
With David Cross' exit from the band, King Crimson forged ahead as a trio, and produced this, the last album Crimson would make in the 70s. Red is often cited as the strongest of the three Larks'-era albums, and sometimes of King Crimson's entire discography. Generally, here the band is consistently heavier in force and tighter in focus than ever before, with the departure of any remaining possibility for the violin line of abandon from Cross.
The first side is a juggernaut of solid musicianship and probably represents the most accessible and distilled album side for this era of the band. The title-track opens the album, and is as typical for this version of Crimson as it can get, consisting of a simple but yet powerful and heavy riff that carries the track all the way through. "Fallen Angel" is a strong vocal-track with the mellotron mixed very far back in the sound on the verse, while the chorus is a far heavier and more electric thing. "One More Red Nightmare" is another prime example of how Fripp could use a very simple riff to create a really powerful and enjoyable progressive rock track.
The masterpiece of Red, however, is doubtlessly the album's closer "Starless". It's hard to find a more emotional, down-to-earth moment in Crimson's repertoire than Wetton's weary voice clutching for a ray of hope as it enters past the melancholic, mellotron-drenched opening: "Sundown, dazzling day..." The thunderous climax (in 13/8) and sweepingly powerful ending of the song closes the chapter on 70s Crimson like an unstoppable (and unforgettable) deluge.
Robert Fripp, increasingly disillusioned with the music business, was turning his attention to the writings of the mystic George Gurdjieff, and did not want to tour as he felt that the "world was coming to an end". The Red line-up never toured, and two months before the album's release Fripp announced that King Crimson had "ceased to exist" and was "completely over for ever and ever" and the group officially disbanded on late September 1974.