gwalla (gwalla) wrote,

For those who are curious about where this icon is from

It's for King Crimson, one of my favorite rock bands.

KC was one of the first progressive rock bands, debuting and releasing their first album in 1969. The band's membership has been unstable for most of its existence, with the only constant through the years being guitarist Robert Fripp. Their existence can be divided into three eras, separated by periods in which the group was disbanded and inactive: the early years (from In the Court of the Crimson King through Islands), the short-lived but highly-regarded mid-70s incarnation (from Lark's Tongues in Aspic through Red), and the "Belew era" (from 1981's Discipline onwards).

Epitaph is my favorite song from their first album, In the Court of the Crimson King, followed closely by the title track and 21st Century Schizoid Man (the other two tracks I don't really care for). This is a fan-made video. The CGI is kind of cheesy, but not bad, and of course the song is awesome.

In 1981, with King Crimson having been out of commission for about half a decade, Fripp put together a new group with drummer Bill Bruford, veteran session bassist Tony Levin, and singer/guitarist Adrian Belew (who had played with both Frank Zappa and the Talking Heads). The result combined the New Wave sound of the time with Fripp's desire to create a "rock gamelan" using structures inspired by Indonesian music, and featuring intricate twin lead arrangements. Belew and Fripp in particular have great chemistry, and ever since Belew has been the other constant member through the group's many lineup changes.

Elephant Talk isn't my favorite track from the album (that'd be either Frame By Frame or Matte Kudasai), but it's a good one and this video features a great performance.

King Crimson has managed to avoid breaking up since Discipline (knock on wood), although the membership has changed (even becoming a sextet, or "double trio", for a brief period), and their sound had changed as well, losing the New Wave feel and re-integrating some aspects of the mid-70s sound during the '90s, and moving in a more "hard rock" direction recently. The current lineup, the one featured on 2002's Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With EP and 2003's The Power To Believe, is the same as the Discipline group (Levin left for a while but returned) with Pat Mastelotto replacing Bruford on the drums.

EleKtriK is an extended instrumental that really shows off what the group is capable of, contrasting spare, quieter sections with hard-driving crescendos and changing time signatures all over the place. Despite the complexity, it's a very improvisational piece.

Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With rocks hard. It's also the most cynical song about songwriting since Blues Traveler's "The Hook".

Tags: music, videos

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