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Thread: Would I like King Crimson?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Varick's Avatar
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    Default Would I like King Crimson?

    I know they are considered prog rock, so I will make some clarifications:

    I Love:

    - Yes
    - ELP

    I Like:

    - Moody Blues

    I'm not crazy about

    - Alan Parsons
    - Renaissance
    but I respect what they were doing.

    I do not like

    - Procol Harum
    - Radiohead (I only put them here because I saw the Radiohead thread with comparisons between the bands)

    So, knowing that taste profile, should I invest the time to delve into King Crimson? Do you think
    1. I would like them?
    and/or
    2. At least I would appreciate them?

    I'm at the point in my life where I don't like to invest time into things that don't pay off, and seeing all this high praise for King Crimson has peaked my interest. Thanks.

    V
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Possibly, perhaps probably, but no guarantees. I'm a big prog fan myself, but some of the famous groups leave me cold (like ELP). Crimson, like Tull, is for me good, but not great - I can easily come up with a dozen or more prog bands I prefer.

    Try ITCOTKC and Red first.
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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    Senior Member haydnguy's Avatar
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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    If you don't want to spend time even for one or two full albums, try with a few songs, like 21st century schizoid man (first song from their first 1969 album), or Starless from Red.
    To me they are THE prog band.

    What time is the next swan?

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    Senior Member Mollie John's Avatar
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    Listen to these and then tell us what you think -

    1.jpg

    King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1JjOpXsJ7A

    4.jpg

    King Crimson - The Battle Of Glass Tears (Dawn Song, Last Skirmish, Prince Rupert's Lament)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us4BlXcPIig

    King Crimson - Sailors Tale

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWZPJTNPXQU

    2.png

    King Crimson - Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part I

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVb2tnFN5AA

    King Crimson - Starless

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfR6_V91fG8

    5.jpg

    King Crimson - Red

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_pDwv3tpug

    King Crimson - The Night Watch

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwFYy_Th7BA

    3.png

    King Crimson - Fracture (OFFICIAL)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaD7gk7BTwU

    King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEGSY-0TQR0

    King Crimson - Asbury Park

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ3UnGQCT1E

    There are some better examples that could be offered but Robert Fripp guards his catalog quite fiercely and these are the selections that he has personally chosen to be showcased on YouTube -

    https://www.youtube.com/user/DGMLiveHQ

    Me? - I prefer Gentle Giant but to each his own, eh?

  9. #6
    Senior Member Simon Moon's Avatar
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    I am a huge KC fan, but they're not quite for every prog fan.

    They tended to be (after their first few albums) a bit more thorny 'sounding' than YES and ELP. They also tended to have extended improvisations, more so than other prog bands.

    On the same album, they could go from beauty to angular, at the drop of a hat.

    And they also had several phases, where their style (still all prog) changed.

    From their early Mellotron laced first few recordings (In The Court of the Crimson King, In the Wake of King Poseidon) , to the slightly more avant garde* (Lizard, Starless and Bible Black, Larks Tongue). Then a heavier side (Red), then after their 80's reformation, a vaguely Talking Heads vibe (although much more complex and much better musicianship). Then in the 90's to the present, they kind of went back to their 70's style, but without sounding retro.

    So, there is a lot to explore there.

    1. I would like them?
    and/or
    2. At least I would appreciate them?
    Of course it's hard to say if you'd like them. They are kind of credited with creating 'prog'.

    Would you appreciate them? Quite probably. A very high level of musicianship, creativity, beauty, angularity, complexity, makes them easy to appreciate.


    *avant garde compared to ELP and YES, and most well known prog bands. Not avant garde compared to the avant-prog bands, like: Henry Cow, Thinking Plague, Universe Zero, Aksak Maboul, Magma, etc.
    Last edited by Simon Moon; Apr-08-2019 at 17:55.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

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    Senior Member eljr's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Varick View Post
    Would I like King Crimson?
    no

    ..................
    Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age

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    Senior Member LezLee's Avatar
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    They mix so many different things - rock, jazz, classical fused together.
    I saw them about 4 years ago, they were incredible, their musicianship is breathtaking. They’re not like anyone else, just so special.
    However since then I hardly listen to their records, they don’t capture the atmosphere at all.
    Last edited by LezLee; Apr-08-2019 at 18:42.

  14. #9
    Senior Member Red Terror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Moon View Post
    I am a huge KC fan, but they're not quite for every prog fan.

    They tended to be (after their first few albums) a bit more thorny 'sounding' than YES and ELP. They also tended to have extended improvisations, more so than other prog bands.

    On the same album, they could go from beauty to angular, at the drop of a hat.

    And they also had several phases, where their style (still all prog) changed.

    From their early Mellotron laced first few recordings (In The Court of the Crimson King, In the Wake of King Poseidon) , to the slightly more avant garde* (Lizard, Starless and Bible Black, Larks Tongue). Then a heavier side (Red), then after their 80's reformation, a vaguely Talking Heads vibe (although much more complex and much better musicianship). Then in the 90's to the present, they kind of went back to their 70's style, but without sounding retro.

    So, there is a lot to explore there.



    Of course it's hard to say if you'd like them. They are kind of credited with creating 'prog'.

    Would you appreciate them? Quite probably. A very high level of musicianship, creativity, beauty, angularity, complexity, makes them easy to appreciate.


    *avant garde compared to ELP and YES, and most well known prog bands. Not avant garde compared to the avant-prog bands, like: Henry Cow, Thinking Plague, Universe Zero, Aksak Maboul, Magma, etc.
    Is Magma considered avant-garde? I find their music to be excessively repetitive and thus nowhere near as interesting as KC’s. In rock music the avant-garde label is often used as a mere gimmick.
    Last edited by Red Terror; Apr-08-2019 at 18:59.

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    Senior Member Simon Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Terror View Post
    Is Magma considered avant-garde? I find their music to be excessively repetitive and thus nowhere near as interesting as KC’s. In rock music the avant-garde label is often used as a mere gimmick.
    Yeah, you are probably correct. They are not avant garde.

    I guess an argument can be made that avant-prog bands may not be truly avant garde, but there is no question that they fit the following description from Progarchves.com:

    Avant-prog is generally considered to be more extreme and 'difficult' than other forms of progressive rock, though these terms are naturally subjective and open to interpretation. Common elements that may or may not be displayed by specific avant-prog artists include:

    - Regular use of dissonance and atonality.
    - Extremely complex and unpredictable song arrangements.
    - Free or experimental improvisation.
    - Fusion of disparate musical genres.
    - Polyrhythms and highly complex time signatures.


    King Crimson sometimes strays into this territory, but not to the extreme extent as other bands considered in this subgenre.
    Last edited by Simon Moon; Apr-08-2019 at 19:37.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Try the first three albums. The first two feature Greg Lake, and Lizard features a vocal by John Anderson.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

    - Marcia Bjornerud, Geologist

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  19. #12
    Senior Member Varick's Avatar
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    I have a friend who is going to give me a bunch of their stuff. Thank you for all the input. I will get back and let you know what I think. Thanks again.

    V
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

  20. #13
    Senior Member Varick's Avatar
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    Listening to Starless right now. Interesting. The first half of the song the guitar sounds like Santana.

    V
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

  21. #14
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    I like the 80s stuff but I don't have a comprehensive view of their discography or shifting lineups. Most prog rock hasn't aged well for me except some Tull and Floyd. The KC Absent Lovers live set has most of what I want and sounds better than the studio albums. Can't say that about many live sets.

    The 'Talking Heads' vibe mentioned was the influence of African pop music that spread all the way to Graceland. KC and TH made the most of this phase, a la Fela Kuti, and it still sounds pretty good.
    Last edited by philoctetes; Apr-10-2019 at 18:20.

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    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    They're one of my favorite bands, but I think Simon Moon had the best response in this thread. King Crimson were a very original mix of hard rock, psychedelia, classical, and jazz, and as the years have gone on they've incorporated more and more diverse influences, from new wave/post-punk in the 80s to Tool/prog metal in the 90s and since then. It's entirely likely you'd like SOME King Crimson and not others if you're a picky listener. Me, I like their kind of off-the-wall creativity wherever I find it. In the Court of the Crimson King is an all-time top 5 album for me, but I also love Larks' Tongues..., Red, Discipline, and THRAK. They have tracks that are breathtakingly beautiful (Islands, Mattei Kudesai), some that are experimental and heavy (Larks' Tongues... part 1, Fracture), some that are more poppy (Heartbeat), some that are just really weird (Indiscipline), some humorous ones (Cat Food, Elephant Talk), some that resemble the jazz-fusion of time (most of the Lizard album).

    Here's one of my favorite KC tracks that I never see anyone mention. It's one of their most beautiful:


    And here is KC at their most experimental and heaviest:

    ^ That's one I love to crank because when that guitar riff hits it will kick the walls down. Stuff like this makes other prog bands sound like pansies by comparison.

    FWIW, the best comparison for me with King Crimson isn't other 70s prog rock, but with Miles Davis's electric period. KC doesn't jam/improv quite as much as Miles did (at least, not in the studio) and they write more traditional songs, but there's a similar spirit of throw-everything-at-the-wall experimentation that was far beyond anything other rock bands of the era were doing.

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