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KING CRIMSON

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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King Crimson biography
Formed in London in 1968 - Several hiatus & reformations (1981,1994,2007 & 2013) - Still active as of 2017


" When you want to hear where music is going in the future, you put on a King Crimson album."
- Bill Bruford, 1995


For all its break-ups, periods of non-existence and fluctuating methodology, King Crimson remains one of the interminably compelling bands playing within the domain of rock music to this day. Widely acknowledged as being the harbingers of the art-rock genre with their monumental 1969 album "In The Court Of The Crimson King", they paved the way for innovative art-rock/progressive rock bands such as Yes, ELP etc etc. in the early '70s as well as providing a stimulus for more recent neo-progressive bands like Tool and The Mars Volta through their post-progressive work in the early '80s and '90s. More of a frame of mind than a style, the music of King Crimson has constantly sought out sustenance through amalgamations of existing forms of music, veering away from any contemporary mould, nullifying any notions that it is necessary to adhere to proven formulas in order to create commercially feasible music.

From its formative years in Bournemouth, England in the late '60s, King Crimson's unwavering guiding light has constantly emanated from the abstruse intellect of guitarist Robert FRIPP. Although he maintains that he is not the band's leader per se, he attributes the band's enduring viability to the collective brilliance of its individual members even though it seems to disband and reform at the wave of his magic wand. Fripp began playing guitar at the age of eleven with 'Trad. Jazz' perfomer Acker Bilk providing him with early inspiration. By the age of 18, he was playing with a hotel band in his hometown of Bournemouth performing at bar-mitzvahs and weddings while developing his distinctive guitar style which incorporated many classical techniques. While other early influences included such diverse sources as Bartok, Debussy and Django Reinhardt, he was particularly drawn to the 1967 Beatles song "A Day In The Life" which, he claimed, affected him in similar ways as classical composers and it was around this time his designs for King Crimson began to take form. In early '67, after playing with other local pop outfits, he joined two brothers...
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KING CRIMSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KING CRIMSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.63 | 4271 ratings
In the Court of the Crimson King
1969
3.83 | 2128 ratings
In the Wake of Poseidon
1970
4.13 | 2190 ratings
Lizard
1970
3.83 | 1896 ratings
Islands
1971
4.41 | 2927 ratings
Larks' Tongues in Aspic
1973
3.93 | 1851 ratings
Starless and Bible Black
1974
4.55 | 3394 ratings
Red
1974
4.12 | 1957 ratings
Discipline
1981
3.07 | 1196 ratings
Beat
1982
3.28 | 1174 ratings
Three of a Perfect Pair
1984
3.67 | 1103 ratings
THRAK
1995
3.06 | 265 ratings
ProjeKct Two: Space Groove
1998
3.14 | 807 ratings
The ConstruKction of Light
2000
3.36 | 230 ratings
ProjeKct X: Heaven and Earth
2000
3.96 | 1212 ratings
The Power To Believe
2003
3.59 | 550 ratings
Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles
2011

KING CRIMSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.47 | 410 ratings
Earthbound
1972
4.04 | 506 ratings
USA
1975
2.86 | 33 ratings
Strange Tales of the Sailors
1991
4.56 | 382 ratings
The Great Deceiver: Live 1973 - 1974
1992
3.70 | 175 ratings
B'Boom (Official Bootleg - Live in Argentina)
1995
2.75 | 212 ratings
THRaKaTTaK
1996
3.79 | 190 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes One & Two
1997
4.45 | 303 ratings
The Night Watch
1997
3.75 | 145 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes Three & Four
1997
4.45 | 312 ratings
Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal, 1984
1998
3.77 | 39 ratings
Live At The Jazz Caf?(ProjeKct One)
1998
3.81 | 43 ratings
Masque (ProjeKct Three)
1999
3.49 | 35 ratings
Live Groove (Projekct Two)
1999
3.30 | 23 ratings
West Coast Live (ProjeKct Four)
1999
3.66 | 128 ratings
Heavy ConstruKction
2000
4.04 | 128 ratings
VROOOM VROOOM
2001
3.74 | 107 ratings
Level Five
2001
4.01 | 154 ratings
Ladies of the Road
2002
3.76 | 87 ratings
EleKtriK
2003
4.59 | 104 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 1 (Live in Mainz, 1974 + Live in Asbury Park, 1974)
2006
4.50 | 2 ratings
ProjeKct Four - Live at 7th Note
2006
2.90 | 44 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 2 (Live in Bath, 1981 + Live in Philadelphia, 1982)
2007
3.83 | 44 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 3 (Live at the Sheperds Bush Empire,London,1996)
2008
3.52 | 41 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 4 (Live in Warsaw,2000)
2009
3.87 | 38 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 5 (Live in Japan,1995)
2010
2.33 | 11 ratings
The Crimson Projekct - Offical Bootleg Live 2012
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson ProjeKct - Official Bootleg Vol.1
2013
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson ProjeKct - Official Bootleg Vol.2
2013
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Crimson ProjeKct - Official Bootleg Vol.3
2013
3.53 | 41 ratings
Live In Japan (The Crimson Projekct)
2014
3.03 | 107 ratings
Live At The Orpheum
2015
4.67 | 109 ratings
Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind
2016
4.49 | 45 ratings
Live in Vienna + Live in Tokyo 2015
2017
4.73 | 58 ratings
Live In Chicago
2017
4.41 | 37 ratings
Meltdown: Live in Mexico
2018
4.50 | 8 ratings
Uncertain Times
2018

KING CRIMSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.06 | 44 ratings
The Noise - Frejus 1982
1984
4.58 | 26 ratings
Three of a Perfect Pair - Live in Japan
1984
3.31 | 52 ratings
Live in Japan
1996
4.45 | 150 ratings
Deja VROOOM
1999
3.78 | 141 ratings
Eyes Wide Open
2003
3.93 | 80 ratings
Neal and Jack and Me
2004
3.92 | 18 ratings
Inside King Crimson 1972-1975 An Independent Critical Review With David Cross
2005
4.31 | 49 ratings
Live In Argentina 1994
2012
4.64 | 114 ratings
Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind
2016

KING CRIMSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 110 ratings
The Young Persons Guide To King Crimson
1976
2.22 | 71 ratings
The Compact King Crimson
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
1989
1989
3.66 | 58 ratings
The Essential King Crimson: Frame by Frame
1991
3.20 | 48 ratings
Sleepless: The Concise King Crimson
1993
3.00 | 1 ratings
The First Three
1993
3.03 | 29 ratings
Schizoid Man
1996
3.35 | 46 ratings
Deception of the Thrush: A Beginners Guide to ProjeKcts
1999
3.84 | 94 ratings
Cirkus - The Young Persons' Guide To King Crimson Live
1999
3.58 | 80 ratings
The ProjeKcts
1999
4.57 | 51 ratings
21st Century Guide: Volume One (1969-1974)
2004
3.54 | 41 ratings
The 21st Century Guide To King Crimson Volume Two: 1981-2003 (4CD Box Set)
2005
3.98 | 29 ratings
The Condensed 21st Century Guide 1969 - 2003
2006
3.44 | 18 ratings
King Crimson - 40th Anniversary Tour Box
2008
4.79 | 119 ratings
In the Court of the Crimson King, 40th Anniversary Edition (5CD's + DVD)
2009
3.82 | 57 ratings
Lark's Tongue In Aspic (the complete recordings)
2012
4.03 | 59 ratings
The Road to Red
2013
3.87 | 41 ratings
The Elements (2014 Tour Box)
2014
4.54 | 34 ratings
Starless
2014
3.35 | 16 ratings
THRAK BOX
2015
3.81 | 16 ratings
The Elements (2015 Tour Box)
2015
3.70 | 10 ratings
The Elements (2016 Tour Box)
2016
3.18 | 12 ratings
On (And Off) The Road (1981-1984)
2016
3.73 | 17 ratings
Sailors' Tales
2017
3.71 | 7 ratings
The Elements (2017 Tour Box)
2017
4.92 | 13 ratings
Audio Diary 2014-2017
2018
3.20 | 5 ratings
The Elements (2018 Tour Box)
2018
4.87 | 6 ratings
1969-1972
2018
4.67 | 6 ratings
1972 - 1974
2019
4.29 | 7 ratings
A Mojo Anthology (Rare, Classic, Unusual and Live 1969-2019)
2019
2.62 | 10 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2019
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Elements (2019 Tour Box)
2019
4.91 | 4 ratings
The ReconstruKction of Light (2LP version)
2019
3.00 | 1 ratings
Mister Stormy's Monday Selection, Vol. 4
2020
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Elements (2020 Tour Box)
2020
4.17 | 5 ratings
The Complete 1969 Recordings
2020
3.00 | 1 ratings
Mister Stormy's Monday Selection Vol. 5
2020

KING CRIMSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.43 | 68 ratings
The Court Of The Crimson King
1969
3.42 | 57 ratings
Cat Food
1970
4.00 | 31 ratings
The Night Watch
1974
3.77 | 51 ratings
Epitaph
1976
3.91 | 24 ratings
Discipline 12'' Sampler
1981
3.24 | 25 ratings
Matte Kudasai
1981
3.57 | 7 ratings
Elephant Talk
1981
3.58 | 12 ratings
Thela Hun Ginjeet
1981
3.40 | 32 ratings
Heartbeat
1982
3.20 | 22 ratings
Sleepless
1984
3.83 | 6 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair
1984
2.20 | 21 ratings
The Abbreviated King Crimson: Heartbeat
1991
3.63 | 146 ratings
Vrooom
1994
3.25 | 7 ratings
Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream
1995
3.92 | 25 ratings
Dinosaur
1995
3.00 | 2 ratings
AAA Sampler
1995
4.00 | 2 ratings
THRAK (4 Track Sampler)
1995
3.23 | 27 ratings
Live at Jacksonville 1972
1998
3.39 | 28 ratings
Live at The Marquee 1969
1998
3.29 | 12 ratings
King Crimson - A Beginners' Guide To The King Crimson Collectors' Club
1999
3.90 | 31 ratings
The Beat Club, Bremen, 1972
1999
3.40 | 20 ratings
Live in San Francisco - The Roar of P4 (ProjeKct Four)
1999
4.43 | 29 ratings
On Broadway - Live in NYC 1995
1999
4.00 | 29 ratings
Live at Cap D'Agde 1982
1999
3.36 | 28 ratings
Live in Central Park, NYC, 1974
2000
2.72 | 20 ratings
Nashville Rehearsals, 1997
2000
2.40 | 21 ratings
Live at Moles Club, Bath, 1981
2000
4.14 | 35 ratings
Live at Summit Studios 1972
2000
3.19 | 27 ratings
The VROOOM Sessions 1994
2000
3.88 | 26 ratings
Live in Detroit, MI
2001
3.55 | 33 ratings
Live At Plymouth, May 1971
2001
4.09 | 33 ratings
Live in Mainz, Gemany 1974
2001
3.18 | 18 ratings
Live in Northampton, MA (ProjeKct Two)
2001
4.18 | 8 ratings
The Guide to Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Parts 1-4)
2001
3.44 | 28 ratings
Live at The Zoom Club
2002
3.41 | 96 ratings
Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With
2002
3.50 | 19 ratings
The Champaign-Urbana Sessions, 1983
2002
3.72 | 31 ratings
Hyde Park, London, 1969
2002
4.11 | 19 ratings
Live in Nashville, TN, 2001
2002
3.54 | 22 ratings
Live in Berkeley, CA 1982
2002
3.33 | 20 ratings
King Crimson - CC - ProjeKct One - Jazz Cafe Suite, December 1 - 4, 1997
2003
3.87 | 28 ratings
Live in Guildford, 1972
2003
3.36 | 19 ratings
Live in Orlando, FL, 1972
2003
2.88 | 17 ratings
The Power To Believe Tour Box
2003
3.06 | 20 ratings
Live at Fillmore East, November 21 & 22, 1969
2003
4.08 | 16 ratings
King Crimson - CC - ProjeKct Three Live in Austin, TX , March 25, 1999
2004
4.05 | 21 ratings
Live in Philadelphia, PA , July 30, 1982
2004
2.88 | 16 ratings
Live in Brighton, October 16, 1971
2005
4.10 | 22 ratings
Live in Heidelberg, 1974
2005
3.74 | 21 ratings
Live in Warsaw, June 11, 2000
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Two - Live at I.C. Light Music Tent 1998
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKt One - London Jazz Caf?/strong>
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Four - Live at Fox Theatre
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
ProjeKct Three - Live at Cactus Cafe
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
ProjeKct Six ‎- East Coast Live
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Four - Live at Crystal Ballroom 1998
2006
3.35 | 8 ratings
ProjeKct Six - East Coast Live
2006
3.90 | 10 ratings
Projekct Two - CC- Live in Chicago, IL
2006
4.27 | 15 ratings
Live at the Wiltern 1st July 1995
2006
4.23 | 13 ratings
Live in Munich
2006
2.74 | 16 ratings
Live in Denver, CO, March 13, 1972
2007
4.00 | 9 ratings
Projekct Three - CC - Live in Alexandria, VA, March 3, 2003
2007
3.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Two - Old Lantern, Charlotte 1998
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct One - London Jazz Caf?/strong>
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct One - London Jazz Caf?/strong>
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct One - London Jazz Caf?/strong>
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Three - Live at Poor David's
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Four - Live at Richard's On Richards
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Two - Park West, Chicago
2008
4.25 | 16 ratings
Live in Kassel, April 1, 1974
2008
4.21 | 14 ratings
Live at the Pier, NYC - August 2 , 1982
2008
4.17 | 12 ratings
Live in Philadelphia, PA, August 26, 1996
2008
4.13 | 14 ratings
Park West, Chicago, Illinois (August 7, 2008)
2008
3.77 | 13 ratings
Live in Boston, MA, March 27, 1972
2009
4.18 | 19 ratings
Live in Zurich, November 15, 1973
2009
4.13 | 15 ratings
Live In Milan June 20, 2003
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Three - Live at Electric Lounge
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Chicago (November 29, 1995)
2010
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live at Jazz Club 1969
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKt Two - Irving Plaza
2010
4.19 | 16 ratings
Live in Toronto, June 24, 1974
2011
4.00 | 5 ratings
Live in New Haven (November 16, 2003)
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson ProjeKct (Premium Bass)
2014
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson Projekct ‎(Official Bootleg Live - Extended Edition)
2014
3.95 | 3 ratings
Plumpton Festival
2015
4.05 | 3 ratings
Live at the Marquee (August 10, 1971)
2015
3.67 | 6 ratings
Recorded Live On The 2014 US Tour
2015
4.56 | 69 ratings
Live In Toronto
2016
3.86 | 9 ratings
Rehearsals & Blows (May-November 1983)
2016
3.41 | 26 ratings
Heroes
2017
3.93 | 6 ratings
Cadence and Cascade
2019
3.75 | 4 ratings
The Mincer / Law of Maximum Distress
2019
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Terrifying Tale of Thela Hun Ginjeet
2019
3.71 | 7 ratings
21st Century Schizoid Man
2019
3.75 | 4 ratings
Live in Newcastle (December 8, 1972)
2019
4.00 | 4 ratings
Inner Garden
2019
3.50 | 4 ratings
Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 1
2019
3.75 | 4 ratings
Ladies of the Road
2019
3.50 | 4 ratings
Space Groove II
2019
3.25 | 4 ratings
Eyes Wide Open
2019
4.00 | 5 ratings
Prince Rupert Awakes
2019
4.00 | 3 ratings
Requiem (Extended Version)
2019
3.75 | 4 ratings
Starless/Red (Edit)
2019
2.33 | 3 ratings
Yoli Yoli
2019
4.33 | 3 ratings
Frakctured
2019
4.33 | 3 ratings
Cat Food (EP) (50th Anniversary Edition)
2020

KING CRIMSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Complete 1969 Recordings by KING CRIMSON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
4.17 | 5 ratings

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The Complete 1969 Recordings
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is for those that particularly love the original King Crimson lineup and the debut studio album they produced, and want to have all the versions of that (including the 2019 edition freshly cleaned up from rediscovered first-generation tapes), plus a plethora of live material. The main thing stopping this being a five-star release is that the live material can tend to be a bit samey - this was an early incarnation of the group and their repertoire just wasn't that broad.

When it comes to sound quality, the BBC Sessions disc includes some of the best-sounding and worst-sounding material in the entire set. On the clearer side of things, there's crystal-clear live-in-the-studio runthroughs of 21st Century Schizoid Man, Epitaph, and In the Court of the Crimson King from a May 1969 session; an August session yields somewhat murkier-sounding versions of I Talk To the Wind and Get Thy Bearings (a Donovan cover they were playing live at the time), provided via a less-than-pristine source. Appended as a bonus here is Trees - the sole recording of this rare early track which would later be taken apart and thoroughly cannibalised - which is very evidently not from an official soundboard source, but lacking any other recording of this track it is presented out of archival interest. (Some sections are very evidently bits of Pictures of a City).

Most of the live releases in here are somewhat towards the middle of these extremes - generally sounding quite good for 1969 live tapes, but with some unavoidable issues here and there. If you already have a lot of the official live releases from the 1969 group, there may not be that much extra here for you to discover - but if you want an absolute ton of live 1969 stuff, this is the definitive set.

 Live at Fillmore East, November 21 & 22, 1969 by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.06 | 20 ratings

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Live at Fillmore East, November 21 & 22, 1969
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A reasonable-quality live recording from the 1969 version of King Crimson, this presents two essentially identical live sets from their stint at the Fillmore East, during the US tour which would see the demise of this version of the band. The most interesting item here is probably A Man, A City, which would later become Pictures of a City for the In the Wake of Poseidon album. The sound quality is decent - in line with other albums recorded at the Fillmore during this time period - but the fact that this is a brief set played through twice means that you'll probably end up only listening to half of this lot at any particular time. Three and a half stars.
 Live at Jazz Club 1969 by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Live at Jazz Club 1969
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This 2CD set (recently reissued with some further tidying-up on the Complete 1969 boxed set) is the longest live album we have from the original King Crimson lineup. Hailing as it does from a jazz club in Chesterfield, the band clearly felt that the audience would be particularly open to some improvisation, and don't disappoint, delivering among other things a truly epic treatment of Get Thy Bearings.

In terms of sound quality, this is substantially better than the more well-known Hyde Park or Marquee Club live recordings - it's not quite on a level where I feel able to give the set five stars, but close enough that I'll give it four and a half. If you only want one 1969 live recording from the band, this is a strong contender for that, since it includes more or less all the material they were doing live at the time and extensive demonstration of their improvisational powers - plus it's interesting to hear them play up the jazz side of their sound.

 The Compact King Crimson by KING CRIMSON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
2.22 | 71 ratings

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The Compact King Crimson
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Review N?386

"The Compact King Crimson" is a compilation of King Crimson and was released in 1986. This is a compilation album that comprises only tracks from four of the studio albums of King Crimson, "In The Court Of The Crimson King", "Discipline", "Beat" and "Three Of A Perfect Pair". It means that only covers their debut studio album and their eighth, ninth and tenth studio albums. So, the six studio albums released, in between, aren't represented on this compilation.

"The Compact King Crimson" has twelve tracks. The first track "Discipline" is from "Discipline". It uses the skills of all group members to create a successful whole. I like the way how Fripp and Belew's guitars weave through each other, creating order out of controlled chaos. It proves the profound chemistry between two of the most thought provoking guitarists. The second track "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is from "Discipline". It's a rather curious and strange song. It's perhaps, the most erratic song on that album but doesn't disappoint. It's funky, spaced out and weirdly fun, but it still has a strict King Crimson's very own personality, and a truly notable bass line and an incredible drum work. The third track "Matte Kudasai" is from "Discipline". It's a very beautiful and nostalgic song. The instrumental backing contains itself a great mood to the song. This track also features the best vocals on that album and proves that Belew is a fine singer. The fourth track "Three Of A Perfect Pair" is from "Three Of A Perfect Pair". It has tight harmony vocals from Belew that soar over top of some intricate guitar work from Fripp and a great drum work of Bruford. This is a very solid track. The fifth track "Frame By Frame" is from "Discipline". It represents another great musical moment. It's a more subtle work with some amazing band's instrumental passages and some tasteful guitar duets. Fripp's own performance of an extremely fast and repetitious guitar work, is simply amazing, and Bruford's drum work which ranks among the best of his career. The sixth track "Sleepless" is from "Three Of A Perfect Pair". It begins with a fast bass line that is soon joined by Bruford's bass drum beat and Fripp's altered guitar sound. It sounds very nice. However, this is probably my least favourite song on that album. The seventh track "Heartbeat" is from "Beat". It has beautiful guitar tones, a good bass line and nice lyrics and vocals. This is undeniably a cheesy and pop song. But, this is still a great song. Probably, you may actually hear it on the radio from time to time, which is a real rarity with King Crimson. The eighth track "Elephant Talk" is from "Discipline". The four players twisted and turn their way through an unbelievably complicated and yet somehow almost danceable. Fripp and Belew guitar works are excellent making a very powerful force, showing a great chemistry between both. The ninth track "21st Century Schizoid Man" including "Mirrors" is from "In The Court Of Crimson King". It's the heaviest song on that album and it's close to the hard rock style. It's a short metaphoric poem that makes references to the Vietnam War. It's a great musical improvisation with jazz influences. It's accompanied by Lake's notable distorted vocals. It must have been quite a shock for the listeners in those days. It's different from what they had heard before. It became important and influential to the future progressive metal style. The tenth track "I Talk To The Wind" is from "In The Court Of The Crimson King". It's the most melodic song on that album. It's a serene, simple and peaceful song commanded by McDonald's flute, very well accompanied by Sinfield's lyrics and sung beautifully by Lake, in a very quiet mood. The eleventh track "Epitaph" including "March For No Reason" and "Tomorrow And Tomorrow" is from "In The Court Of The Crimson King". It's a notable and beautiful track, which would become one of the best and most beautiful symbols of progressive music. It's one of my favourite progressive songs too. The twelfth track "In The Court Of The Crimson King" including "The Return Of The Fire Witch" and "The Dance Of The Puppets" is from "In The Court Of The Crimson King". It became, with "Epitaph", as one of the best and most beautiful symbols of the progressive rock music. It represents a hymn to the symphonic progressive rock music, really.

Compilation: This is a very strange compilation of King Crimson indeed. The first half of it is from the 80's period, which means that those tracks belong only to three albums, "Discipline", "Beat" and "Three Of A Perfect Pair". The second half is entirely filled by tracks from "In The Court Of The Crimson King". So, it seems to me a very weird mix and vey incomplete too. The excellence of the four tracks of "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is absolutely fair and made the purchase entirely worthwhile. But, it seems to me very difficult to understand the absence of tracks of their albums released during the 70's, which are all great or even excellent. About the three albums of the 80's, in my humble opinion, they're very different in terms of quality. If "Discipline" is a masterpiece, one of the best prog albums made in the 80's and if "Three Of A Perfect Pair" is very good, "Beat" is definetely a less good album, indeed. By the other hand, the inclusion of so different tracks from so different eras of King Crimson is very weird and the final result is a very questionable mix. So, I'm going to rate this compilation with only 2 stars. It's a compilation for collectors and fans only.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Plumpton Festival by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Plumpton Festival
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Straight Outta Plumpton! Plumpton Comes Alive! Heh, whatever you call it (the official King Crimson release of this is called Plumpton Festival, or Live At Plumpton in the Complete 1969 box set), "Plumpton" is a fun name to say. You know what's even more fun? The 1969 lineup of King Crimson tearing it up! Though it also has some audio issues, the official release of this (a cut-down selection of tracks from this gig were put out as a 1992 bootleg) actually sounds somewhat better than the Marquee or Hyde Park sets from this year, and finds the band in fine form.

At this stage, the band were right in the middle of producing In the Court of the Crimson King, and it is clear that already some musical evolution has taken place from that wild Hyde Park appearance. Though they're still covering Donovan (and would continue to do so right into the Lizard era), it feels like they've already realised that their more advanced progressive rock sound is the most interesting part of their repertoire and are dialling back the psychedelic wooliness a bit, and the album tracks sound much as they ended up sounding on the album, albeit with the sort of variation you would expect in the improvisation sections or arising from the limitations of the audio.

 Live at The Marquee 1969  by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
3.39 | 28 ratings

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Live at The Marquee 1969
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Much as a generation of neo-prog acts would do over a decade later, King Crimson honed their version of prog in part through a well-received series of appearances at the Marquee. Recorded the day after the band's historic supporting performance at the Rolling Stones' Hyde Park concert, this archival release finds them more able to stretch out and improvise than they were in Hyde Park, because when you're a new band who've been given a golden spot by the Stones you don't repay that favour by making them late for their set.

The recording quality is shaky - somewhat shakier than the Hyde Park recording, and since the Marquee was an indoor venue with its own in-house sound system rather than an outdoor festival I feel less generous about the recording quality here than I am about the Hyde Park stuff, but at the same time the additional improvisation and some intriguing sonic bits - like Drop In, an old Giles, Giles and Fripp number given a heavier spin here and which is recognisably an early version of what would later, with new Peter SInfield lyrics, become The Letters from Islands. It's a testament to the creativity of this version of the band that bits of music from this era would still be drawn on to fill out the running time four albums into their career.

Three and a half stars, round up to four stars if you are a big fan of the 1969 lineup of the band. If you have deep pockets and want the sound quality to be as good as it can be, this is in the Complete 1969 box set and has been given as much care and repair as can be expected. (Trees, a bonus track from a Fairfield Halls concert appended to previous releases on this, is relocated to the BBC Sessions disc on that set.)

 Hyde Park, London, 1969  by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2002
3.72 | 31 ratings

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Hyde Park, London, 1969
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Rolling Stones were playing Hyde Park in July 1969 and wanted to get a good set of support bands together and make a proper mini-festival out of it; word of mouth had reached them that this King Crimson lot who hadn't even put out an album yet were pretty good, and so Robert Fripp, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald, and Michael Giles stepped onto the stage and into the limelight - and that momentous event in the band's history is captured here.

The sound quality is, on an objective basis, only fair - but for a tape of a live band on a makeshift stage in an outdoor festival from 1969, it's pretty good, and provides more or less the earliest glimpse we have of their primal stages. Though much material will be familiar from the debut album (and the Mars section of In the Wake of Poseidon rounds out the show), other material here shows a somewhat more overtly psychedelic side to the band which was already fading away; that said, the concluding blast of Mars and the opening thunder of 21st Century Schizoid Man reveal that a band of rare power was already out here.

This was recently reissued on the Complete 1969 Recordings boxed set with about as much audio tidying-up as can viably be expected; if sound quality is a factor and you have deep pockets, and you are extremely interested in this period of the band, I'd recommend that set. The lone CD, if you can get it at a good price, may be more the speed for folk who don't need multiple live releases from the 1969 lineup of the band, but do want to have a listen to how they sounded before In the Court of the Crimson King came out and are interested in this specific performance due to the Stones connection.

 Islands by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.83 | 1896 ratings

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Islands
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by SteveG

2 stars This album sorely tries my firm resolve to review albums that don't move me and that must convey a type of album review in it itself. This has to be one of the most boring albums I've ever listened to and, issued by the incredible King Crimson, makes it all the more baffling to me.

Ok, I can see that mastermind Robert Fripp felt compelled to streamline KC's sound from the incredibly rambling and brilliant jazz and symphonic juxtapositions of the previous Lizard album. But gone now is the incredibly tasty drumming of the sorely underrated Andy McCulloch and the plodding rambling bass of Gordon Haskell. Future Bad Company member "Boz" Burrell is handling bass and vocals with fellow new man Ian Wallace on drums. Burrell was a rudimentary bassist at this point and he severely drags down or inhibits any flights of fancy by Wallace throughout the songs.

Surely Fripp on mellotron and guitar and the incredible Mel Collins on flute and sax can carry the day? And guest jazz virtuoso Keith Tippet on piano? All but Collins adds any fire or life to these lifeless songs.

The lead off track 'Formentera Lady' starts off with a long boring (that word again!) droning bowed bass by a session player before devolving into a mind numbing two note procession on electric bass throughout the remainder of this long tedious song. Collins tries his best to inject some life into the copse, but alas, it won't budge. "Sailor's Tales" starts off well with Collins in some type of alternate free form jazz world of his own before the song switches to a slower time and introduces abrasive electric guitar, smothered in echoplex, by Fripp that goes nowhere. It is quite a good technical exercise but it's poor music. "The Letters" is a sleepy ballad that has none of previous KC charm or breathtaking melodicism like "Cadence And Cascade" or "Lady Of The Dancing Water" from previous albums. The quirky "Ladies Of The Road", with it's faux Beatles' chorus, is a bad joke and must be one of the worst tunes that KC ever committed to vinyl.

"Prelude: Song of the Gulls" is a completely instrumental piece performed by a chamber ensemble. With an unremarkable melody, it is devoid of all that could have made it something listenable. Particularly by some inspired playing of Fripp on guitar and mellotron and flute or sax by Collins. The title track "Islands" is supposed the album's highpoint, but is another missed opportunity with lackluster guitar from Fripp, or any arresting mellotron work. In fact, the mellotron strings sound like new age soundscape material. Collins tries but, again, his great skills on flute and sax can't salvage this slow paced and overlong melancholy song.

There, it's done. I can now put Islands back up on the shelf again and enjoy ten other Crimson albums that are masterpieces or thereabouts. The sooner the better. 2 stars.

 Lizard by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.13 | 2190 ratings

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Lizard
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by SteveG

5 stars Ah, Lizard. The King Crimson album that former band members seemed to hate and disown. Particularly guitarist/mellotron meister and creative mastermind Robert Fripp. Short tenured bassist and vocalist Gordon Haskell took it a step further and actually disowned Mr. Fripp himself after the recording of this album. And drummer Andy McCulloch is still suffering PTSD as a result of the studio bullying he received from Mr. F. as to the quality of his playing. Strange stuff indeed. But as a homage to my now departed friend, Mr. Haskell (may he rest easy in some kind of Lizard-less and Fripp-less heaven), I'd liked to throw my 6 pence into the LIzard hall of reviews.

The third album by King Crimson that follows the piecemeal and member challenged In The Wake Of Poseidon, with Fripp, returning lyricist Pete Sinfield, with woodwind virtuoso Mel Collins joining the afore mentioned Messrs. Haskell and McCulloch, Lizard is a dense, ornate and heady mix of symphonic prog, jazz prog with many classical and folk motifs thrown in for good measure. The lead off track "Cirkus" is one of my all-time favorite Crimson pieces and it's dark theme coupled with Haskell's cynical carnival barker like vocals almost works flawlessly. I say almost as Mr. Fripp choose to incorporate almost all of the disparate song styles found on the previous two albums and combine them all for this song. We have heavy discordant electric guitar chords, near classical acoustic guitar arpeggios along with ethereal mellotron strings juxtaposed with jazz melodies supplied by Collins' deft sax playing. Throw in the spacey musings of a VCS3 synth and we have quite a musical concoction. The only problem was Fripp and co. trying to get the measured symphonic sections to smoothly transition and overlap into the more jagged jazz section. There was really no way to do this smoothly and these juxtapositions in musical themes and styles are awkward. However, the music of each differing section is so engaging and well played that it seems a small price to pay in creating such startlingly inventive music. The dense sound mix also rewards repeated listens as music this rich and detailed cannot be taken in in a single outing.

"Indoor Games" is another personal favorite that is completely jazz rock with a funky grove around earworm sax melodies from Collins. McCulloch does well to approximate the deft playing of former drummer KC Mike Giles on this one. Fripp adds subtle accents and counter melodies on electric guitar along with loud strummed acoustic guitar on the song's choruses. Haskell's cynical vocals again work well with this one. "Indoor Games" segues smoothly into "Happy Family", another jazzy rock number. However, Haskell's manipulated, panned and heavily echoed vocals are annoying and do the song no favors, and is the only major misstep on the album. I would be remis if I didn't mention that Keith Tippet returns with more glorious freeform piano to elevate the previous four songs to another level. The beautiful acoustic based "Lady Of The Dancing Water" is not light years away from songs light "Cadence And Cascade" from In The Wake Of Poseidon. What gives this song a slight edge over past others is the beautiful ethereal flute of Collins and the type of wistful vocal delivery that was tailor made for Haskell. Considered out of place by others, I find that this type of ballad seems to ground the album prior to the following of an epic song.

The title track "Lizard" is just that. A twenty plus minute multi suite song that spanned the vinyl LP's side two, it has all of the hallmarks of a Crimson classic. Soaring mellotron, great drumming by McCulloch (who was stellar through the entire album) , avant jazz interludes, and wonderful classical motifs played by guest players on oboe, cor anglais, trumpet and cornet. A smoldering electric guitar solo winds down this magnificent smorgasbord of styles and instruments that is again rewarded by repeated listens, as even the most subtle details are a revalation. The fact that the first part is sung by the great Jon Anderson of Yes is icing on the cake, as it's the music that's first and foremost the star . This song naturally suffers again from a few awkward transitions between the symphonic and jazz rock sections but are less pronounced than that found on "Cirkus".

Lizard does have a few glaring faults such as the wildly uneven volume between instruments and vocals in the sound mixes of the album's first four songs being the most egregious. Along with the previously noted awkward musical transitions and overlaps the album is not perfect. But man, did Fripp and company come close. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

 Starless and Bible Black by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.93 | 1851 ratings

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Starless and Bible Black
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N?384

"Starless And Bible Black" is the sixth studio album of King Crimson and was released in 1974. Most of the lyrics on the album are satires and commentaries to the sleaziness materialism of our society. It continued to explore the sound and style of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and proved that King Crimson could handle it very well. Many fans and critics always saw more "Starless And Bible Black" as a transitional album, both in terms of musical progression and line up, between the twin behemoths of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Red" than as a great album, on its own right. Still, I think to see this album in that simple perspective is to undervaluing this album considerably. I think it's more than that.

The line up of this album is Robert Fripp (guitar, Mellotron, electric piano and devices), John Wetton (lead vocals and bass), Bill Bruford (drums and percussion), David Cross (violin, viola, Mellotron and electric piano) and Richard Palmer-James (lyrics).

The album has eighth tracks. The first track "The Great Deceiver" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Richard Palmer-James is a very aggressive rock song which marries a powerful riff with some of King Crimson's most weird lyrics. The song is dominated by the violin with a very precise guitar performance and on the back a great rhythm work by the percussion and the bass, which proves the perfect musical marriage between Bill Bruford and John Wetton. The second track "Lament" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Richard Palmer-James is one of the greatest songs on the album. This is another heavy rock song with an unforgettable and fantastic work led by that wonder duo, John Wetton and Bill Bruford but where all the four musicians are at their best shape. The third track "We'll Let You Know" written by Robert Fripp, David Cross, John Wetton and Bill Bruford is a very weird instrumental piece of music very dissonant. It's an improvised track with some strange sounds and where the percussion section sounds chaotic. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the less interesting songs on the album. The fourth track "The Night Watch" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Richard Palmer-James is a commentary in a form of a musical piece deriving directly from Rembrandt's painting of the same name. The song was also released with "The Great Deceiver" as a single. It's a calm and melodic song, perfectly performed by all band's members that captures, in my humble opinion, the feeling and sense in the context of the painting. This is another great song on the album. The fifth track "Trio" written by Robert Fripp, David Cross, John Wetton and Bill Bruford is the most serene song and is an instrumental piece of music composed for violin, bass guitar and Mellotron with the sound of a flute. The performance of the trio of the musicians is absolutely perfect which gives us a nice and relaxing piece of music. The sixth track "The Mincer" written by Robert Fripp, David Cross, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Richard Palmer-James is another strange and weird song with some dark atmosphere with good musical notes from all musicians. However, we need to learn to like it, really. This is also, in my humble opinion, another less interesting song on the album. The seventh track, the title track, "Starless And Bible Black" written by Robert Fripp, David Cross, John Wetton and Bill Bruford is a very interesting improvised musical piece. It's also a very strange and weird song but is much better than "We'll Let You Know" and "The Mincer". It's a song with some fantastic and brilliant musical parts and so, is a very good song which probably needs lots of listenings to can enjoy it. The eighth and last track "Fracture" written by Robert Fripp is the lengthiest track on the album. It represents the epic magnus opus of the album and it's also my favourite track too. This is a masterful and colourful semi-improvisation piece of music with a strong and superb performance by the band. It's a track that reminds me strongly their other masterpiece "Starless" from "Red" and we may say this song, by itself, deserves the price of the album. This is one of the best pieces of music composed by Robert Fripp and released by King Crimson that fited perfectly well on their next studio album and great masterpiece "Red". There could be no better way to end this album.

Conclusion: Once more, I don't totally agree with many of my colleagues on this site. In my humble opinion, "Starless And Bible Black" is a great King Crimson's album and it's also, in some way, superior to "Larks' Tongues In Aspic". It's more balanced, is a more cohesive album and has also one of the best songs of the group "Fracture". It's true that "Starless And Bible Black" isn't a perfect album. Despite that, "Starless And Bible Black" is one of the heaviest albums of the band, is one of the most cohesive and it's also an album where, in my humble opinion, the musical performance of John Wetton and Bill Bruford is absolutely perfect. However, this isn't a particularly accessible album and it needs repeated listenings to be fully appreciated by its own merits. It's a must have for every fan of progressive rock. Anyway, that is what happens with all King Crimson's albums in the 70's. Besides, the band hasn't many weak points, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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